When I met with Wisconsin Manufacturers and Commerce (WMC) Board of Directors President Tom Boldt November 19, 2007, our conversation, like our telephone call the previous month was polite, respectful, and to the point.
Bolt was committed to WMC's Issues Committee and their election strategy. He knew I was not going to stop my efforts to reveal who paid for the WMC issue ads and that I was going to hold his board responsible since they authorized and spent the money for the TV advertisements.
The discourse has been tough. Others joined in.
Clullen construction joined TDS and Foley and Lardner and left the board and the organization. Now we hear from UW Chancellor John Wiley and over-the-top WMC government relations officer, Jim Buchen.
Now Tom Bolt has a problem. He can either support Buchen and further alienate the majority of WMC board members who have no stomach for these shenanigans, especially when their businesses are named, or he can disavow Buchen reaffirming the belief that at least two WMC staffers, Buchen and Pugh, are out of control.
In any case, it is no secret that we are please at the Original WMC Watch as are ourfriends at One Wisconsin Now with their WMC Watch.
Buchen took Wiley's localized Madison article and made it a state wide issue. He did it fast and furious. This is not the kind of attention that moderate businesses appreciate.
Our response will not be fast. We will continue to engage WMC members in creative and constructive discussion. We will be supportive of those who wish to leave as we will also encourage those who believe they can change the organization and its culture.
In the meantime Dave Cullen who took his company out of WMC two months ago must be feeling pretty good about escaping this disaster.
We have a large playing field. Consumers of member companies. Directors of member companies. Newspapers and the electronic media outside of Madison and Milwaukee. College students. Farmers and small businesses.
And large Wisconsin businesses that realize that WMC does not know how to grow the econmony of Wisconsin.