Over at the Fighting Bob blog, former Senate and gubernatorial candidate Ed Garvey has some rather harsh things to say about DPW chair Mike Tate following the electoral defeat of Democrats here in Wisconsin.

In criticizing Tate, Garvey noted Wisconsin was “number 50” among the 50 states in Tuesday’s election:

How did we do? Well, there are 50 states and we were number 50! No Democratic Party did as poorly as we did. So get a memo out quickly: “We still have Doug LaFollette and Herb. Be positive.”

However, while Ed Garvey thinks Wisconsin was “number 50” in the 2010 election, I can think of at least two states that had results remarkably similar (or worse, if you can believe it) than the results here in Wisconsin. In Pennsylvania, Democrats lost 5 seats in the House, a U.S. Senate seat, the governor’s race, and the state House, while in Ohio Democrats lost 5 seats in the House, every statewide race (including governor), and the Ohio House, so the results of the 2010 election in Wisconsin are hardly unique.

I’m not entirely sure how Ed Garvey’s in any position to critique the electoral or campaign prowess of anyone else, given the fact that Garvey himself has never run a successful statewide campaign. While Garvey’s content to blame the drubbing Democrats took this year on Mike Tate, the reality is that 2010 was very simply a bad year for Democrats.

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18 Responses to Ed Garvey takes Mike Tate to task, but is he right?

  1. Proud Progressive says:

    I have to disagree with you there zach. I was working on something similar to this also, but I would call for Tates resignation as well as Tim Kaine. While it was a bad year for Republicans, I contend that it did not have to be this bad.

    While I wish they had done some more things, they definitely had a record to run on.

    plus the republicans in this state are not that strong. It was ridiculous we had John heckenlively scrambling to get enough signatures to run against Paul ryan. races had no challengers, northern wi elected a real world “star” with limited iq, kapanke ss a criminal and almost beat ron kind.

    Where is Howard Dean when you need him?

  2. Annie K. says:

    From what I’ve seen “the Democrats” have not been particularly kind to Ed Garvey over the years. And while I’m not qualified to judge people’s relationships (they probably know each other in real life) I’m really confused by that considering Ed really provides an annual focal point for “lefties” each year. There’s no way that’s not a damn lotta work and the Democrats themselves don’t offer anything like that at all to the public.
    Also, – a ton of us are (no kidding) really depressed or also maybe angry.
    Anger does serve a purpose, even if unpleasant for the short run, in that it helps give a heads up and warning to those folks who would just put on a brave face and man-up, continuing to do exactly what they have been doing with no change. This I do personally feel is a mistake. I believe Garvey is upset at what seems to be no thought of any course correction. No self-examination and no sense of holy shit! and this last week has been ALL about the HOLY SHIT! You know -“if you’re not scared by now, you’re not paying attention” And there’s a lot more to worry about than the Train too. Ed mentions it in his rant. I share Garvey’s concern for the love Johnson has for secrecy. That’s gonna be way worse than any train fail.

    I’ve seen several (local and otherwise) people take a “politics is cyclical” trying to be Zen approach. THis seems like sticking heads in the sand to me.

    Being angry upset depressed seems appropriate. To say “this is just another disappointing election” I think is irresponsible. How many times in history have people minimized various “waves” that a few years later seem like, “how the hell did people just let that happen” scenarios.
    Also, not everyone takes the Team Player approach. Not everyone has the overall “this is just one game, there’s the Championship to get ready for” attitude.
    This wasn’t just another game. Now there’s no more Obey who has a vast knowledge, add to that no more Feingold. That is a fatal hit. it’s those who minimize that I want to beat up. This is no time to be cheerful, the watchdog has been shot and the wolves are hungry.
    People are gonna be mad, sad and otherwise. This all deserves a more passionate and personal reaction than to just listen to a shitty halftime pep talk. Leaders are the logical target for the frustrations of those they lead. Tate wanted to lead so… he has to deal with “family angst” type stuff. Most of us do that everyday. No difference. Work with it openly, or let it tear you apart. No other options.

    I don’t know Tate or Garvey, but I do get sick of people dissing Ed Garvey because he didn’t win whatever his election was. You can mock a lot of people that same way, a lot of people run and don’t make it – are they less intelligent? If Russ opens his mnouth now,is he dimiinsihed for this loss? What could be a more ludicrous idea?
    so that’s pretty cruel to keep at Ed for that loss.. With enemies like this we don’t need Republicans. Ed makes a huge contribution, lots of people dig his party. I think people can lend him an ear once in a while.

    As to Mike Tate, well that’s how it goes. You are in charge of something, shit hits the fan, people have emotions. A little more honest and maybe unsettling discussion seems needed IMO. Democrats are the only people who ostensibly represent the “underclasses” and I have to say, they haven’t been excelling at that for some time now. There isn’t anybody else people can turn to. The Democrats are all they have.
    People also send the Democrats a fuck-load of money.I don’t care if the Republicans have MORE, the people who send the smaller amounts send LOADS of it. I’m just sayin’…holy crap guys.
    Yeah, so it’s difficult to fight for Truth Justice and the American way, But I’m so tried of Democrats wanting sympathy from the people they don’t seem to be fighting hard enough for.
    Just a little longer…
    Next time….

    all right already. You asked me about Nancy Pelosi? Okay it’s WAY past time for all those people to grow a pair. way past time. People HAVE been patient, WAAAAY patient.
    A little painful self-examination about why people are upset and frustrated, things can be learned from that. As a parent I know for sure that if the kids are mad at you, you can figure they have a good reason and listen, or you can go all authoritarian, protect your ego, insist on “obedience” and shut them up. I don’t recommend that last approach though.
    A little humility and willingness to listen, learn and adapt often goes a long way.
    Didn’t Tate run for something and not make it too? I don’t have the guts to run for anything so…
    I dunno, I’m mad, freaked out and upset too. I’m just keeping my mouth shut (except for this)

    This Russ Thing is just hitting a lot of people rally hard. But at least it’s “something real” as opposed to all the phony bullshit that most of politics is every day.

    I feel I know what Ed is saying. But he’s a lawyer and clarifications should come from him. I don’t really find his words shocking, he just left about a few explanatory steps IMO.
    Vapid Pollyanna-ism hits people rally hard when they’re in pain and frustrated. That’s about all I can say about it.

    p.s. anyone who is in line to experience the end results of class warfare, unwanted war, lost homes,a ruined economy and really serious threats to civil rights and everything else “is in any position to critique the electoral or campaign prowess of anyone else”
    We get to criticize this stuff cuz we all have to eat it up with a big ol’ spoon. and for gawd’s sake- It’s not like some Frat Boys just threw a dud party and ran out of beer early.

    oh noes ! I’m about to start making comparisons to HITLER so I’m gonna wrap this up.
    and you may not hear from me for awhile. Nuthin’ personal. I do sincerely 100% appreciate you putting up with all my diatribes.
    LOL @ “diatribes”, whatta pretentious word.

  3. Locke says:

    Just 2 quick comments:
    If you’re going to put a positive spin on things, I don’t think “we’ve still got Herb” is going to be a real big winner for you.

    And there’s one reason Wisconsin had a rougher year than most others, especially for state races…Jim Doyle. He did such a rotten job he’s pretty much lost all his support even among the folks here. I think Barrett was a fairly strong candidate and even with the overall Democrat backlash that went on, he may have been able to win. His ads were among the best I saw all season. But being the Democrat to follow Doyle was the death blow. Much of that carried over to state senate & assembly races as well. He’ll, if Doyle had run and given voters the chance to hold him responsible for – taken the pounding he so deserved himself, the rest of the state dems may have fared better.

  4. Fred says:

    Please give Tate a lifetime contract.

  5. Dinosaur says:

    Zach, I don’t care if we’re “50” or “45.” It’s an embarrassment nonetheless. It reminds me of the days when we would say, “Well, at least we are better than Mississippi.”

    Democrats in Wisconsin left their proud progressive tradition years ago in an attempt to keep up with Republican money. This year, while the Republicans created a movement, we spent our time sending emails and placing auto-calls to the supposed “undecideds” on our Vote Builder lists–not persuading voters, but funding overpaid campaign professionals who think they know it all.

    It’s high time to reassess our values and our campaign tactics alike. Democrats need to roll up their sleeves and get to work on rebuilding the party.

    • Zach says:

      Dinosaur, what do you think the DPW could have done different/better to counter the conservative wave in 2010?

      • The first thing that needs to be done is have a candidate in EVERY race. There should not be a single race without a democrat on the ballot. The second thing is we need to have legit candidates in the major races.

        For example, nothing against Heckenlively, but it is ridiculous that they had to scramble at the end to get someone on the ballot. Tate needs to have someone(s) last wed working on taking on Ryan. If things are ready to swing back in 2012 like some are saying(I personally dont beleive that) then they need to be ready to do so. So they need legit candidates ready to roll. In races where we dont have an incumbent we need to be running long campaigns(ie sean duffy). So if there is a groundswell against incumbents then we are ready to step in.

  6. demboy says:

    Think of the difference 2 years makes. In 2007, Reince Priebus took over the Wis GOP and in 2008 the GOP got beat badly. In 2009, Mike Tate took over the Wis Dems and in 2010 the Dems got beat badly.

    What does that tell us? It tells us that the national waves can be even bigger than a State Party Chair can control.

    The real questions shouldn’t be about the waves themselves, but rather the condition of the organization when they took over to their 1rst re-election. In 2008 the Dems did some winning, but where was the bench when Doyle planned to step down? Is the lack of depth Tate’s fault? I think not.

    Did the Wisconsin Dems have a ground game in 2008? Not really, that was the Obama campaign. Look at this year’s ground game for the State Party in a mid-term election, which was the largest in the nation….impressive.

    We would be much better served as Dems talking about how we strengthen the operation, how we build the bench and how we position ourselves to take advantage of the next national wave, likely in 2012.

    • Locke says:

      In 2008 the Dems did some winning, but where was the bench when Doyle planned to step down? Is the lack of depth Tate’s fault? I think not.

      I’ll say again…I just don’t think any candidate with a D after his name could have followed Doyle and won. I thought Barrett was immensely likeable, ran good ads and his record wasn’t a problem. I will admit fully that my dislike for the Doyle makes it pretty much impossible for me to be objective. I think it’s not too different from Bush in ’08. I don’t think the Republicans could’ve won with any candidate. The public just did not like Doyle/Bush – they were sick of them and wanted a change. The individual ruined it for his party for the next election. Of course this brings me back to the same conclusion you do – I don’t think it can be blamed on Mike Tate.

      I will posit the thought I threw out there before:

      If Doyle had run, would state Dems have fared better? Obviously a hypothetical, but a lot of Monday morning quarterback is going around.

      • Zach says:

        I’ll agree with your point about Doyle to some extent, but I also think Democrats didn’t help the whole “Tom Barrett is Jim Doyle’s third term” thing by appearing to clear the field for Barrett.

        As to the lack of depth on the Democratic bench, I’m still dying to know the real reason why Barb Lawton dropped out so suddenly.

        • Locke says:

          but I also think Democrats didn’t help the whole “Tom Barrett is Jim Doyle’s third term” thing by appearing to clear the field for Barrett.

          Yeah, no doubt, that was a bear. And as I said a few times, I don’t think the accusation was fair, but it certainly hurt. For whatever reason, Barrett didn’t seem to really address it or distance himself though which seemed strange to me. When Doyle quietly tried to lock up the train money (and I’m not trying to open that can of worms, there’s enough threads on the train) the way he did it (quietly the day before the election) just stunk. Ultimately, Barrett eventually criticized him, but it was waaay too late. Not like it would’ve mattered, I guess.

          The flip side about clearing the field was Barrett didn’t have to spend money or face accusations & have dirt dug up for as long. Obviously there were disadvantages too, one of which you mentioned. How it would all come out in the end???

          • Zach says:

            Yeah, there were definitely positives and negatives to Barrett having an easy path to the Democratic nomination, but I think the benefits would have outweighed the drawbacks.

        • What I hear is that Doyle/Rahm put out the word to all of the major democratic donors to cut off Lawton, thus causing her to have to get out of the race because she could not then raise enough money to run.

          Doyle hates her and did not want her succeeding him.

  7. xoff says:

    Lawton could have raised all the money in the world and not won this year. No Democrat was going to be elected governor of Wisconsin, although Barrett was the best hope.

    Garvey, the last angry man, has spent most of his time the last 20 years attacking other Democrats, none of whom are up to his standards. His solution is always to move farther left. Somehow, it doesn’t seem like that would have worked this year, whether it was Barbara Lawton or someone else.

    Blaming Mike Tate, who worked his ass off while Garvey said on his and criticized, is not particularily helpful, either.

  8. Proud Progressive says:

    I think a primary would of been a good idea to get the candidates more exposure and allow the people to pick who represents them. Kicking Lawton out just made it look like Barrett was more entwined with Doyle. Walker was a weak candidate who should of been beatable just using his own record against him.

    Garvey has spent his time building up a movement and not giving up. i would say, from the People’s Legislature to Fighting Bob Fest he has been doing more for the progressive in the state than anyone else. They had over 10,000 people at Bob Fest this year and got very little press. On the other end, like this story points out

    “A few dozen tea party supporters turned out for a lunchtime rally Thursday for what was billed as a “Spending Revolt” bus tour.”

    10,000 people no press, a few dozen people, front page story with pictures.

    Mike Tate might be a nice guy and he writes awesome press releases but we took a beating.

    Everyone will agree that Rod marinelli knows his football and works his ass off. The Detroit Lions went 0-16. Doesn’t make him a bad person makes him a bad fit for the job.

  9. Like it or not, Garvey is correct. Pennsylvania has 19 House seats and Ohio has 16. Five Dem losses in each state does not compare to the three we lost becaue we only have eight House seats.

    And Feingo,ld losing was a blow to the entire progressive community nationwide.

    I don’t know if Garvey is accurate in his assessments of Mike Tate, but he’s right about Wisconsin taking the worst hit in the nation.

  10. Check my last comment, we lost two, not three house seats. Maybe we’re tied with Ohio and PA for worst. Some consolation!

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