It’s got to be Obey! Really?

Third Coast Digest editor Jon Anne Willow has had enough of the intrigue over which Democrat will run against Scott walker in the gubernatorial recall election. Call it now, she says: it’s got to be Obey!

Willow gives her rationale for Obey as the candidate, writing, ” He was an unapologetic Democrat elected 21 times in a row by a majority Republican constituency in the 7th Congressional district. In fact, his seat had been previously held by Democrats for only four of the prior 96 years since its creation.”  In other words, apparently, Obey is liked and respected by Republicans as evidenced by the fact that they elected him to Congress for 41 straight years. So the 7th CD is a Republican leaning district? Hmmmm.

Except that Obey himself has described the 7th Congressional district as progressive. And the same, supposedly, Republican majority constituency that elected Dave Obey to Congress has, over the last 40 years,  also elected Democrats Bob Jauch, Russ Decker, Kevin Shibilski, Julie Lassa, Pat Kreitlow, Marlin Schneider, Frank Boyle, Mary Hubler, Donna Seidel, Louis Molepske, Janet Bewley, Nick Milroy, Gary Sherman, and Ann Hraychuck to the Wisconsin state legislature. And there are likely some names I’ve missed.

There’s no doubt that a case can be made for Obey as the Democratic candidate to face Walker, but the notion that he’s a Democrat liked and respected by Republicans is mighty short on evidence. In fact, it’s mostly just a notion.



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24 thoughts on “It’s got to be Obey! Really?

  1. Better Obey than Herb Kohl, who was an avid supporter of the so-called “Bankruptcy Reform” act that has prevented so many working people from digging their way out of this Republican economic disaster.
    I sent Herb an email expressing my opposition to the proposed legislation and received back a highly condescending response from his staff. He is emblematic of the rich Democrats whose financial moral superiority compels them to reflexively stab working people in the back.

  2. I also favor Dave Obey. Kathleen Falk, while attractive, has lost twice in recent state-wide elections. Plus she’ll get savaged by the outside $$$ and probably can’t make a dent in the rural areas of the state. Barrett is a nice fellow, but tepid. He also just lost to Walker in a miserably run campaign. I don’t want a repeat.

    Obey would actually be a “new” state wide candidate. His track reocrd is progressive. Plus, wouldn’t you just drool to see the Minister’s college drop-out son stammer in debates against “take no prisoner’s” Obey.

    1. Obey doesn’t have the temperament to be governor, he’s not as progressive as his book title would have you believe, and the general sentiment amongst those in the 7th CD other than his cult like fan club is that he turned tail and ran away from the election in 2010, which was a huge mistake on his part.

      If Obey had stood his ground and lost to Sean Duffy I’d have a lot more respect for him. A lot of us up here think he would have won.

      His devotees in the northwoods like to say he never lost an election, which is true, with a caveat.

      By comparison, heavyweight boxer Rocky Marciano never lost a fight, but he also never walked away from a title bout.

  3. So who do you think should run, if not David Obey? Kathleen Falk? Tom Barrett?

  4. According to the Cook PVI, the 7th Congressional district is +3 Democratic. Obviously that stands to change depending on redistricting, so it’s not entirely unlikely that the district will end up being a majority Republican district.

  5. The Out State areas are more likely to elect Obey than anyone else in a recall. He may be a more conservative liberal, but he is better than Walker and more appealing to the northern part of the state.

  6. He was an unapologetic Democrat…

    Before which he was an unapologetic Republican.

    …elected 21 times in a row by a majority Republican constituency in the 7th Congressional district.

    Which has a PVI of D+3.

    Jon Anne Willow is obviously a very serious, well informed individual.

    1. Obey’s seat has been held by 4 Democrats and 13 Republicans in the 96 years since its creation. Look at the overall PVI however you want, but when I look at Obey’s seat in the 7th, I see purple. And Obey was raised in a Republican household, but became a Dem early in his life. Then again, what would I know, JCG? I am clearly neither as serious nor well-informed as you, though at least I use my real name when I have something to contribute.

      1. Jon Anne,

        The wikipedia link you provided says the district was created in 1873, which would make the district almost 139 years old, not 96.

        From 1873 until a progressive held the seat from 1935 until 1939, the word republican meant something quite different than it does today.

        And Melvin Laird would be run out of todays Republican party without a chance to even explain himself.

        Your initial argument, that Obey is our man because republicans like and respect him, is seriously, seriously flawed.

        Best move on to something else.

    2. Trying again, as my earlier comment mysteriously disappeared from this string…

      In response to JCG: Obey was raised a Republican, but turned blue by the time he was 18. That counts? Hardly seems fair.

      Second, the 7th has an overall PVI of D+3. But that’s a number based solely the 110th Congress from the 2004 and 2008 presidential elections, derived from the party of the Representative in the seat. Which was Obey.

      When I look at the 7th Congressional district, I see purple. Republicans held the seat for over 90 of the 96 years years since its creation. Obey, according to your link, IS the reason that House seat has a PVI of D+3, which doesn’t exactly disprove my point.

      Your sloppy condescension serves nobody well in these critical times, nor does your lack of willingness to use your real name. Healthy disagreement is the cornerstone of democracy, as evidenced by Steve’s well-articulated refutation of some parts of my original article. But taking the low and easy road does nothing to move real dialog forward.

      1. We can have healthy disagreement on opinions, but not the facts.

        PVI is calculated with the Presidential vote in any respective district, not the congressional vote. If you want to argue that Obey holding that seat caused Republicans to vote for Kerry and Obama for president (a highly implausible hypothesis, at least in the vast numbers that would require), you need to provide the evidence and research for such a leap-of-faith claim. Otherwise, you’re clearly flailing now. (And PS – the word you were looking for was ‘plurality’, not ‘majority’; at least I hope – otherwise you’re more silly than originally suspected).

        And since WI doesn’t have party registration, it’s apparent that we can either use that lone bit of measurable data we have (PVI), or we can “go with the gut” as you’re doing. I choose facts and data without apology.

        Yes, I’m guilty of not suffering fools. So sue me. Zach and Ed know who I am and where to find me, and you can feel free to get my email addy from them.

        But given the choice, I can sleep much better at night making pseudonymous comments rooted in facts rather than attaching my name to opinions “backed” by anecdotal (and false) assertions made up out of whole cloth to fit a narrative. Your sloppy analysis serves nobody. Though you would fit in well in the mainstream media with that type of game, so there’s a bright side for you, I suppose.

      2. And PS – what really drives me nuts about your comment is the hollier-than-thou attitude. We’re apparently not allowed to call you out on this, because it’s “divisive in such a critical time”. But your entire column at TCG (Bad Democrat) seems to be based on the tired premise of a lefty criticizing the left.

        F- that – if you can’t take it, don’t dish it.

      3. Your comment didn’t “mysteriously disappear;” all first-time comments are moderated and yours somehow ended up getting caught in our spam filter. It’s been posted now.

      1. Jon Anne,

        Thanks for stopping by. I live in the 7th CD so your article was of considerable interest to me.

        I’d note also that the republicans went to great lengths to redraw this district in Duffy’s favor, cutting out Portage County and Chippewa Falls, Dem strongholds both, and adding St. Croix County, a republican stronghold, and they’re still worried about Duffy’s chances in 2012.

        There are portions of the far northwestern part of the district that actually lean Green.

        The key to winning this district for the Dems is to field an unapologetic, well defined, populist Democrat who can bring all the cranky, stubborn, independently minded northwoods progressives to the Party and the polls.

        Playing to the middle is a formula for defeat, and can leave the impression that the district leans republican.

          1. Thanks for the compliment…not sure I’ve earned it…but I hope you enjoy your holiday…say hi to Mr. Strini!

  7. I am ok with Obey IF he takes a strong Democrat like Cory Mason as his Lieutenant Governor to give them a solid advantage for the next race.

    doug lafollette has talked about running and so has Tony Evers. I like both of them over Barrett/Cullen or Kind. Maybe now that Ben nelson is retiring Kind can move to Nebraska and run for Senate. Jus sayin….

    1. I am not sure the recall works the same as the general elections…we are circulating separate petitions for governor and lt. governor. It’s conceivable that we get enough signatures for one and not the other and only vote for one office. So it seems if both efforts reach their goal for signatures we may be voting individually for the offices and could have a split ticket in the exec offices after the elections.

  8. I’ve said this before, but PLEASE NO RETREADS OR SENIOR CITIZENS. The fire for this recall comes from the grassroots and the base, and you don’t want to mess with that inn any way. It’s why doing the recall as soon as they could was the wise thing to do, and nominating a 2-time loser like Barrett or Falk would kill a lot of that fire. So would nominating an old, uninspiring type like Kohl or La Follette, and even Obey is past his time (he’d be great on the stump, however).

    Your best choices are new blood and stars of February like Barca or Erpenbach, and Ron Kind is also a good choice for winnability as well as the ability to replace him with a strong progressive in the 3rd CD.

    Regardless, there should be a primary, to bring attention to the Dems in the race, and to let the voters decide who the candidate will be. Not doing so in 2010 was a big mistake in both here and in the 7th CD, and the D.C. and DPW should be smart enough to recognize that by letting the people have ultimate control will mean the people will be more likely to choose them over the oligarch-sucking Walker.

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