By Michael BB
Well, let’s see, last time we saw our heroes they had just lost the governorship to a former Milwaukee County Executive, who campaigned on television eating out of a brown paper lunchbag. Promising, well, just what DID he actually promise? This seems to be one of the key points in the whole Recall Saga. Check out these four links:
Writer Dave Umhoefer of PolitiFact has done a good job of documenting things, but his analysis is not correct. He makes the illogical conclusion that a promise not made can still be kept; that a promise to do A=A is kept when A=(B+C+D) is actually enacted. The entire point of the recall is that the voters did not get anything like a warning, much less a promise, about an end to collective bargaining rights. Of course, we all know that this was political retribution for decades of teachers (WEAC) and municipal workers (AFSCME) supporting Democratic candidates. There is no real need to dig much further than that. No one could campaign on such an idea as this, and be taken seriously…could they?
The Democratic Party in Wisconsin must avoid the same mistake in reverse. We, and I use the term as a disenchanted but not disinterested Democrat, must run a positive campaign with messages about how we can respect the process of legislating and governing. Democrats must have proposals that give Wisconsin fiscal sanity with sound policies and balanced approaches, rather than sandblasting away at our political rivals.
(note the absence of the word “enemies” here.)
So, if We want to win this election, and it is imperative that we DO win, there needs to be a candidate who can speak forcefully but even-handedly to all the various constituencies, while avoiding demonizing Republicans. If the election is framed as a negative, there will be no incentive for fiscal conservatives who still believe in the rule of law and smart government to vote Democratic. But vote Democratic for WHOM?
Here are some links to the current online buzz about who oughta run and why those whos oughta run:
Stop the e-presses, we have a NewsFlash! WEAC has recommended former Dane Co. executive Kathleen Falk, over Milwaukee Mayor and former candidate Tom Barrett, in the primary race for the Democratic gubernatorial nomination. The key word here is “recommended,” as WEAC by-laws prohibit making an “endorsement.” Wow, I didn’t know THAT. Such a huge semantic difference, NOT.
The union makes sure they do not appear to be telling their members who to vote for. OK, I get that. No organization can compel their membership to vote for a recommended or endorsed candidate, anyway.
So, here is the Official List of candidates WEAC considered: Tim Cullen, who has officially dropped out, Kathleen Vinehout, a declared candidate who has begun to play her hand with appearances on Rachel Maddow’s MSNBC show, David Obey, who is sitting quietly aside fulfilling the role of Wise Elder Statesman, Steve Kagan, Doug LaFollette, the politician whose name everyone knows, but who is unknown as a politician, go figure, and the Pair of Aces, Tom Barrett and Kathleen Falk.
Ms. Falk, who currently has no political title to attach to her name, is the only other declared candidate.
Mr. Obey has written about the need to have a candidate with strong statewide appeal.
So, Herb Kohl and Russ Feingold, have they got “statewide appeal” or not? Do the candidates Mr. Obey favors, Kohl and Barrett, have the charisma to coalesce the Un-Herdable Cats in today’s Democratic Party, much less the fabled Independentus Voterus, and its close relative Moderatica Republicanus, both rare and endangered species nationwide?
Representative Peter Barca of Kenosha, and Senator Jon Erpenbach of Verona have been high-profile spokespersons in the legislative mosh pit, but they have had their names bandied about by everyone except Peter Barca and Jon Erpenbach. Until they start blowing their own horns, they ought to be considered as not under consideration.
When the Republican state committee chairperson (even though the chairperson is male, I like to call him a chairperson, so that he can get used to gender-inclusive language, it still clatters on HIS ear, I am sure) says that the opposition candidates to Gov. Walker are a group of previously defeated politicians, he is embarrassingly correct.
Herb Kohl will not run to be the Democratic nominee to oppose Walker. He was a gentleman Senator for quite awhile, and seems to have had his fill of public service as Nobody’s Politician But His.
Russ Feingold is probably having a rather nice life as a professor, and why he would jump back into the partisan frying pan at a lower level than the one he was in I cannot think.
Tom Barrett did not receive the “recommendation” of WEAC, which would make his candidacy rather an embarrassment to one of the larger recall mobilization groups. Perhaps there was some problem relating to a Milwaukee school issue. Perhaps it is because he already lost once. Perhaps is was the fact that there are more female teachers than male, and the teachers wanted to endorse a woman.
Houston, we have a another problem. The Left is not only fighting among themselves, for the 9,344th time, but they are ignoring the best, least-burdened candidate with the best grassroots, statewide appeal. (Watch the Romney candidacy for keen insights into what a divisive primary can do to a candidates’ general election profile.) Who to trust?
I speak of Kathleen Vinehout. Kathleen Falk, you say! No, Kathleen Vinehout. Who is she, you say! You, me, and the rest of the State of Wisconsin are about to find out. She has not been defeated in a statewide race, she has not been defeated in her own home constituency, she is not a former Anything Political, she has a farming background, she was a college professor, (not many of those Two-fers about) she is NOT from Milwaukee, she is NOT from Madison, she is from, where IS she from anyway?
Democratic Sen. VinehoutKathleen Vinehout – Photo: Google Images
She is the state Senator from Alma, in Pierce County. In Wisconsin. Right, there is a Pierce County in Wisconsin, I’ll wager some of you didn’t know that. Houston, we have another problem…
(Please enter “kathleen vinehout recall” into your search engine of choice for more important info on her and her candidacy)
If Sen. Vinehout can get her name out there, she can win. At least she has not proven she can lose. I respect her as a politician, and like her as a personality. They both count, you know.
There are more Republican female governors of late, but the Democrats got the ball rolling, of course. Wisconsin could make history, if Ms. Falk, or Sen. Vinehout, a member of the vaunted Illinois 14 Posse, unseat a male Republican. I would like to see whomever the Democratic voters nominate in the primary win BIG, and leave history to write itself.
Next time, some ideas about taxes, deficits, balanced budgets, accounting… wow, sounds like real fun reading, eh? Just you wait…peace and unrest, but not too much of either. MBB