Wisconsin businessman: Havoc isn't 'what this process is about'
Dan Mulder of Madison says the political bickering is out of hand. "He who creates the most mayhem prevails in the day.”
February 19th, 2011
05:24 PM ET

Wisconsin businessman: Havoc isn't 'what this process is about'

Dan Mulder is staying away from the marching and chanting around the Capitol steps in Madison and staying put in his office and warehouse. But it’s not because he doesn’t have an opinion. Far from it.

Mulder is the general manager and chief executive officer of a local business employing 25 people. He’s seen costs skyrocket and health care insurance premiums continue to rise.

He describes himself as an independent — he did not vote for the recently inaugurated Gov. Scott Walker. These days, however, he says Walker’s plan on fixing the budget deficit, which includes removing public sector employees’ collective bargaining rights, is right on the mark.

[cnn-video url="http://www.cnn.com/video/#/video/us/2011/02/20/wisconsin.biz.avoids.chaos.cnn"%5D

“I just think [Walker] deserves an Oscar for standing up,” Mulder said. “He’s got the resilience and the constitution to stand up and take on this issue.

“He fully realizes and understands that you can’t pay with what you don’t have, so he’s trying to live within his means. And that’s something that is completely foreign as a concept to most government sectors because if they need more money, they just raise taxes. The people who are paying those taxes are saying, ‘We can’t pay any more’.”

Mulder is a proponent of a civil and rational dialogue and exchange of ideas. He says the protests and chaos happening at the Capitol is not the way to go about getting things done.

“He who is loudest, he who is most vocal, he who creates the most mayhem prevails in the day,” Mulder said, shaking his head. “That should never be what this process is about."

“It’s really tragic because this is somewhat akin to the Civil War. Not that we’re at that level and hopefully we won’t be. But you’ve got brother against brother, neighbor against neighbor—that’s how driven this argument is.”

As far as the Democratic legislators fleeing the state to prevent a vote on the controversial bill, Mulder says they were elected to do a job - and not just when they feel like it.

“The last time I woke up, we were in a democratic society,” Mulder said, adding that the November elections — which put both a Republican governor and Republican legislature in place—were a clear mandate that it’s their turn to try some solutions.

“That Republican administration has been put in place by public mandate. And now that they’re exercising that mandate there's a minority of the population that doesn’t want to conform to that. Then it’s not a democracy anymore.”

He concluded by saying if people aren’t careful, the situation could eventually turn into anarchy.

“It’s tragic.”

soundoff (233 Responses)
  1. Richard

    Quite an Impressive crowd in Madison today ! I wonder how many of those in that crowd voted for their wonderful Conservative Republican governor?? He didn't get in office without capturing a good portion of the so called "middle-class" voters, I'm guessing. I bet there's a lot of buyers remorse going on right now in chilly Wisconsin, as there probably should be. Let it be a lesson to middle class voters....... everywhere........ conservatives are not your friend.... Once the Republicans succeed at destroying collective bargaining in America, ALL workers in America will suffer. The next thing Republicans will do away with will be Child Labor laws... lol..... conservatives...what a group!

    February 19, 2011 at 7:35 pm | Report abuse |
    • Barry from Wisconsin

      Amen Richard...

      February 19, 2011 at 7:39 pm | Report abuse |
    • pat

      So true.. every word!

      February 19, 2011 at 7:45 pm | Report abuse |
    • Joesmith

      Republicans are trying to remove child labor laws in Missouri.

      February 19, 2011 at 8:19 pm | Report abuse |
    • Rob Stumpf

      Conservatives are not the friends of public employee unions, but public employee unions are not the friends of the public, either. They want more and more and more– whether the "middle class" taxpayers of the state can actually AFFORD their demands doesn't matter much to them.

      It's funny how quickly the Democrats become "the party of no" once something happens THEY don't like!

      February 19, 2011 at 8:58 pm | Report abuse |
    • Dawn Ada, Ohio

      Richard, I could not agree more. I truly don't understand how anyone making under $100,000 a year could vote Republican. It is like cutting one's nose off to spite their face. I can not understand why they can not see this. Anyone with an 8th grade education can see this. I just wonder how far it will have to go before people come to this realization. It is scary to think that our Country could be Egypt in the next century.

      February 19, 2011 at 9:47 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Barry from Wisconsin

    Dan Mulder is hardly independent…he does not get it. His 25 employee organization hardly is representative of Wisconsin..or anywhere else in the USA.

    February 19, 2011 at 7:35 pm | Report abuse |
    • Dan

      Actually, it is quite a bit more resp[resentative than anything else. 80% of private sector jobs are in small businesses under 40 employees.

      February 19, 2011 at 7:46 pm | Report abuse |
    • A.A.

      Hey Dan–are 80% of private sector workers BUSINESS OWNERS? Don't try to make facile equivocations here. And, by the way, Mulder got a tax break for giving his employees health insurance. Just saying.

      February 19, 2011 at 9:16 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Bill Greso

    We are going to hell in a handbasket thanks to these tea party jagoff idiots that would bite off their hands to spite their faces.Ameerica is under attack by the ultra rich soulless aristocracy!Pay attention these are future scenes from your hometowns as the nazirepubs try to eradicate the workers rights that have been fought for in the last 100 years.
    We have become the evil empire.

    February 19, 2011 at 7:37 pm | Report abuse |
    • jim g

      They're ignorant and uneducated.

      February 19, 2011 at 7:46 pm | Report abuse |
  4. roosevelt

    I live in Madison, just down the hill from the Capitol on Hamilton.

    First, let me say that as a Madisonian, I wish all of these tea partiers and union guys would go home. But I know it is their right to ruin MY neighborhood. Second, Mr Walker is a one term Governor. He has managed to get on the wrong side of not only the liberals, but ALL of the independent voters as well.

    How's that?

    You cut public sector salaries...AWESOME!!! And then you exempt half of the public sector from the cuts ... WHAT?!?!

    You're out of here.

    When will politicians learn, we want ALL of this spending cut.

    February 19, 2011 at 7:42 pm | Report abuse |
  5. pat

    @Richard.. I agree. You know he is a republican!

    February 19, 2011 at 7:43 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Rick

    What we may be moving to is a point where people won't just disagree on something, they refuse to accept something, and will be willing to do whatever is necessary to either change it, or just plain not doing it. But, the working man is sick and tired of reading the papers and noticing that corp. america is getting fatter and fatter with record profits, while paychecks shrink, unemployment remains very high and people just generally have lost faith in the country. When it gets to a point where people think their situation is hopeless, they are going to take to the streets. I believe a period of severe social unrest is at hand unfortunately.

    February 19, 2011 at 7:45 pm | Report abuse |
  7. jim g

    It's only a tragic situation when the democrats are protesting.

    February 19, 2011 at 7:45 pm | Report abuse |
  8. jim g

    This guy'san independent?

    February 19, 2011 at 7:45 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Al from Wisconsin

    When you are describing peaceful protests to the Civil War, you clearly have no idea what you are talking about.

    February 19, 2011 at 7:46 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Nate

    Whatever your political viewpoint this a pretty terrible article. It has one source. It might as well be a Dan Mulder Op-ed piece. If you wanted to get the views of Wisconsin businessmen you should have talked to multiple of them. Even if the all said pretty much the same thing, it would lend a a lot of credibility to the piece. Right now its just a profile on Dan Mulder's political views.

    February 19, 2011 at 7:46 pm | Report abuse |
  11. irishprince

    Where do you find these people. He is totally off point regarding the issue(s) Has CNN been taken over by Fox;if so tell me when maybe I'm as guilty as the guy in your article of not knowing what is going on.

    February 19, 2011 at 7:48 pm | Report abuse |
    • jim g

      CNN is another arm of the corporatocracy. There's no media that isn't run by big corporations. Don't believe any of them.

      February 19, 2011 at 7:50 pm | Report abuse |
    • JohnR

      @JimG Perhaps you'd prefer state run media? Simple fact is that it costs $$$ to become a major media outlet. The fact that all corporations have $$$ doesn't make them any more monolithic is their views or editorial policies than than the state run media in, say, Cuba vs Iran are. I don't understand why this one guy's take on things was turned into an entire article, either. But I don't take this article as proof of some abstract "corporatist" agenda at CNN. There's not much in common between guys who run small businesses (and whose input into public discussion IS underrepresented compared to large corporate OR large union OR state to national level political bosses) and reporters who are employees of internationally known media groups.

      February 19, 2011 at 8:31 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Nate

    Why is Dan Mulder's individual opinion exclusively on an issue effecting everyone newsworthy for a national outlet?

    February 19, 2011 at 7:50 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Allen, SD

    The teachers are settingnsuch a great example! Fake medical notes to get out of school. How cand they discuss morality and ethics with students? Wait, they don't care about morality and ethics because they are Democrats. The ends justify the means. Lie, cheat, steal whatever is necessary for their corrupt agenda.

    February 19, 2011 at 7:53 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Brian Olsen

    Thought taxes were drastically cut (for the rich) over the last decade

    February 19, 2011 at 7:57 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Diogenes3p0

    The sad fact is both sides of this debate should coordinate and flush out the illegals. They would balance their budget and start a multi-year ramp up of these unionized employees paying zip for their bennies transitioning to the costs shared by all non government employes lucky enough to still have a job.
    If they have extra anger they should lynch a few outsourcing CEOs

    February 19, 2011 at 8:01 pm | Report abuse |
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