Sanders campaign hires regional organizers across WI

Found in my emailbox:

The campaign of Henry Sanders, Jr., Democratic candidate for Wisconsin Lieutenant Governor, today announced the hires of nine regional field organizers throughout the state. The new staffers will work with local leaders and supporters in their regions to build on the existing statewide support that carried Sanders to a two-to-one victory amongst Democratic Party leaders and grassroots activists in the annual convention poll.

“This level of statewide organization is unprecedented in a down-ballot race, and will make the difference in September,” said Jason Stephany, Sanders campaign manager and former Executive Director of the Democratic Party of Wisconsin. “Candidates can spend all the money in the world, but this race will come down to who has the true, statewide, grassroots network needed to get out the vote on Election Day.”

Organizers have already activated local supporter networks, contacting thousands of voters through phone banks, house parties, and door-to-door canvasses to spread the word about Sanders’ real world job creation experience – and his detailed plan to put Wisconsin back to work.

“Come November, Henry Sanders will still be the only candidate who brings real world job creation experience to the table,” Stephany said. “And with the addition of these experienced organizers, Henry will also be the only candidate with a statewide network of supporters primed and ready to work for the Barrett-Sanders ticket.”

“I’ve traveled to every corner of this state, and everywhere I go people tell me they need a leader who will help put their families and their communities back to work,” Sanders said. “There’s a lot of excitement and energy behind this campaign and Progressive Recovery, our 18-point plan to create jobs. It’s that kind of energy that won the convention poll with more votes than our opponents combined, and I’m sure the work of these organizers will take that energy and turn it into a win for me and Tom Barrett this fall.”

The nine regional organizers and their regions are listed below. Those interested in working with the campaign should contact their local coordinator.

Northwest Wisconsin: Paydon Miller,
Northeast Wisconsin: Connor Chapman,
Fox Valley: Steve Thiede,
Greater Milwaukee: Ryan Hazelwood,
Southeast Wisconsin: Andrew Sharp,
Stateline: LaTreece Sandlin,
South-Central Wisconsin: Ryan Ludens,
North-Central Wisconsin: Laura Hauser-Menting,
Western Wisconsin: Jeremy Schroeder,

This is a big step for a down-ballot race, and while some within the Democratic Party here in Wisconsin might not take Henry Sanders, Jr. seriously, he’s certainly working hard to organize across the state, and in an election that could hinge on which candidates can best mobilize their supporters, this can’t be viewed as anything but a great step for the Sanders campaign.

Just a quick technical note

You may or may not notice (depending on how observant you are) a little “toolbar” at the bottom of your screen when you visit Blogging Blue. That little toolbar is a Meebo bar, and it’s a great way to share the content here on Blogging Blue with your friends on Facebook, Twitter, etc. I’m trying Meebo out, so let me know what you think.

Miscellaneous from the Ron Johnson Factory

Johnson at EAA
I had the pleasure of attending the (EAA – Experimental Aircraft Association)  in Oshkosh this weekend for the first time.  The show was great, but I was a bit surprised that the organizers gave Ron Johnson some airtime, so that he could put in a political plug to a captive audience that really came to see the planes, not hear him talk.  If the EAA is giving him airtime, they should do the same for all candidates in the race.

Johnson at the DSCC
Meanwhile the DSCC has put together an infographic that includes links to the “greatest” quotes from such luminaries as Sharon Angle, Rand Paul and Ron Johnson.   Here are some of his doozies:

On Health Care…

“The health care bill is the greatest assault on our freedom in my lifetime.”

[Webbsite, 06/10/10]

In response to a question on global warming…

“I’m glad there is global warming.”

[WTAQ, 6/07/10]

On Extending Unemployment Insurance…

“When you continue to extend unemployment benefits, people really don’t have the incentive to go take other jobs.”

[WTAQ, 6/07/10]

On British Petroleum in the wake of the Gulf Oil spill…

“This is not the time to be beating up on those guys, quite honestly.”

[The Ed Morrissey Show, 6/2/2010]

Context: Johnson owns a significant amount of British Petroleum stock.

On Social Security…

“It is a giant Ponzi scheme.”

[Fox Valley Initiative, 6/9/10]

Call and Response – Paul Ryan Speaks, MCM responds

Republican Golden Boy, Paul Ryan, received a great deal of coverage in today’s New York Times article “A Young Republican with a Sweeping Agenda” including being asked questions that for some reason are not showing up in the online edition, but are probably the most insightful on his positions.  Given that they aren’t readily apparent in the online article, I’m re-publishing some of them here to show yet again how out of touch Mr. Ryan is from his constituent’s views and from the majority of Wisconsinites.

From the sidebar column headlined “From the Mind of a Lawmaker” I bring you PR – Paul Ryan along with a MCM (MadCityMan) special response:

R – Whether he considers himself part of the Tea Party Movement – ” Kind of.   I guess so.  I never really thought about it like that.”

MCM response – “You must not be doing much thinking if you haven’t decided on this one.  Your hero Michelle Bachmann has set-up a Tea Party Caucus, and I’m sure she’s asked you to join.”

PR – On Representative Michele Bachmann, Republican of Minnesota – “She’s a boundless ball of energy.”

MCM response – “She might be a boundless ball of energy, but she is also a basket full of loony ideas.  Do you support her positions?”

PR – Whether Sarah Palin is qualified to be President – “She has as much qualification as the current occupant of the White House.”

MCM response – “A former beauty queen; half term governor from the 48th largest state in the nation; who served as the mayor of Wasilla,  a town of at most 9,780 residents; who attended 4 different schools to get her B.S., uses a hand prompter to remember a single digit number  vs. a Senator from IL, the 5th largest state; three term state Senator, community organizer, author, graduate of Columbia and Harvard Law School, President of the Harvard Law review… Somehow this equality of qualifications doesn’t compute, Mr. Ryan.”

PR – Why he wins his District – “I have 67 cousins in Janesville.”

MCM response – “That might help you in Janesville, but not sure even this prolific of a family will get you much further in your political career.”

PR – What level of debt is allowed in his home – “No credit card debt.  A mortgage.”

MCM response – “Does your wife have any say in this?  Maybe it was the way the question was asked, but I would think she would in today’s modern family.

My conclusion – Mr. Ryan,  is an out of touch, conservative, politician with a giant war chest, who needs to see some real competition in his Democratic leaning District and who needs to have his constituents wake up to how extreme his viewpoints are, even if he is young and has hair as thick as Blagojevich’s albeit in a more contemporary cut (as the New York Times journalist claimed).

WI fails to break the Top 10

Gallup has released their latest poll results tracking the most conservative and most liberal states.  Based on their polling results, WI did not make it onto either list.  The top 10 most conservative states were lead by Wyoming, Mississippi and Utah; while the top 10 most liberal states were led by DC, RI & CT.

So what’s with Lieberman representing CT?

As the release on the polling results stated:

“As one would expect, there is overlap between the most liberal and Democratic states and most conservative and Republican states. The five most liberal states and New York all appear in the top 10 most Democratic states. Likewise, six of the most conservative states (Wyoming, Utah, South Dakota, Alabama, Idaho, and Nebraska) also rank among the most Republican.”

So what’s with Ben Nelson representing NE?

Liberal, Moderate, Conservative Ideology by State
Gallup State Ideology Rankings

For those of you interested in trends and comparative data between states, Gallup has put together an interactive informatic that allows you to compare states on 19 political, economic and well being metrics with the map re-colorizing as you navigate over each of the dimensions.  Here’s an example for one of the political dimensions “leans Democratic/Democratic”.

Gallup State of States Interactive Infographic
Gallup State of States Interactive Infographic

More trouble in conservative paradise?

Looks like Republican U.S. Senate candidate Dave Westlake thinks the fix is on in the Republican U.S. Senate primary:

Ashley Schultz, campaign manager of the Dave Westlake for U.S. Senate Campaign released the following statement regarding reports that important information is being withheld from the public due to intimidation by party members:

“We have just received confirmation that members of the Republican Party of Wisconsin are attempting to intimidate and silence those who wish to speak out against our primary opponent Ron Johnson. On multiple occasions, people have been told by those associated with the RPW to refrain from sharing negative experiences they’ve had with Johnson. In one instance, when a member of the college republicans was asked by the press to reveal details about an exchange with Johnson they were told they were not allowed to “bash” the party’s endorsed candidate.

Preventing information about a candidate from being released is misleading to the public and it is alarming that the party our campaign associates itself with would tolerate this type of behavior – this is not what our campaign or the Republican Party stands for. We will gladly work with the Republican Party to ensure that these bullying tactics are stopped because it is imperative that we allow voters of Wisconsin to be informed when they choose the Republican nominee on September 14th.

Now, more than ever, we need to change the way politics are run and the first step to fixing the problems in Washington is to change the way we campaign. The public has a right to know who they are voting for and candidates need be held accountable for the things they say and do.”

Ordinarily I’m loathe to publish a press release from a conservative candidate in its entirety, but Westlake’s press release raises some interesting points about the lengths the Republican Party of Wisconsin may be going to in order to ensure their anointed candidate – Ron Johnson – wins the Republican U.S. Senate primary.

EDITOR’S NOTE: When reached for comment, Dave Westlake issued the following statement:

“We have been notified of numerous attempts to intimidate our volunteers by people either within the party’s grassroots leadership or people associated with the party in some manner. In each instance, we’ve strongly encouraged these volunteers to bring the details of their experiences to the attention of the party leadership. In some cases this has solved the issue; in others, it has not. In those cases where the problems are still outstanding, I am fully committed to working directly with the party to solve these problems…and the party has expressed a strong desire to eliminate this type of behavior from it’s ranks.”

Westlake also noted one of the individuals involved in the situation has shared the information regarding their run in (text messages and details of phone conversations) with a number of reporters (but no liberal bloggers that I’m aware of).

Ron Johnson & elected Republicans actually support increasing the federal budget deficit!

Nationally, Republicans are trying to portray themselves as deficit hawks concerned about the deficit spending of President Obama and elected Democrats, who are trying to pull the country out of a deep recession. At the same time, those same “deficit hawk” Republicans are calling for an extension of the George W. Bush-era tax cuts that both heavily favored the richest two percent of Americans and which drove up our national deficit, and which would continue to drive up our national deficit if extended. Not surprisingly, Republicans are trying their best to deny the fact that extending the Bush tax cuts would increase the national deficit, lest they be labeled hypocrites (which they are) for supporting driving up the nation’s spending deficit while at the same time attacking Democrats for doing the exact same thing.

For instance, watch as Rep. Eric Cantor (R-VA) squirms as he tries to avoid answering a direct question about whether extending the Bush tax cuts would increase the national deficit:

At about 1:02 into the clip, Rep. Cantor goes on to explain that if the priority is to grow the economy, “then you don’t make it more expensive for job creators; you don’t want to hike their taxes so they won’t hire people.” What Rep. Cantor really meant is that Republicans don’t want to raise taxes on the wealthiest two percent of Americans, even if it means exacerbating the nation’s budget deficit by billions and billions of dollars.

Here in Wisconsin, Republican U.S. Senate candidate Ron Johnson supports extending the Bush tax cuts, telling the government should make spending cuts to cover that drop in revenue:

“The last thing we need to do in a weakened economy is raise taxes on anybody,” Johnson said.

While I’d agree that the last thing we need to do in a weakened economy is raise taxes on the middle class, I’d argue that folks in the top two percent of income earners – which includes Ron Johnson – can afford to be taxed at a level that while higher than today’s level would still be lower than tax rates under President Ronald Reagan. What’s more, the Bush tax cuts certainly didn’t perform any economic miracles when it comes to growing the nation’s economy, so I’m not entirely sure how we’d be worse off than we are right now.

In an interesting twist, while national Republicans (and Ron Johnson) want to extend the Bush tax cuts, David Stockman, who served as the Director of the OMB under President Ronald Reagan, has voiced his opposition to the idea of extending the Bush-era tax cuts:

IF there were such a thing as Chapter 11 for politicians, the Republican push to extend the unaffordable Bush tax cuts would amount to a bankruptcy filing. The nation’s public debt — if honestly reckoned to include municipal bonds and the $7 trillion of new deficits baked into the cake through 2015 — will soon reach $18 trillion. That’s a Greece-scale 120 percent of gross domestic product, and fairly screams out for austerity and sacrifice. It is therefore unseemly for the Senate minority leader, Mitch McConnell, to insist that the nation’s wealthiest taxpayers be spared even a three-percentage-point rate increase.

It’s worth noting Stockman was a supply sider long before many of the current crop of Republicans who support the idea that tax cuts always boost the economy were in Congress, and if Stockman’s opposition wasn’t meaningful enough, former Fed Chairman Alan Greenspan said on “Meet the Press” this weekend that the push by congressional Republicans to extend the Bush tax cuts without offsetting the costs elsewhere could end up being “disastrous” for the economy:

“I’m very much in favor of tax cuts but not with borrowed money and the problem that we have gotten into in recent years is spending programs with borrowed money, tax cuts with borrowed money,” he said. “And at the end of the day that proves disastrous. My view is I don’t think we can play subtle policy here.”

I’d rather take the advice of Alan Greenspan over the opinion of Eric Cantor when it comes to issues relating to taxes and the economy, because something tells me Greenspan knows just a little more about both issues than Eric Cantor.

Ron Johnson has really mastered political doublespeak

Republican U.S. Senate candidate Ron Johnson, in a state issued prior to his appearance at a forum addressing aging and disability issues:

“Our seniors deserve the peace of mind and certainty that the programs they’ve been planning their retirement around will remain intact and be the safety net they’re meant to be.”

Speaking about Medicare on Up Front with Mike Gousha on May 30, 2010, Johnson noted Medicare is “a broken system,” and he also praised a plan he calls “common sense” that would abolish Medicare in its current form for everyone currently below age 55 while privatizing Social Security.

What I’d like to know is how Ron Johnson would give seniors “peace of mind and certainty” through abolishing Medicare, which provides a good measure of “peace of mind and certainty” to millions of American senior citizens who otherwise wouldn’t be able to afford the health insurance coverage that so many of them desperately need.