Governor Jim Doyle's State of the State Address last night was classic Doyle. Exactly what you would expect a by-the-book politician to say.
The speech was peppered with platitudes – "in Wisconsin, we are hardworking people . . . and when challenges arise, we meet them head on" – and was heavy on celebrity introductions. As inspiring as unbuttered toast, painfully few of the governor's nearly 4,500 words could even be generously construed as visionary and none qualified as passionate.
Speaking of none, the governor uttered not a single word on a subject that poll after poll shows is right up at the top of the list of concerns of Wisconsinites – shady government ethics and diseased politics. Concern over political dysfunction is the festering public anxiety lurking underneath the worries about every other problem facing our state, and the governor had nothing to say about it.
Just before the holidays, Governor Doyle called the Legislature into special session to deal with campaign finance reform. He showed last night how invested he is in that special session and how committed he is to reform.
The governor's words about the state of our state were eminently forgettable and will quickly fade from memory. What he left unsaid, however, speaks volumes about the man.