On Wednesday, September 5th, Tommy Thompson’s campaign sent an email to members of the media attempting to question Tammy Baldwin’s “heartland values,” a veiled attempt to smear Baldwin for her sexual orientation.

FOUR days later, Tommy Thompson is still silent.

Russ Feingold said it best: “In Wisconsin, we reject divisive personal attacks. It’s time for Tommy Thompson to both take responsibility for the harmful divisiveness of his campaign and to squarely reject it.” 

Join me in telling Tommy Thompson: Personal Attacks have no place in politics. Sign my SignOn petition calling on Thompson to end the divisive, dirty politics.

Thompson’s campaign is attacking Baldwin on the basis of her personal life. This is not the Wisconsin way. Thompson cannot remain silent another day. It’s time for Tommy Thompson to take responsibility for his campaign and the divisive, personal attacks they’re pushing.

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42 Responses to Tommy Thompson launches divisive, dirty, personal attack on Tammy Baldwin

  1. Michael BB says:

    I must say that personal attacks have been in politics everywhere, all the time, from ancient Greece, to Athens, GA.
    Asking someone to sign a petition imploring an opposition candidate who has the mindset of a caveman ( notice the personal attack there) to cease and desist some crap that he thinks will win him votes is just, well, kinda simple-minded. If anyone ought to be sophisticated to accept the reality of personality politicking, reality, it ought to be bloggers.

    • onevote says:

      MichaelBB sure is sophisticated, that’s why he has to hang out in lefty blogs–not the righty places. Maybe MichaelBB should look up where the word “sophisticated” came from: sophist–kind of an unkind term.
      TT’s having to resort to these tactics because he knows he’s not really a “Tea Party” type, actually went along with “Obamacare,” made millions after leaving Cheney/Bush, refuses to release his tax information, rides around on a Harley wearing “cool” sunglasses, ad nauseum.
      I have no problem with expressing negative information about candidates, as long as its warrented. I really hope TT’s ox gets gored in this election–free speech, anyone?

      • grumps says:

        No, OV.

        What Michael says is true. Sad, but true.

        In the first place, it was Nemoir who made the comments and did so outside the framework of the formal campaign. One can ask Tommy! to take his staffer to task but it ain’t gonna happen.

        Still, it’s important to let the larger audience know that Nmoir and, by extension, the campaign crossed a line. Therefore, raising a clatter for a petition serves a couple of purposes that are at least as useful to one side as calling Tammy a lesbian in public are to the other.

    • Lisa Mux says:

      Update: From Politifact WI, 9/17/12:

      “An aide “acted on his own” and “was not representing the Thompson campaign” when he sent an email criticizing the sexual orientation of U.S. Senate candidate Tammy Baldwin.” Rating: Pants on Fire

      Story here: http://www.politifact.com/wisconsin/statements/2012/sep/17/tommy-thompson/thompson-says-aide-wasnt-representing-campaign-ema/

  2. Duane12 says:

    “Thompson’s campaign is attacking Baldwin on the basis of her personal life.”

    If so, then perhaps Thompson’s personal life as regards marital fidelity is fair game as suggested in, http://www.datalounge.com/cgi-bin/iowa/ajax.html?t=11921629#page:showThread,11921629

    • Rich says:

      Even more so, because the latter’s behavior is a reflection of that person’s integrity, honesty, and adherence to his own personal faith.

  3. Lisa Mux says:

    Just because something has been done forever does mean it’s okay, or that I have to accept it. Thompson attacked Tammy Baldwin for her sexuality. NOT okay.
    I’m not the only Wisconsinite who is upset by this. I’m using tools at my disposal to try to change things. If people think it’s simple-minded or futile, well, that’s the price I have to pay, I guess. 🙂

  4. PJ says:

    Sophist an unkind term? I suppose that would depend on selective etymology. Its Medieval Latin, Old French, Middle French, Middle English and Early Modern English connotations contain some rather unsavory notions, that’s true. But derived from the original Greek, sophos (wise, clever); sophistes (wise man, master, teacher); sophizesthai (become wise). sophism (clever device)

    Philosopher – lover of wisdom.

    Sophomore – wise and foolish

    As for Tommy T – his name – Tommy Tom Tom has some interesting etymological variations. Among them: Rude, a bold or immodest woman, Buffoon, Clown, and the personification of mental deficiency. I suppose that’s ad hominem, but really it’s only an observation.

  5. Lisa, I signed. I also stickied this so it’s front and center on Blogging Blue for a few days.

    As to Thompson’s campaign tactics, I’m not surprised a bit, because the “Boy from Elroy” has been replaced by “Tea Party” Tommy, and “Tea Party” Tommy will do anything to get elected.

  6. Dan says:

    I like how its perfectly okay to portray Republicans as nazis or klan members or whatever, but showing Tammy dancing is cause for petitions.

    The Democrats throw buckets of mud, and then act all offended when a handful gets tossed their way.

    • Lisa Mux says:

      For the record, I don’t condone portraying Republicans as Nazis or Klan members. Never have, never will.

      • Dan says:

        I know you didn’t Lisa, and I apologize if my comment implied that you did.

        I guess my point was that when, for example Lena Taylor did make that comparison to Scott Walker, and no one really seemed to call her out on it. I just feel like there is a double standard when it comes to these things.

        • Lisa Mux says:

          No problem, Dan. I understand what you are saying.

          I would really like to see a return to “old school politics,” where red and blue could disagree vehemently about an issue, but then go have drinks together as friends.
          The idea that we, as a state and as a nation, will remain this divided indefinitely…well, it’s depressing and exhausting. I’d like that to change.

      • forgotmyscreenname says:

        You may not have condoned it, but did you start a petition over those instances?

    • grumps says:

      Lisa, the problem is that, when red and blue went out to have drinks together after sessions, Tommy’!s goat genes started to act up.

      Dan, what do Scott Walker and Lena Taylor have to do with a post about Tommy’!s campaign. Focus, man. It can’t be that hard

  7. PJ says:


    You seem to miss the significance of both cases you cite. First, today’s Conservatives are using Goebbels’ propaganda techniques to wage political warfare. They are no longer legislating and they are no longer governing. They are attempting to eliminate their political opponents – even within their own party. What conservatives are doing parallels the rise of Nazism in too many ways for any American to take such criticism lightly or as hyperbole – so credit where credit is due. The KKK like Nazism, like the Tea Party subscribes to far-right modes of thinking, and their basic belief system parallels modern Conservative values and those espoused by the Nazi Party, to name just a very few: anti-Communism, anti-immigration, extreme nationalism, white supremacy and racism. So, yes, it is perfectly “okay” as you put it, if the parallels are apt. In the case of Right Wing Extremism they are.

    Tommy Tom Tom’s attack on Tammy Baldwin’s sexuality displays another far-right characteristic: anti-gay. And one should note that anti-homosexuality and homophobia are also attitudes that Nazism, the KKK, and modern Conservatives have in common. Opposition to homosexuality is a typically right wing response to liberal, freethinking society. If you’d like an historical run down of Western civilization (with special emphasis on Weimar and the Third Reich), I can provide that for you. Calling out Thompson for being an intolerant bigot is entirely appropriate, especially since the way in which the attack was launched is entirely in keeping with Goebbels’ methodology. And need you be reminded that a larger portion of the Left than not disapprove of Nazi parallels to modern Conservatism. I am, obviously, in the latter category. Right Wing Extremism is morally decadent historically and it is morally decadent now. If you don’t care for Nazi parallels, try moving farther away from Right Wing Extremism – and poof – they’ll disappear.

    Accurate critiques are not buckets of mud. The mud-slinger here is Thompson – he’s using an Ad hominem attack – attacking the person rather than her ideas. So your characterization of Democrats is off-base and more in alignment with the ever-so-sensitive right wing in this country with all their feigned outrage and all their hysteria – all attitudes elicited by the inundating “toxic brain-food” Conservatives subject themselves to. Lisa’s response is entirely appropriate, and need I say, in contrast to the Tea Party demeanor – Lisa’s call for awareness and a petition are – rational. Your charge of hypocrisy is not.

    • Dan says:

      So your argument is basically that because Republicans use propaganda, and nazis used propaganda, then Republicans = nazis. I find that to be a bit of a stretch. In fact, I find that to be very similar to the path used by tea party people when they try to claim that Obama is somehow trying to turn this country into Stalinist Russia. You draw parallels, and then use those parallels to try and equate the goals of the Republicans to the goals of the Nazis. This is hyperbolic at best.

      As for me, I do not consider myself to be a right wing extremist. I fully support same sex marriage. I was proud to vote no on that ridiculous referendum the Republicans put on the ballot in 2006 here in Wisconsin. I just see a double standard and I feel like I should point it out.

      If you really want to hear some ad hominem attacks, listen to Sly in the Morning, especially when he talks about Toniette Walker.

  8. jwayne says:

    Well the honest answer is Ms Baldwins values are not Wisconsin’s values. Her values may match those in Madison and Milwaukee but not the majority of this state which are family and God.

    • Lisa Mux says:

      jwayne, if you look at where the (almost 2,000) people who have signed the petition in the last 24 hours live, they’re not just from Madison and Milwaukee, they’re from all over Wisconsin, many from up north.

      And straight people are not the only ones who value family and God, that’s simply untrue.

      Homophobia is NOT the Wisconsin way and frankly, it’s unacceptable.

  9. John Casper says:


    Dan, do you have a link to where the Baldwin campaign linked Tommy to Nazi’s or the klan? I haven’t seen it.

  10. PJ says:


    Contrary to your Walker-inspired subterfuge that would seek to divide Milwaukee and Madison from the rest of Wisconsin in order to tyrannically conquer the entire state, Wisconsin’s values extend beyond simplistic dogma. Wisconsin has always been a progressive state and it will always be a progressive state. That we have been usurped by tyranny doesn’t change that. Tammy Baldwin’s record honors the values of honesty and integrity, as well as respect and concern for the welfare of all of Wisconsin – even those with whom she disagrees. Unfortunately, the reverse cannot be said of Right Wing Extremists polluting the good name of this state. You disparage only yourself with your vitriolic hate. If you truly valued God you would not revile his children. If you were remotely committed to American values you would not cling so to the idea that your god is the only belief worthy of value.

    “For myself, I fully and conscientiously believe, that it is the will of the Almighty, that there should be diversity of religious opinions among us; it affords a larger field for our Christian kindness.”

    ~Thomas Paine, Common Sense

    Perhaps you might consider widening your field, JWayne. Your narrowing slant has constricted your conscience and your moral width. Until then you prove little more than a small minded bigot who is UnAmerican and unrepresentative of the goodness embodied in Wisconsin – a place that loves diversity and family in the myriad forms it may be found.

  11. PJ says:


    Don’t confuse portraying Conservatives as Stormtroopers with discourse on Right Wing Extremism. Pointing out parallels is not claiming someone is a Nazi. To not recognize that Conservatives are dismantling government with typically Right Wing values and typically Right Wing tactics is not synonymous with calling someone a Nazi – as say, Allen West does. And try to remember Nazism didn’t end in 1945. NeoNazism is alive and well in the US and in Europe.

  12. Duane12 says:

    Lisa, for personal reasons I have never signed an online petition in my fifteen years of posting.

    I signed your petition today because Wisconsin is badly represented to an unprecedented level by those whose ideology is fiscally illogical and deceptive, immoral, unfair, homophobic, and which supports special and outside interests to the exclusion of a majority of Wisconsin citizens.

    They are led primarily by such as Scott Walker, J.B.Van Holland, the Fitzgerald brothers, Ron Johnson, Reince Priebus, Paul Ryan, and David Prosser.

    We do not need to add Tommy Thompson to this burdensome list.

    “Oh, the humanity!”

  13. CJ McD says:

    @jWayne- Signed it.

    Central WI
    CJ McD

  14. Other Side says:

    Heh. From 2007: “During a May 2007 debate, while he was running for president, Thompson said he believed private businesses should be able to fire employees because of their sexual orientation. Soon after, he said that was not his position and that he misspoke during the debate because his hearing aid was dead, he was sick and he urgently needed to go to the bathroom.”

    I wonder if he was also under the effect of anasthesia, like his friend Fred Dooley of Real Debate. Those conservatives are real good at backpedalling.

  15. […] on the Thompson campaign’s homophobic attacks on Tammy Baldwin Last week Lisa wrote about the nasty, gutter-style attacks being used against Democratic U.S. Senate candidate Tammy Baldwin by the campaign of Republican […]

  16. independent guy says:

    I agree that political “attacks” are not what citizens want or deserve, but, that’s American politics for ya. Understandably people get upset about it. But let’s keep things real. Both sides do this, not just one. The pot calling the kettle black and my crap doesn’t stink do not add value to the discussion either. It is all a distraction. Stay above the distraction.

    • Duane12 says:

      Are saying I should not express my outrage at a homophobic and misogynistic statement by Thompson?

      And your statement “Both sides do this…” is a false premise. Where and when did Baldwin make a “personal attack” on Thompson?

      • independent guy says:

        You may certainly express yourself. That is what I am doing also.
        All I am suggesting is for folks to hopefully keep things in perspective. There is campaign rhetoric flying from both/all sides, some more nasty than others, some percieved as more nasty than others. Since campaign rhetoric is not regulated and is designed to distort, scare and potentialy anger folks it should be largely disregarded as phony balony and not be taken seriously or personal. Easier said than done I know. I realize that one persons distraction may indeed be another persons issue, and, therefore be treated accordingly. American political behavior can be complex and frustrating, but, I just think cooler heads will prevail.

    • grumps says:

      It’s not both sides doing it. Those who are doing it would like you to believe that, though.

  17. PJ says:

    No, Dan. My argument is not that because Conservatives use propaganda and Nazis use propaganda Conservatives are Nazis. I’ve stated that drawing parallels is not a claim of Nazism. You’re insisting that I’m making a syllogism, and I’m not syllogizing at all. I am drawing parallels to illustrate the contours of Right Wing Extremism. Right Wing goals are embedded within Right Wing values. The same holds true for the Left. The politics of Nazism are part of a Right Wing spectrum, Nazism is at the extreme end of Right Wing Conservatism. Today’s Conservatives continue to push farther and farther to the right at an alarming pace. If we ignore how Right Wing Extremism impacts our politics as well as our society, we’d be foolish. My argument is today’s Conservatives – the GOP and its allies – are waging political warfare. Propaganda is one tool to accomplish that.

    Your Tea Party analogy is ridiculous. Tea Party comparisons to Stalinist Russia don’t enter into the realm of any serious critique. This can’t even be called criticism; Tea Partiers are operating out of ignorance, they do not draw parallels from historical reality. They instantiate revisionist falsehoods. They have no comprehension of Stalinist Russia and Soviet Communism, and they are embroiled in revisionist History. Rewriting history until it is unrecognizable is subversive propagandist methodology. Subversion is a dangerous line to cross. Subversion is not hyperbole. You err when you dismiss propaganda as you do.

    Hyperbolic political speech is one thing. A concerted propaganda campaign is quite another. All politicians engage in hyperbole and political speech, but political speech even in its most political sense isn’t propaganda. Propaganda is utilized for a single purpose. Political warfare. Propaganda subverts. Hyperbolic political speech doesn’t. It makes a more pleasing shape, but does not fundamentally alter reality; Propaganda does alter reality. Its foundations are false or barely true.

    But the point of drawing parallels isn’t to make a loose juxtaposition of propaganda, it is to illustrate Nazism’s rise to power in Germany, their destruction of the Weimar Republic and their subsumption of the German state. How did they do it? How did they achieve a totalitarian state? It didn’t happen overnight. And they did it legally by dismantling the government – shrinking the size of government, making it smaller, less responsive and less effective. And they did it by eliminating their enemies’ ability to maintain a political resistance against them. And that is precisely the Conservative strategy occurring now. Nazism subverted Democracy and used Democracy itself to destroy a republican government. Conservatives in America are doing the same thing now.

    It isn’t just propaganda use that is at issue, it is how those propaganda mechanisms are used. Today’s Conservatives use propaganda in the same way Hitler used it. I find that terribly disturbing. Here’s one for you; it was Hitler’s favorite, and it is a Tea Party favorite: Apodicticity. This little number you will find Ad Nauseum in Conservative propagandist media, in the rank and file, and of course among the elected. It means to assert that which is categorically true when it isn’t. JWayne demonstrated one form of apodictic when he implied that Tammy Baldwin’s values represented only Madison and Milwaukee’s values. Apodictic is a gross falsity, but a particularly effective one if scaled and if used incessantly. Mitt Romney is apodictic daily. When our political discourse has been so inundated with propaganda that the media ceases to adequately critique itself that is problematic, and it should give everyone pause because this is how a society moves into dysfunction.

    Another example is the commerce trope. The way this works is identifying a non-economic or invalid source of economic woe as an economic problem and singling it out for removal. Once it is eliminated the economic conditions will improve – or so the logic goes. Conservatives have used this tactic with unions, union members and the poor to great effect. Or to devastating effect depending on your perspective.

    Right Wing Extremists use projection devices in abundance – one of many devices critical for Hitler’s rise to power. Right Wing Extremism today: Scapegoating the Left as a whole, but also union members (again) and the poverty-stricken (again), the LGBT community, Muslims, academia, intellectuals, failing k-12 schools, teachers, immigrants, atheists, secularists, women… the list is pretty long. The excessive tendency for scapegoating I find to be among the most troubling features of contemporary Right Wing Extremism. If scapegoating attitudes are instilled and more serious economic conditions arise, I would become very fearful.

    Call the Tea Party innocuous if you will, but only after you attend their rallies and summits. At those gatherings you will find another rhetorical figure used, just in the way Hitler used it – demonization of a common enemy, one who is hell bent on obliterating all that is good and pure and righteous in America. Herman Cain, Allen West, and True the Vote are fine examples of this when they speak of the Left, Obama, and the dastardly fraudulent voter. With this rhetorical enemy they also apply the Weimar Thesis – the decadence of Weimar culture is paralleled with current revisionist history that insists the decadence of the 1960s is the source of America’s cultural decline. Again, it is not only that propaganda is being used – that shouldn’t be dismissed at all to begin with – but it is how propaganda is being used.

    Right Wing Values: As I’ve said the politics of Nazism are part of a Right Wing spectrum. To simply ignore that spectrum is idiocy, especially given the massive distortions Conservatives have employed to rewrite history outside of historical method or political science. To assume that those Right Wing values spontaneously generated out of Weimar liberalism is insanity. The rise of Nazism was a long program designed to systematically instill those values. The Tea Party agenda is doing just the same, and have stated their goal as such – reclaiming every aspect of American politics, government, and culture from Liberality.

    Yes, today’s Right Wing Conservatives do have very much the same goals as those of Nazism’s rise to power. That doesn’t make the Tea Party Nazis, but it does situate them on the Right Wing spectrum and it puts them closer rather than farther from the extreme end.

  18. CJ McD says:

    Doesn’t anyone else recall all the posters depicting Obama with a mustacha and swatika’s behind him? The one’s depicting him as a nazi…..

    I think that should be enough to redirect back the topic of Thompson’s personal attacks on Baldwin and end the who started it first kettle/pot crapola. Don’t you?

  19. PJ says:

    And another thing, Nazism wasn’t a populist movement. It was never thoroughly statist, it was never Marxist, and it never rejected Capitalism. Like Tea Party radicalism it was astroturfed from the top down by the wealthy elite invested in finance and industry. It favored a meritorious few whom it identified as the source of national wealth and identity. Only those elite benefited from that telescoped structure. I’ll grant you this, Dan, empty accusations of Nazism are unworthy of our political discourse, and I’m not familiar with Lena Taylor’s accusation so I can’t speak to it. But what you propose is a false equivalency of the worst kind. I’m not a fan of the Democratic Party at this point in time, but they are not initiating political warfare, the GOP is. Political warfare is not the same thing as “loyal opposition” nor is there any equivalence between it and divisive politics. Political warfare is of entirely separate order which is deeply hostile and persecutive. Parallels alone are not enough, I agree with you there, but parallels reveal structural patterns. It is those structural patterns, not merely specific goals and outcomes that need our attention.

  20. SuzyMetta4 says:

    I like the idea of turning the “heartland values” back on Tommy. Tammy should air a commercial that says, “who is the real heartland fink – an openly gay person with a stable personal life, or a heterosexual who is notorious for extramarital affairs”?

    You only complain about ethics and standards in politics when you don’t have any red meat to exploit. In this case, we do.

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