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Charlie Sykes: Sykes Writes

Conservatives: Van Hollen a Republican in name only?

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That's the headline on this story in the Cap Times.


At least it quotes me accurately:


MADISON (AP) -- J.B. Van Hollen says he's a true-blue Republican. But his bridges with the GOP faithful could be smoldering.

Just nine months into his term as the state's attorney general, Van Hollen has taken a number of stances that run counter to traditional Republican philosophy.

He's bagged an investigation into Democratic Gov. Jim Doyle's fundraising. He's issued legal opinions that say Wisconsin's ban on partial-birth abortion is probably toothless and the University of Wisconsin System can legally use race in admissions.

Just last month the Justice Department canceled plans for a prayer at a state Capitol service for murder victims after the Freedom From Religion Foundation objected.

Van Hollen insists he's conducting business as promised, placing the law before his personal beliefs.

"Some are getting it. Some just don't want to get it," Van Hollen said. "A lot of people aren't accustomed to having somebody who's willing to put the law above their personal opinions."

It could be costing him support.

Conservative talk show hosts in Milwaukee have questioned whether Van Hollen has "gone native" in liberal Madison.

"I think for a lot of conservatives, he's still on the bubble. He has a, perhaps, different approach and philosophy than some conservatives were expecting," WTMJ's Charlie Sykes commented after interviewing Van Hollen on his "Midday with Charlie Sykes" show in August.

WTMJ's Jeff Wagner wasn't nearly as diplomatic, writing after the prayer was canceled: "If this is how the Wisconsin Department of Justice is going to operate, maybe Kathleen Falk should have won the election."

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