Posts Tagged ‘Governor’s Race’

About Tom Barrett…

August 17, 2009

Could any politician have come up with a better news story?

The mayor had gone to the fair outside Milwaukee on Saturday night with his sister, two daughters and a niece. As the group left and walked to Barrett’s car, they heard a woman screaming for someone to call 911, police said.

Police said the woman was a grandmother who was trying to protect her 1-year-old granddaughter from a 20-year-old man, an assault authorities characterized as a domestic dispute.

“The mayor stopped and said something (to the man) like, ‘Let’s all cool down here, I’m going to call 911,'” the mayor’s spokesman Patrick Curley said. “He said it one or two times according to him. When he took out his phone, that’s when the suspect attacked him.”

The suspect hit Barrett in the head and torso with a metal pipe. Barrett apparently fought back, fracturing his hand when he punched the suspect.

“I think he hit the guy,” Curley said. “I don’t know where, but it was hard enough, whatever he hit, to fracture his hand.”

Tom Barrett is either the biggest hero in Wisconsin politics since Robert La Follette or the biggest crook since Tonya Harding. Either way I think this story beats the hell out of whatever Republican recently misinterpreted his marriage vows. Just imagine: Mayor pays deranged man to attack him. If the suspect squeals a simple look at his criminal history will make the allegation more comical than credible.

How could this story come out at a better time? Right as Democrats start to think about possible successors to Gov. Jim Doyle, one of the three or four big names in the running gets days of free, laudatory press coverage. It’s the kind of story that people who don’t even care about politics can get into. Months from now, after the thousands of press conferences and photo ops from whoever plans to run, this event will stick out like a diamond in the rough for the masses.

Scott Walker may have gone from door to door as a child so that Old Glory could grace the skyline of a small Iowa town, but at the ripe age of 54, Tom Barrett defended the integrity of the Wisconsin State Fair by protecting the safety of an elderly lady and a young child. Like I said – could it get any better?

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What are Dems thinking about 2010?

August 16, 2009

I wouldn’t be surprised if a lot of state Democrats are feeling bewildered by Jim Doyle’s apparent decision not to run for re-election. Although Doyle’s future has been the subject of continual speculation this summer, there was very little dialogue about who would actually run in his stead against either Scott Walker or Mark Neumann.

Some people have been throwing around the name of Rep. Ron Kind, a 7 term congressman who represents much of western Wisconsin (Menominee down to the border). Kind has made a name for himself as somewhat of a moderate (but not a Blue Dog!), advocating on behalf of NAFTA and other free trade agreements. The Blue Dog distinction is important – Blue Dogs are typically ready to forfeit the most important of progressive ideals for political convenience. Kind, perhaps because he has a truly moderate constituency and not a rabidly right wing one, has a pretty solidly liberal voting record, which displays a commitment to civil liberties and basic services, such as health care, for the people. However, in a primary he might have to prove his liberal credentials against Lawton, who is generally referred to as very liberal. Perhaps Lawton will have to do the opposite in a general election.

What are you thinking dear readers? Who do you want to see run and who do you think has the best chance?

Lawton goes against Doyle…again

August 13, 2009

What is Barb (that’s what I call her) thinking with this move?

Lt. Gov. Barbara Lawton is again taking a different stance on a hot issue than fellow Democratic Gov. Jim Doyle.

Lawton is scheduled to testify at a hearing Thursday in support of a bill that would remove the authority for the governor to appoint the secretary of the Department of Natural Resources. Doyle opposes the bill.

How does she benefit from opposing the governor? It likely drums up support for her from Democratic camps that are tired of Doyle, and it gets her attention because it’s so unexpected. If she can push the idea that Doyle is out of touch, especially on an issue like this, where the governor appears to be making a power grab, she can drive up his negatives and perhaps increase the chances that he’ll decide not to run for re-election.

The main idea is to present herself as a viable Democratic alternative – to remind Democratic primary voters that there is somebody else out there.

Will Doyle run again?

July 30, 2009

Doyle, by all superficial criteria, is a perfect governor of Wisconsin. He’s cheery (at least in public), plump and he’s got just the right nasal touch to accent that reminds Wisconsinites that he’s one of them.

Unfortunately, however, the people of the Badger State are stubborn, and physical and linguistic characteristics apparently aren’t enough to guarantee Doyle their votes. Two different polls have shown Doyle to be at least relatively unpopular, with more people viewing him unfavorably than favorably in both instances.

Daily Kos/Research 2000Wisconsin poll conducted June 8-10 showed 43 percent of respondents viewed Doyle favorably while 48 percent were unfavorable. That was relatively Doyle-friendly, though, compared with a Public Policy Polling (PPP) survey conducted June 9-10 that showed 60 percent of respondents disapproving of Doyle’s job performance, with only 34 saying they approved.

Moreover, the latter poll showed Doyle losing to Scott Walker in a showdown. Given this information, I was under the impression last month that Doyle would not seek re-election, and would allow Lt. Gov. Barbara Lawton to declare her candidacy for the nomination. However, Doyle has continued to raise money, with the Cap Times reporting that his war chest is over $2 million – not a ton but certainly more than a lame duck governor would have. Contributors clearly believe Doyle is running again and the governor is doing nothing to dissuade these speculations. One Capitol staffer told me that people are pointing to phone calls Doyle is making to contacts in Washington D.C., to national interest groups, such as gay rights and women’s rights organizations.

Many Democrats, especially Lawton fans, are anxious for the governor to make up his mind. Three Republicans have already declared their candidacies and are out raising money, which Lawton can’t do as effectively unless she declares her governor. She’s already said she will not run for lieutenant governor again, therefore it’s hard for her to raise money without a campaign for higher office backing her up. One person told me that Doyle had better be running, because if he waits this long to drop out, “it would be a slap in the face to the Democratic Party,” as the Democrats would be caught off balance and behind the Republicans.

However, I still believe there’s a chance for Doyle to do either. Let’s say he’s weighing his options:

If he ultimately decides to run for re-election, he doesn’t have to worry about a primary. No relevant state Democrat, especially not Barbara Lawton, is going to waste time challenging him in a primary. He still has more money in the bank than any Republican opponent, and even though Walker has raised more in the last few months, he and Neumann are going to use up a lot of it in a primary contest, while Doyle will be free to raise funds for the general election.

That Doyle might wait so long to announce that he is not running leads me to believe that Lawton is the only viable candidate expected to declare for the nomination. Or at least that Doyle believes that to be the case. The longer he waits, the less likely it is for somebody else to try and challenge Lawton in the primary. Even if Lawton is behind Walker and Neumann in fundraising and campaigning, she will have the privilege of being unchallenged in the primary and not having to waste time and money in an intra-party showdown.

So there’s my analysis. What do you think? Are there other Democrats you could see running for governor?

What? New poll shows Doyle in big trouble

June 15, 2009

A new Public Policy poll shows Jim Doyle trailing both Scott Walker and Mark Neumann in a potential 2010 contest.

Walker beats Doyle 48 to 40 percent and Neumann is essentially tied, 42 to 41 percent. Doyle has an awful 37% approval rating.

It’s even depressing that Walker, who is a student of the George W. Bush school of incompetence, is performing better than Neumann in the polls.

But where’s the poll on Barb?