I didn’t take the discussion of Soglin’s candidacy for governor very seriously when I first saw it appear somewhere on the blogosphere – I can’t remember where.
But I must admit Soglin has a point. Even if he doesn’t run, it is likely the Democratic field will be stacked with Paul Soglin equivalents from other parts of the state – local activists from La Crosse or Green Bay or Milwaukee.
Kristin Czubkowski is right when she writes that Soglin could mount a legitimate campaign. In the primaries. But how willing would he be to make political compromises and tailor his rhetoric to a broader, more moderate electorate? Would some of his more inflammatory blog posts come back to haunt him?
Here would be my Con argument:
It’s not that Soglin couldn’t go tit-for-tat with Scott Walker in a debate (I assume, but I’ve never heard him speak) – it’s that his candidacy would signal a deep paralysis in the state Democratic party. It would be a constant reminder to Democrats that no official of higher stature had the guts to run because everybody assumed the Doyle legacy would be too hard to run from. He hasn’t been in government for years, and despite his more moderate tone he’s taken in middle age, voters would be suspicious of a man whose primary political experience comes from being the twenty-something mayor of a left-wing college town.
My pro argument:
Soglin could counter the local government credentials that Walker would bring. He’s older, wiser, and he is not a career politician. He’s spent some time out of government and reflected on the state of affairs in Wisconsin. He is deeply troubled by recent trends, including the ineffective Doyle Democrats and the radical Republicans. Whatever happened to investing in what counts: education, health care, the environment. He could inspire primary voters, starting with a sizeable base in Madison, and perhaps by the time he wins the primary, he would be as legitimate a candidate as Walker, but without as many visible stains from recent political battles.
Ultimately, I buy more into the Con argument.