Posts Tagged ‘Republicans’

Remember Mark Neumann?

January 26, 2010

What is his political life expectancy? When was the last time you read an article about him? He’s usually mentioned in passing in articles on the gubernatorial race. The only recent campaign news is that he has pledged to spend $1 million of his own money to try to beat Scott Walker.

I ran into a member of the Walker campaign last night who told me that Neumann would drop out of the race “when the party tells him to.” Looking back, I realize he might have simply meant that Neumann will leave the race when he loses the Republican primary, however, the sly grin on the man’s face seemed to imply something that would come out of a smoke-filled room. Did state Republicans hope that a competitive primary would energize the grassroots and draw attention to the party and its policies, or did they see Neumann as a nuisance who would threaten party unity?

Both parties have proponents of these two diverging philosophies, and they almost always clash during primary season. You might think the “unity” argument is less powerful in state elections because the primary is relatively cut and dry – one election, one guy or gal wins, and the party is forced to accept. Moreover, I would guess that political parties are open to any strategy that will increase awareness among voters, most of whom are less interested in state politics. However, the primary is also much closer to election day, and although the grass roots may be excited about a competitive primary, most voters just get confused. “I’m like, conservative, who am I supposed to vote for?”

I’m guessing the GOP will start to pressure Mark Neumann to leave the race pretty soon.

Any thoughts?

It’s the GOP’s turn on jobs

January 21, 2010

In light of the recent jobs legislation authored by State Senate Democrats, Senate Republicans have come out with an alternative proposal. It of course has no chance of being realized in the near future because the entire Republican caucus voted for the Democratic bill, but so goes the game of public relations in government.

You wouldn’t believe it, but they advocated for lower taxes and tort reform. But even more interesting was the bone they threw to education and health care.

The thoughts and recommendations of over 150 employers detailed in the Task Force Report can be summed up in the following categories:

•First do no harm

•Higher taxes mean fewer jobs

•Cut through the red tape

•Train and educate a 21st century workforce

•A strong economy requires affordable healthcare

It’s refreshing to hear the GOP admit that high health care costs stifle innovation and business.

Healthcare votes to begin

December 21, 2009

It looks as if the Senate Democrats in Washington are about to do what people who want health care reform have been wishing they would do since Barack Obama’s election: Treat the Republican Party like the minority party it is. Democrats have already surrendered so much since 2008; the least they can do is try to push forward the issue that defined their campaign rhetoric and is supposed to be one of the distinguishing points between them and Republicans.

The Republicans have defined this debate with nonsense for too long. Politicians, if given time, can characterize the most trivial and innocent aspects of any legislation as a communist-takeover scheme devised by group of abortion doctors in Kenya. Sometimes there’s just no way to negotiate with the absurd.

Homophobia: Can the GOP ever get away from it?

December 3, 2009

How can they get away from gay bashing when so many of its grassroots base so obviously thirsts for it? How can mainstream Republican candidates make it out of the primaries without getting drawn into a “I hate fags more than you do” argument with an extremist primary opponent?

As Brad Vogel notes, the 7th Congressional district primary displays the painful process of eliminating homophobia from the GOP’s rhetoric in moderate states like Wisconsin. The following video is a very low budget campaign ad run by Dan Mielke, a far-right challenger to presumed nominee Sean Duffy, who was once a cast member on the Real World. Mielke goes after Duffy for sympathizing with the “gay agenda.”

How did the crazies come to Wisconsin?

November 9, 2009

And this story has nothing to do with the guy who sold his name to a Finnish electronics company. That’s just a shrewd businessman.

Those of you who have read The Sconz regularly are likely familiar with my feelings about the Wisconsin Republican Party. I have often wondered aloud how a moderate state with a strong progressive tradition managed to develop such a group of psychos in one party. The theory I would most likely accept is that cable media and the internet have contributed to a development of concrete, national political ideologies which give less regard to local interests and culture. Hence, the days of the moderate Republican Party – even the days of Tommy Thompson – are long gone in Wisconsin (I’m pretty sure Thompson’s not going to run for governor).

So it’s not surprising to see state GOP candidates rallying around the same Glenn Beck-infused conspiracy theory that defines the GOP in D.C.

Sue Lynch of Onalaska, newly elected president of the National Federation of Republican Women, said the Democratic administration of President Barack Obama is “taking our rights away every single day.”

State Rep. Brett Davis, R-Monroe, is the other candidate for lieutenant governor. He said he had 100 percent ratings from pro-life, pro-gun and pro-Wisconsin Manufacturers & Commerce, the state’s biggest business lobby group.
He also has experience at the staff level, having served Tommy Thompson when he was governor and later when he went to Washington as Secretary of Health and Human Services.

David King of Milwaukee is running for Secretary of State. He is a minister and father of 10 who uses Bible stories to illustrate his political views. He also was the only black candidate at the meeting and said that Republicans need to make an effort to outline their views to inner-city residents.

Tommy Thompson’s brother, Tomah Mayor Ed Thompson, posed this question to the audience:

“How in the world can you increase taxes and increase spending when you have a deficit?” he asked.

How in the WORLD can you increase taxes when you have a deficit? Back in the day a fiscal conservative might have been somebody who’d support raising taxes to fund essential services. Today fiscal conservative is simply a euphemism for a neo-liberal.

Wisconsin’s backwardness preserved another day

November 4, 2009
Post Crescent:
“Wisconsin schools that decide to teach sex education would have to instruct students on the use of birth control under a bill given preliminary approval by the state Assembly on Tuesday.
After being blocked by Republicans from taking a final vote on passage, Democrats who control the Assembly were forced to delay that action until Thursday.”
Will any Assembly Republicans vote for common-sense sex education?

Another GOP candidate for LG?

September 17, 2009

And it’s not even Tommy Thompson. According to Wispolitics:

Rep. Brett Davis is forming an exploratory committee and will file papers with the state today to run for lieutenant governor.
Davis, R-Oregon, said job creation and improving the economy will be his top issues during the campaign.

Job creation? How creative.

“My wife and I and are expecting our third child in a couple weeks,” Davis said. “When I think about the state of Wisconsin when I grew up, I want to make sure our communities are strong so my kids have the same opportunities I had when I was growing up. And I don’t see that right now.”

Good use of personal anecdote, and considering there are few high profile Republicans considering the job, why not?

Wisconsin GOP – no sense of irony

August 26, 2009

At first glance so many of the partisan squabbles brought up at the state capitol seem so utterly meaningless politically. The lawsuit against Dan Kapanke because his staffer used a personal email for work; the Democrats’ objection to Justice Department officials lobbying against agency cuts; now the Republicans charge against Gov. Jim Doyle’s train contract, which was apparently not subject to a competitive bidding process. Every time you read the stories you’re waiting for the real story, the corruption, the juicy revelation of sexual misconduct…and you’re always disappointed.

Last month Gov. Jim Doyle announced the state would buy two trains from a Spanish manufacturer for $47.5 million without a competitive bidding process. The move was legal because state law exempts passenger rail contracts from normal bidding rules.

Sen. Rob Cowles, R-Green Bay, said he wants to close that “loophole.”

“There is no way the governor should be able to negotiate and sign such a large contract without using a competitive bidding process,” Cowles said in a statement.

That’s the name of the game in state politics. Throw everything you can at your opponent and hope to God something sticks. Hope that the charge leaks down to those people who fashion themselves civically-minded enough to vote in a state election but don’t have the slightest idea what state legislators do. “I usually vote Democratic, but I heard something about Doyle giving out contracts to a Spanish company or something…it was sketchy.”

I remember the 2006 election, when, despite being doomed to lose from the beginning, the Dave Magnum campaign accused Tammy Baldwin of being “ineffective” because of some system of ranking that came out, which, among other things, included the amount of press coverage the member of Congress got. At the Herald it was practically accepted, despite the endorsements, that Baldwin was lazy or incompetent, largely because of very effective innuendos used by Republicans in 2006.

The thing about Doyle’s train loophole, which the State Journal could have used to make the story interesting but didn’t, is that it was invented by Tommy Thompson! It was Tommy who loved the railroads so much that he couldn’t bear to have them bogged down in a competitive bidding process (I’ll need verification for that bit of analysis). It was the REPUBLICANS that put this in and now they’re outraged that somebody would take advantage of it. Moreover, it seems Doyle might not have even exploited the loophole as viciously as Thompson would have wanted him to. There was no competitive bidding because the other train companies didn’t seem too interested in providing competition.

But Doyle and aides have defended the deal because only Talgo gave the state a formal response to a request for information and because the Spanish firm, Patentes Talgo, has committed to creating 80 jobs in Wisconsin.

I don’t necessarily buy Doyle’s story, but the irony is that if he wanted to, the governor could have flaunted the no-bid with pride – “I looked into the soul of that CEO…I knew he was one of the good guys. There was no point for competition.”

(Some) Lutherans allow gay pastors

August 22, 2009

A very influential church in Wisconsin:

The national assembly of the 4.7 million-member Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, meeting in Minneapolis, gave local congregations the authority to choose pastors or lay leaders who are in “lifelong, monogamous, same-gender relationships.”

This will likely be included in history books written on the gay rights movement. It is yet another signal sent by moderates throughout the Midwest that gay-bashing is a thing of the past, or rather, a thing of the South.

Wisconsin Republicans are unreasonable, and they have been for more than a generation, however, they cannot help but acknowledge that homophobia is beginning to drive voters to their opponents. In next year’s gubernatorial primary, I would be surprised if their is more than a token reference to “the defense of marriage” or whatever other euphemisms the Republican Party has used to say “God hates fags” in the past.

While southern Baptists and Pentecostals will continue to demagogue on sexuality, mainstream Protestant churches are moving away from the issue, correctly identifying it as an issue that is driving young people away from churches.

Lutherans across the nation are commenting on the decision, some optimistically, and some less so.

Obama might have been aborted, says Republican

July 17, 2009

Distracting attention from common sense policies by bringing up wedge social issues has been the strategy of the Republican Party for nearly a generation, so it’s not exactly surprising that Rep. Todd Tiahrt (R-KS), would imply that “great minds” who came from low-income families, including Barack Obama and Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas, would have been aborted if their mothers had had the chance to get free or low-cost abortions. The bill he was arguing against does not provide federal dollars for abortions – it simply lifts restrictions on Washington D.C. that prevented the city from using its own money for family planning.