Wisconsin Progressives Need To Make Up Their Mind

After Mary Burke announced her candidacy for governor in 2013, the pundits and progressives across the blogosphere and social media were heard weeping, whining and gnashing their teeth about the hand picked candidate of the Democratic Party of Wisconsin. Everyone wanted anyone but the anointed Ms. Burke.

Some of us suggested that those unhappy should recruit their own candidate. Dozens of names of other elected officials were bandied about in hopes they could be coaxed to run. Russ Feingold, Peter Barca, etc. Finally Brett Hulsey threw his hat and fake confederate uniform in the ring and a primary season circus was on.

And the progressives lamented that the party was preventing other candidates to enter the fray…and doing everything possible to clear the way for Ms. Burke. Maybe…maybe not. But my guess is most other elected officials didn’t want to get involved in the lost cause of unseating the incumbent, Governor Scott Walker. Probably a wise move…but I digress a bit.

Of course the loss to Governor Walker is wholly the fault of a forced candidate picked by the party.

And just over a week ago there was the meet and greet with a question and answer period for three of the four candidates for chair of the DPW. Zach posted a few comments about this event earlier.

During the event more than a few attendees complained that the party didn’t recruit enough qualified candidates across the state. That the 72 county strategy was a failure because the party didn’t recruit a democrat to oppose the GOP candidate every available race in 2014. Hmmmm.

So, first the candidate perceived to have been recruited by the party to run for governor was tainted because she was recruited by the party? But across the state the party didn’t recruit candidates? Recruit or not recruit?

Wisconsin progressives, you gotta make up your mind!

Root River Siren says farewell to the Cheddarsphere

This is so true…

“When a college drop-out with 6 friends and staff members found guilty of corruption wins against a Harvard graduate from a proud Wisconsin family with global name recognition – there is simply no amount of snark or cleverness to make sense of this reality.

No photoshop magic can make it palatable or amusing.”

I enjoyed reading Root River Siren over the years, and I’m sad to see her go. Wisconsin’s progressives need all the help they can get right now, given the state of things here in Wisconsin.

Republican State Rep. Scott Krug threatens to sue blogger for libel

As reported by Jessica VanEgeren of the CapTimes, Republican State Rep. Scott Krug is threatening to sue blogger Michael Leon of MAL Contends after Krug’s feelings were hurt by by a piece Leon wrote regarding efforts by Rep. Krug to support a proposed confined animal feeding operation, or CAFO, that will have at least 1,000 animal units on a property, as well as what is perceived as a “too cozy” relationship between Krug and the Dairy Business Association (DBA), a lobbying group that many citizens believe is actively working to take away the rights of communities to regulate pollution of their waterways.

Here’s the portion of Leon’s blog post that Rep. Krug had his feelings hurt about.

In the Wood and northern Adams counties where the beaches are now closed, State Rep. Scott Krug (R-Wisconsin Rapids and ALEC) still plays his cynical, corrupt game providing political cover for the polluters and assisting Scott Walker, Walker’s DNR and the Dairy Business Association in their project in which one objective is to contaminate and literally toxify Wisconsin lakes and other waters—which means your families’ health is the cost of doing business.

A great post-primary review of two SE Wisconsin races

With the partisan primary elections officially largely in the books (with a few races left to recounts), there’s no shortage of post-primary reviews. This post-primary review from the Root River Siren is definitely worth a read, as it breaks down the race between Democrats Rob Zerban and Amar Kaleka in the 1st Congressional district, as well as the race between Republicans Van Wanggaard and Jonathan Steitz in the 21>sup>st State Senate district.

Here’s a snippet from Root River Siren’s review.

The two biggest primary races in SE Wisconsin yesterday, Zerban v. Kaleka and Wanggaard v. Steitz, proved in the end, to be a tempest in a teapot.

Both upstart candidates got a shellacking.

With nearly the same spread – Zerban besting Kaleka with 78% of the vote and Wanggaard sending Stietz home with 71% – the better known guys strolled to the finish line.

While both losers could not be further apart in ideology, their campaigns shared one similar trait: big mouths, little juice.

The Kaleka campaign was quixotic from the start. Candidate, Amar Kaleka, declined advice from experienced folks in the district, focusing on gimmicks and swag instead of campaign fundamentals. He had plenty of high quality,YouTube videos (film production is his trade), billboards and buttons and bracelets galore – but not much in the way of a ground game plan outside of running his campaign through a network of his family’s gas stations.

3000 doors?

The left leaning Cheddarsphere and social media in Wisconsin are all a twitter after Mike Tate released his statement that Wisconsin voters don’t care about the allegations of a Walker controlled ” criminal scheme “contained in the John Doe II document dump. People are outraged that Tate would say such a thing, but the real outrage in Tate’s statement isn’t a seeming indifference to the allegations against Walker, but rather his remarks that the Burke campaign knocked on 3,000 doors. What’s outrageous about that?

In this particular instance Burke and Tate got it right. Last Saturday was supposed to be a statewide canvass reaching out to the drop-off voters Burke will need to win in November. We know there are plenty enough of them to defeat Walker, as evidenced by the Obama/Baldwin win in 2012. We also know that the single most effective method of persuading voters to come out is through face to face contact, hence the attempt by the Burke campaign to organize a canvass to find and talk to them.

The outrage here is that, relatively speaking, almost no one showed up to do the work. 3,000 doors? That’s it? Across the entire state? After 3 1/2 years of Scott Walker in office we can’t find enough canvassers to cover more than 3,000 doors across the entire state of Wisconsin? Now that’s outrageous.

We’ve got all kinds of people who are willing to sing songs in the rotunda, camp and pow wow in the Penokee Hills, stand on bridges with signs, post damning articles on facebook and the blogs, attend monthly party meetings, go to see a left leaning documentary film or hear a left leaning speaker at the local library, but no one wants to grab some flyers and talk to their neighbors about why it’s so very, very important to the future of Wisconsin that we defeat Scott Walker in November?

Forget about Tate, the DPW, Mary Burke, John Doe, whomever or whatever, for now. There’s nothing more important to the future of this state than defeating Scott Walker in November. Nothing. And if you’re too tired, too demoralized ( poor thing ) too busy, or just plain too squeamish to do the work necessary to defeat him, then we deserve him for another four years.

John Doe isn’t going to ride to our rescue in November. It’s going to be up to you and me. So I suggest we all get off of our asses and get at it. And after we’ve defeated Walker we can start talking about what to do with Mike Tate and Mary Burke.


Waukesha Wonk shutting down

Some disappointing news from within the Cheddarsphere, as Lisa Mux of Waukesha Wonk has announced she’s shutting her blog down for good, though it appeares she’ll still be maintaining her presence on Twitter.

Here’s what Lisa wrote regarding her decision to retire from blogging.

Unlike many of my fellow progressive activists, I was not jolted into action when Gov. Scott Walker “dropped the bomb” with his 2011 Act 10 legislation. Rather, I became politically active around 1999 when I realized that George W. Bush could actually become president of the United States. Gov. Walker’s Tea Party extremism was, however, the impetus for my political blogging. But after two-and-a-half years, it’s time for me to say farewell to Waukesha Wonk.

The reason is simple: political blogging has ceased to bring me joy. Life is too short to spend your free time doing things that don’t bring about some level of joy.

Additionally, I find the tone of the political discourse of late to be disconcerting, and I’m not talking about the Republicans. Recent incidents and behavior by some on my own “side” have prompted me to question things.

Lisa’s decision to shut down her blog is a loss for the lefties in the Cheddarsphere. She’s an excellent writer, and she worked hard to stay “above the fray” that so often includes personal attacks, bomb-throwing, and nastiness, and I hope she reconsiders her decision at some point in the near future.

(Updated) Anyone who suggests WI Democrats should sit on their hands in 2014 is misguided

UPDATE: While I had initially referred to those who might “sit out” the 2014 gubernatorial election as a form of protest against the Democratic Party of Wisconsin as morons, it’s been pointed out that my rhetoric was overly harsh and inflammatory.

It’s no secret that I’m not a fan of having a Democratic gubernatorial candidate foisted on me by the Democratic Party establishment without a meaningful primary. However unlike some on the left here in Wisconsin who’ve declared that they absolutely will not support Mary Burke if she’s the Democratic gubernatorial nominee, I absolutely will not sit on my hands in 2014 and not do anything to help beat Gov. Scott Walker.

While some have suggested Democrats in Wisconsin “hold all donations, or money that you had planned on giving the democratic party in protest of your voice not being heard” in 2014, I think that’s absolutely the wrong mentality to have heading into a critical election year, and it won’t do a bit of good in the grand scheme of things. Regardless of who ends up as the Democratic gubernatorial nominee in 2014 (with or without a Democratic primary), we’re going to need all hands on deck in order to beat Scott Walker. Anyone who suggests the left should sit out the 2014 election in order to “send a message” or as a protest to the Democratic Party of Wisconsin is seriously misguided, and anyone who actually does sit out the 2014 won’t be doing anything but helping Scott Walker win reelection.

Mary Burke may not be a “perfect” Democrat (then again, neither is Kathleen Vinehout), but if she does end up as the Democratic gubernatorial nominee and our only alternative is another four years of the anti-union, anti-middle class, anti-women, anti-public education policies of Scott Walker, then I’ll do what I can to help her get elected.

Congratulations to Cognitive Dissidence!

Last week I noted that Blogging Blue had been named as one of the best state-based political blogs by the Washington Post’s The Fix blog, and so I’d be remiss if I didn’t note that Cognitive Dissidence has been added to that list. Chris and his fellow contributors at Cognitive Dissidence do some great work, and this is a much-deserved honor.

However, I think there are a bunch of absolutely great blogs here in Wisconsin that weren’t recognized, and I’d encourage anyone reading this to peruse the blogs on our blogroll, as all are well worth a read.

Fill the information void, Give Sly The Mic

By now you may have heard about the grassroots movement currently underway to return John “Sly” Sylvester to the airwaves after WTDY silenced him last week. “Give Sly The Mic” is an attempt to persuade the powers that be at The Mic 92.1 to give Sly his own show, so that Wisconsin Progressives can continue to have a voice. Here are the details:

Tell 92.1 to Give Sly the Mic!

CALL: 608-274-5450
EMAIL: TimScott@clearchannel.com
The Mic needs Sly because:
  • Workers need a voice on the public airwaves fighting for them.
  • Small businesses that take good care of their employees depend on Sly’s loyal fan base.
  • Sly and his listeners give progressives the support they need to stand up to Scott Walker.
As a political blogger, I have gotten a lot of important information through livestreaming and listening to podcasts of Sly’s show on WTDY (and nobody interviews Glenn Grothman quite like Sly!). It has been less than a week, and I am already feeling the information void caused by Sly’s absence.
As a middle class Wisconsinite, I have appreciated the way that Sly has stood up for the rights of working class people, holding politicians on both sides of the aisle accountable for their words and actions, oftentimes angering even those on the left.
Sure, Sly has made my blood boil at times with some of the things that he has said, and I don’t always agree with him or like his bombastic style. But every time I have contacted him, he has been willing to listen, which says a lot about who he is as a person.
For these reasons and more, I stand in solidarity with Sly. I ask that you do the same. 
CALL: 608.274.5450 and tell the Mic:
  •  I strongly urge you to put Sly in the Morning on your airwaves as soon as possible.
  •  I support Sly in the Morning and his sponsors because he is a life-long Wisconsinite who provides an entertaining, insightful perspective that can’t be found anywhere else.
  •  I would become an eager 92.1 listener and supporter if you decide to add Sly to your lineup.

Gov. Walker’s conjured jobs numbers were not actually confirmed by the BLS

I’ll give Fred Dooley credit….he’ll believe anything that comes out of the mouth of a Republican, whether it’s actually based in reality or not.

Not one for fact-checking, Dooley saw fit to attack Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett in a recent blog entry, claiming the jobs numbers conjured up by Republican Gov. Scott Walker’s administration were confirmed by President Barack Obama’s Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). As proof that Gov. Walker’s conjured jobs numbers were confirmed by the BLS, Dooley cited a Milwaukee Journal Sentinel article in which Department of Workforce Development spokesman John Dipko (clearly not an unbiased source) said the Washington-based agency confirmed Wisconsin added 23,608 jobs in 2011.

The only problem with Dipko’s statement? It’s not true. As has been reported by Jud Lounsbury at Uppity Wisconsin, Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) Communications Director Gary Steinberg was reached by phone and issued the following comment on whether Gov. Walker’s conjured jobs numbers had been confirmed by the BLS:

“The Bureau can not comment on the fourth quarter numbers because they haven’t been released. I can say that we would not have confirmed the numbers yet, but would only have confirmed the methods used.

We can’t confirm fourth quarter or later data and would not have confirmed it to the governor’s office either.”

While the point might be lost on some, confirming a method and confirming a number are two completely different things.