STATE SEN. LEAH Vukmir, front row center, poses for a photo with Ripon College’s College Republicans group. Standing with her holding the banner are College Republican Luke Dretske, left, and state secretary of state candidate Jay Schroeder. 			             Tim Lyke photo
STATE SEN. LEAH Vukmir, front row center, poses for a photo with Ripon College’s College Republicans group. Standing with her holding the banner are College Republican Luke Dretske, left, and state secretary of state candidate Jay Schroeder. Tim Lyke photo

     State Sen. Leah Vukmir’s recent visit to Ripon College provided an interesting peek at the person who would like to unseat a U.S. Senate incumbent.

     First, a word about Vukmir’s opponent.

     Sen. Tammy Baldwin has left little footprint in the U.S. Senate. Her signature piece of legislation is a protectionist “Buy America reform,” endorsed by our America-first president, that would require iron and steel used in new water infrastructure projects to be American-made. Unlike Baldwin and Trump, traditional Republicans don’t deem it appropriate for government to cherry-pick industries for exclusion from free markets. ...

     Her Republican challenger made Ripon a brief stop a couple weeks ago during her campaign so she could tell folks why she deserves their vote.
Some of what Vukmir said was refreshingly Republican at a time when the man in the White House seems untethered by such noble GOP tenets as free markets, limited government and Lincolnesque national unity.

     At Ripon and in subsequent debates, Vukmir has taken Baldwin to task for saddling the federal government with greater responsibility and more debt. ...  And yes, Sen. Johnson and Rep. Glenn Grothman have been ineffective in slowing spending and have even voted to cause the debt to spike.
Why will Vukmir be different?

     “I have no problem saying no,” she has told the Commonwealth. More persuasive is her endorsement of a balanced budget amendment, and her history as a fiscal conservative.

     But recognize Vukmir’s dilemma. She’s closely aligned to Trump. This assures her his base, but probably loses much of the independent vote she’ll likely need to win in this purple state.

     It also causes her to make thoughtlessly partisan comments such as this one, made to the Ripon College Republicans: “I’m grateful this president has ... made a commitment to stand up to foreign leaders, which is a great departure from the previous president who not only bowed to them figuratively but literally.”  

     She said this about President Obama bowing to a Saudi king just four days after President Trump declared of a ruthless despot who, with his father, has tortured or killed several hundred thousand North Koreans: “[Kim Jung Un and he] fell in love [due to Kim’s] beautiful letters.” She said it of a president who has been a supplicant for Vladimir Putin. She said it of a man who noted “he’s great” upon learning the Chinese president declared himself president for life, and of a man who refuses to stand up to a Saudi regime that we learned has killed an American resident who also happened to be a Washington Post columnist. ...
 
                                 — Tim Lyke

     To read the entire editorial, see the Oct. 25, 2018 edition of The Ripon Commonwealth Press.