Posts Tagged ‘Wisconsin Republicans’

Remember, some people actually vote Republican

August 11, 2009

State Rep. Samantha Kerkman is raising concerns about a bill that would require lawmakers to post their financial disclosure forms on the Internet.

The Genoa City Republican said Monday that posting the information online would give too much information to critics who could find ways to harass lawmakers and steal their identities.

Lawmakers and other public officials must file statements every year listing their investments, debts and business affiliations.”

I’m pretty sure Kerkman is a Glenn Beck fan.

Republican entertainment from Up North

July 24, 2009

This move is going to make political consultants’ skin crawl.

A group of Republican leaders in Wisconsin‘s 7th Congressional District have issued an “ultimatum” to the two declared candidates in the race, calling on them to refrain from personal attacks in their campaigns.

The ultimatum states that if its terms are violated, the leaders of county parties will “sever relations with the offending candidate” by denying him access to space in campaign headquarters, speaking opportunities and other campaign platforms.

Odd. Personal attacks are the guiding principle of the modern Republican Party. You’d think a primary would simply be a great opportunity for candidates to demonstrate their party credentials by sliming the shit out of their opponents.

Also, the last time Wisconsin Republicans tried the solidarity gimmick the eventual nominee got stomped by Russ Feingold. In a Republican year too. But the Democratic competition in this race, David Obey, is completely different. He’s only been in Congress for 40 years and chairs something called the House Appropriations Committee. He’s due for a loss right?

That of course brings us to the Republican candidates themselves. First we’ve got Sean Duffy, a former cast member of MTV’s The Real World. But that was 12 years ago – he’s totally into other things now. Like commentating on ESPN lumberjack competitions. Duffy says he’s cool with the personal attack prohibition. He just wants to “talk about the issues.” He doesn’t want drama, ok?

Next there’s Dan Mielke, a farmer-businessman for Congress! Mielke has a website that was pretty obviously self-made, which means it would be a snazzy website 10 years ago. He sums up opposition to the war this way:

To politically cut the budget to force an end to a war is, in my view, deserting our soldiers and those who do so are guilty of treason and murder.

I’m not certain but I’m fairly confident that he hired Stephen Colbert for some metaphor consulting:

There once was a hunting dog chained to a pole in the yard.  Congressman Obey wanted that dog to hunt so he increased the size of the collar and added weights to the chain.  He put a new roof on the community doghouse and poured a sidewalk to the woods to make it easier for the dog to get there.  But the dog still wouldn’t hunt. In the process, Congressman Obey cut the dog’s food and water in half, which made the dog hungry and mean, but the dog still wouldn’t hunt.  I took a look into the pleading eyes of this dog, and I became outraged and found fault with his efforts.

Obey, hearing of my complaint, angrily blurted out as he usually does,  “All people do is complain and find fault.  If  Dan Mielke is so smart, why doesn’t he do something?”  So, I did!  I grabbed my gun, unhooked the chain and called the dog by name.  Come on, ”America,” let’s go hunting.  And we did.

Mielke is not down with eliminating personal attacks from his political arsenal. He argued that the decision by party leaders was a way to “manipulate or hide information about the candidates from people.”

Wisconsin Republicans cling to crime issue

July 10, 2009

Anybody who’s kept up with Republican rhetoric as of late has undoubtedly noticed the GOP hammering the state’s new early-release plan, signed into Gov. Doyle at the beginning of the month. It has become a talking point inserted into any press release on the budget, the Democrats, or Doyle.

Although Scott Walker only vaguely references “protecting the rights of crime victims” in his section on “Standing Up For Wisconsin Families,” other Republicans have gone much further, labeling reforms that encourage inmates to behave and stay out of trouble as “pro-crime.” Just the other day Rep. Scott Sueder warned that thousands of dangerous criminals would soon be in a “neighborhood near you.”

And of course today, Van Wanggaard (that’s a whole name, not a Dutch last name ), a Racine County supervisor, announced his candidacy for the 21st Senate district, citing his opposition to “letting felons from prisons early for budgetary purposes.” That will “put the safety and security” of our neighborhoods and risk, he claims.

Actually, what is really at risk with this new policy is the collective sense of  vindication we have when we see a guy get sent up the river. That the statistics show Wisconsin’s system to be grossly ineffective and detrimental means nothing to the GOP. Like gay bashing and opposition to science, the tough-on-crime beast will eventually die a natural death as voters inevitably realize that they’ve been duped into disregarding facts through fear. However, until that day comes, the GOP will continue to squeeze all the life out of the issue as possible.

Neumann declares for governor

July 1, 2009

Mark Neumann, the former congressman who was narrowly defeated by Russ Feingold in a 1998 senate race, just declared his candidacy for the GOP gubernatorial nomination. He’ll be going up against Scott Walker, the Milwaukee County executive and heavy favorite, as well as Mark Todd, a businessman from Appleton. According to Chris Liebenthal, Neumann is the only viable one of the lot.

Neumann should market himself as a wiser alternative to his opponent with a more diversified record. Walker cannot be described as anything but a career politician; he was first elected to the state legislature in 1993, when he was only 26 years old. Neumann has already come out and emphasized his roots in the “private sector,” a subject that will no doubt appeal to the Republican primary voters. Neumann should go after Walker’s dubious record as a county executive, including the state takeover of county services due to serious concerns of incompetence at the county level. Granted, it’s unfortunate for Neumann that his only political experience took place in Washington D.C. Walker will be able to say that he’s been “serving the state” his whole life, and he’s (wait for it) had “executive experience,” while Neumann has only been a legislator.

I think the endorsements could play a relatively significant role as well. If Neumann could get some heavyweights on his side soon he might be able to cut back on Walker’s massive fundraising and publicity headstart.


June 30, 2009

It is somewhat ironic that Kyle Szarzynski is the one to report on CFACT. Kyle is perhaps the only person on campus who gives CFACT a run for its money in the “craziness” department. But to Kyle’s credit, he can generally present his allegations articulately, even when he’s accusing namby-pamby Canadians of being white supremacists.

No organization was a bigger headache during my time at the Herald than CFACT. Day after day we’d receive some letter from a starry-eyed recent convert, lauding the org for teaching them a lot of cool new stuff,  “serving the public,” and best of all, “working for the environment.” The vague slogans and unspecific goals were oddly reminiscent of the Church of  Scientology’s video on “human rights.” Unfortunately, because we were often short on content, we were forced on several occassions to run their propaganda. Who were we to discriminate? When we weren’t printing crack-inspired conspiracy theories by the head of Students for McCain we were running articles in favor of abolishing all drunk-driving laws.

Plus, despite the creepy cult vibes, the org definitely provided some good laughs. The best was when my co-editor Sam Clegg got a hold of a CFACT pamphlet alleging that Earth Day is actually a secret celebration of communism.

Wisconsin’s own Gaylord Nelson was compared to Nikita Khrushchev for deciding to place Earth Day on April 22, which is, coincidentally, Lenin’s birthday. Or as CFACT so eloquently implied in its pamphlet, Nelson consciously did this to insidiously work communism into the environmental discourse.

All that time, however, I had no idea that it was actually a segregated-fee funded organization. That Wisconsin, the home of Joe McCarthy, would be duped once again into funding such tactless liars, is truly unfortunate. Thankfully the Student Services Finance Committee ruled correctly last year by denying the group funding. Unfortunately it only did so because of a couple technicalities. CFACT failed to turn in some papers on time. Boring. SSFC should have gone farther and denounced the group for advancing an ideological agenda, rather than pushing one that “benefits all students,” which is the standard a group must satisfy to receive seg-fee funds.

Now CFACT is getting ready to sue the university unless its funding is restored. It enlisted the help of a few clueless blowhards at the State Capitol as well.

A conservative college group is threatening to sue the University of Wisconsin-Madison, claiming the school wiped out its funding as retaliation against its stance on global warming and other issues.

State Sen. Glenn Grothman, R-West Bend, was one of nine state legislators to ask the chancellor to reconsider.

“Without CFACT on campus, discussions about environmental and social issues will be completely one-sided,” they wrote in May. “The diversity that CFACT adds to these issues is invaluable to the UW campus and should be maintained.”

“We have a huge problem in society,” he said. “Too many of our universities hate any diversity of viewpoint other than that of the hard left. It’s appalling.”

Appalling that no other environmental group integrates the issue of leninism with earth day. I am simply not smart enough to respond to that one.

Gingrich raises money for guy he’s never heard of

June 30, 2009

Newt came to the Sconz to raise money for some guy who’s had a “tremendous record” as Milwaukee County executive. Instead he ended up raising a bunch of money for  Scott Walker.

Asked during a Q&A with reporters whether his appearance was an endorsement of Walker, Gingrich said it was not but praised Walker for his base of support and for having “a tremendous record” as county executive.

Translation: Look, I honestly have never heard of this guy before but he is the executive of Milwaukee County and he is a Republican for Christ’s sake! What the fuck do you want from me?

Gingrich said he was invited to come at the behest of Wisconsin Republican heavyweights Terry and Mary Kohler before Neumann said he planned to run.

What he should have said:

Scott Walker just looks like a winner – he reminds me of Rick Santorum back in the 90’s. Also, the welfare of Milwaukee County happens to be a cause extremely close to my heart. If I didn’t live in D.C. or Georgia…I would definitely live in Milwaukee.

Gingrich told the large crowd at the Milwaukee Hilton City Center that the party needs to follow a policy of inclusion, rather than outreach, to be successful.

“Outreach is when a bunch of white guys hide in a room, make up a policy and call three friends who are black or Latino; inclusion is when they’re in the room with you designing the policy,” Gingrich said to applause.

Translation: Plus, Milwaukee has blacks. If Scott won there he must know something about them.

Some wingnuts are upset about all this  “inclusivity” talk from Republicans. Don’t worry guys, I’m sure Newt hasn’t forgotten his roots. I’ll leave you with a quote from the good ol’ days, when being an unabashed racist was still fashionable in the GOP leadership.

“People in Cobb County [his district] don’t object to neighbors who keep their lawns cut and move to the area to avoid crime. What they worry about is the bus line gradually destroying apartment complex after another, gradually people come in for public housing who have no middle class values, and whose kids as they become teenagers are often centers of robberies and where the schools collapse because the parents of the kids who live in the apartment complexes don’t care that the kids don’t do well in school and the whole school collapses.” — Newt Gingrich

Budget update

June 26, 2009

The budget finally passed the conference committee on a party-line vote, with the two Republican “Fitzgeralds” voting against.

The budget would be best described as mediocre. The taxes and fees that will be raised to close the budget shortfall are generally progressive in nature:

  • $287 million by creating a 7.75-percent tax bracket for single taxpayers with incomes of $225,000 and more, and married couples with incomes of $300,000 and more.
  • $97 million by making consumers pay a 75-cent monthly fee on phone lines.
  • Reducing the capital gains tax exemption from 60% to 30%

The Republicans opposition to the capital gains provision is puzzling – especially since they so adamantly opposed the alternative proposal to raise taxes on oil companies. What do they propose? Should we cut education more drastically? Should we restore the cuts in the Department of Justice that they derided as “pro-crime”? Where do we cut?

Of course, the simple explanation is that, like their counterparts in D.C., Wisconsin Republicans don’t have an answer. If you don’t believe me try reading Rep. Gary Bies’ rambling opposition to the “tax and spenders.” Who can blame them? They don’t matter – coming up with alternatives would be a waste of their time and political capital. Just oppose. It sounds better. And it works to a certain extent. If they talk about the teachers union and tax hikes enough some people will start to believe that they have an answer to our problems.

The budget also comprised a variety of social issues, namely immigration. The Democrats retreated on giving driver’s licenses to illegal immigrants but thankfully, they stood strong on giving undocumented kids in-state tuition. Another road safety provision will make Wisconsin the 49th state to require auto insurance for car owners. New Hampshire is the lone holdout. Also, cops will now be allowed to pull drivers over for not wearing seatbelts. I wonder how many cops don’t wear seatbelts themselves?