(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.


Related Articles

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

  1. I agree that sitting out the election and not voting Dem is beyond idiotic in 2014. Walker and the WisGOP leggies have to go down and go down hard. And you won’t need to convince us to cast that ballot.

    However, if Mike Tate and company want to make the choice for Dem voters who the candidate for governor is, I don’t see why we should feel obligated to take the extra step to give money and/or time to that candidate, since apparently our input doesn’t matter much anyway. I might choose to throw my efforts downticket and/or into Congress instead with candidates that are worth that effort.

    THIS is why we need to have a relatively open primary. Show me that the Dem candidate believes in things that we believe in and have that person EARN the nomination, and a whole lot more of us will be willing to work with him/her.

  2. Zach, what really concerns me about all of this is that Scott Walker already has an opponent, a Pirate Party candidate by the name of Francis Klein, who is the kind of person who could appeal to the hand-wringer types who don’t like Burke, which would probably give Walker a victory with less than 50% of the vote.

    I’d write several blog posts in support of Mary Burke if she is the Democratic nominee in the 2014 Wisconsin gubernatorial race, although I would obviously like to see an activist-type win the Democratic nomination.

  3. I know you won’t like it. You can delete it if you want. But i have a size 14 Wide shoe that will fit in Russ Feingolds backside !

  4. This is a symptom of the monster the Democratic Party created. Many members of the Dem party believe that everyone should be happy all of the time. Member “This cause is the most important to me”. The Party “It’s just as important to us”. So everybody becomes complacent with being happy, because there is never any messaging from the party that ever proves otherwise. Then comes a candidate that you disagree with, lets say 10% of the time on issues(Nobody can say that about Mary Burke, because 99% of the state doesn’t even know her or what she stands for), it becomes something for them to completely turn against the candidate. Attention fellow Dems. The only person you will see eye to eye with better than 90% is YOU, and sometimes even that is a stretch. Is Mary Burke the person I want as our candidate today? No. Do I agree with 100% of the time with the potential candidate I favor (Kathleen Vinehout)? No. Will I help her campaign if she becomes the nominee? Yes.

    1. Unlike the GOP which votes lockstep with the wishes of the parasitic rich, the democrats do not have that benefit. We must carry the mantle of the poor, minorities, gays, workers and the disenfranchised. A broad coalition of competing interests. None of which have any real power or money. The unions helped balance that power. If there is no movement with this union issue on Act 10, I will not vote for her. Probably better to let the teaparty maintain control. This is their fuck up let them own it. If the dems elect a republican lite, the propagandy machine will project all of the GOPs miserable failures onto the democratic party. Almost every dummy in this state believes that Jim Doyle created the 3.5 billion dollar deficit. No sorry they own this trainwreck and if she does not come out as a union supporter, no support from me.

      1. “Better to let the tea party maintain control”? Did you vote for Obama for reelection? I did. Do you see him being pro labor? I don’t. His walking shoes never made it out of the shoe store.

        1. Doug’s exactly right. Whatever happened to the Employee Free Choice Act that Obama said he’d work to pass? That died a quick death, and Obama has done little else to prove to me that he’s as much a friend to labor as he claims to be.

          That being said, he’s certainly better than the alternatives.

          1. President Obama wants to cut Social Security benefits. When he proposed doing that, he “dropped the bomb” on the very people who helped get him elected.

            Obama’s not a progressive, and I’ve always known him as a political operator (as an Illinoisan, I can remember when Obama was an Illinois State Senator from Chicago).

  5. One point to consider in what is now the state’s process of choosing major party candidates by primary ballot: Thanks to open primaries, the process is increasingly gamed by both sides but especially by the GOP, which in the past couple of years has reinvented and expanded the tactic of inserting false-flag candidates into Democratic primaries.

    There’s little chance a fake Democrat (i.e., real Republican) could somehow actually best actual Democrats in a statewide primary (although, in an officially non-partisan race for Milwaukee County sheriff, that’s exactly how the crazed David Clarke took office). However, by crossover voting, Republicans could ensure that the weakest Democratic candidate (by their reckoning, anyway) would represent the party in the general.

    I’m not saying it’s ideal for Mike Tate and the party elders to anoint a candidate in advance of any election, but neither is it entirely wrong-headed, given the current state of politics in Wisconsin. Situational ethics are sometimes unavoidable.

    I’m agnostic on the best Democratic gubernatorial candidate right now, among the actual possibilities, but I’m still waiting for anyone to tell me why, beyond purely process issues, Burke would make a bad candidate. Sure, Walker is already flogging her for being a Doyle appointee, but she can come right back and talk about HER leadership at the old Commerce Department compared to Walker-bred leadership at his successor Wisconsin Economic Development Corp. She’s business-savvy, has served in government, is a woman (yay!) and has financial resources, all pluses. And the biggest plus, true for most Democrats: She’s not Scott Walker, and would be tons better for the state, on that basis alone. Please remember that, everyone.

    1. Your last paragraph exactly sums up where I’m at. Putting aside my issues with how the process is playing out, I haven’t made up my mind if Burke is worth supporting or not, simply because I don’t know enough about here. Sure, I’ve heard a little bit here and there, but I need to know more before I can decide if she’s not worth supporting.

        1. Mary Burke has been meeting with union leaders (http://www.wispolitics.com/index.iml?Article=303108). So far as I can gather (basic Google research), she hasn’t had too much criticism from unions.

          The main criticism is her support for school “reforms,” which makes teachers weary. But the types of reforms she supports don’t do too much damage — for example, she doesn’t support the kind of reforms that Scott Walker has thrown out, such as voucher expansion state-wide. And when it was clear that a Madison charter school wouldn’t have school board oversight, she withdrew her support of it.

          It seems like she’s a middle-of-the-road Democrat who wants to fix things with moderate changes, but not extreme moves that would hurt people. Her personal commitment to people who are struggling during this economic downturn is extremely admirable, and I think that if people knew just how much she’s done for the poor in Madison they’d be more open to her.

          I agree that the party shouldn’t be thrusting her upon us so hard, but Burke should be investigated further. Let’s have a primary, if more candidates show up to it, and let’s look at all the candidates. She might be the right person for all of Wisconsin, one that would bring a coalition of Democrats and moderates, maybe even some Republicans, to replace Walker next year. But again, we need to see who is going to jump in first, and make judgments after that.

          1. And by the way, as one of the few people on this blog who actually has voted for Mary Burke, I find her also to be middle of the road and sensitive to union needs (even if MTI’s John Matthews tried to prop up someone against her), and she certainly would stand against vouchers and charters that try to circumvent union rules. She gets that poverty is a main factor in school performance (up or down), and so at least she’s grounded in reality, which would make her an improvement over the WisGOP dingbats.

            But she’s also not very open about ending the corruption and inequality that is the biggest problem this state (and country) faces. Which is why I want to see her prove herself in a primary, and respond to criticism, and meet with voters. I am open to persuasion on Burke, but the backroom way she seems to be going about this bothers me, as does the unspoken message that she wants the field cleared for her. That’s not usually the way we roll in this party unless you’ve proven it like a Feingold or a Baldwin have.

        2. Mary Burke would be an alternative to Scott Walker – I didn’t say how good an alternative she would be.

          As I noted, there’s a lot about her policy positions that I don’t know yet, so I can’t make an informed decision until I know more.

        3. I’ve heard that she insists on union workers on projects using her or her company’s funds, but I have had no reliable confirmation either denying or confirming these accounts.

  6. And Senator Vinehout has just made a statement that she will not be making an announcement about whether or not she will run until January. Thanks from those of us beyond reliable broadcast TV range challenged citizens.


    Zachary, many of us engage here for various reasons and as you already are asking important and timely enough questions which regularly generate some very informed and decent comments and responses, injecting the superfluous pot-stirring of calling people morons, for what purpose, I am not sure. Am I seeing deliberately inflammatory invective which IMHO is not necessarily conducive to thoughtful discussion, but likely to draw blog hits, eh?

    1. nonquixote, criticize my words all you want, but they’re my words – my opinion.

      Anyone who sits on their hands in 2014 as a “protest” isn’t helping anything, and I think anyone who does that and risks letting Gov. Walker have another term is a moron.

      1. I said nothing about your right to express your opinion, I asked a question, for what purpose, and followed with another IMHO, mine, and ending that sentence with a question mark. I appreciate your responding and your answer. Very generous of you to update the blog intro so quickly.

        IMO, drawing the blanket distinction and description of political particpants, as you did in the initial post title makes for fallacious assumptions about other ways that those who might think the DPW leadership is a joke, or might be avoiding official party support for seeing them as being out of touch with a large, small, “d,” leaning base (or as I have expressed previously, DPW should break from the national D’s to gain some sorely needed populist credibility), doesn’t automatically define who might or might not be committed to working diligently to oust Walker or that supporting the DPW or official D strategy, per se, with money and time, is necessary to accomplishing that goal.

        It’s akin to the current MSM meme focusing on Syria and seemingly being unable to discuss any other serious options besides bombing them or not bombing them, to show how “serious,” we are and how our Emperor is actually fully clothed. Nobody in leadership has any other possible solutions or responses? Bomb or not bomb targets likely protected by forced human shields or targets already housed in civilian populations, civilians unable to exit the mess in their own country? What could go wrong?

        DPW: Where populist ideas go to die. Don’t take that as purely absolutist, I am able to recognize the few exceptions to the rule.

    2. As for your comment about “drawing blog hits,” I don’t ever choose my words based on what’s most likely to draw blog hits – I simply write what’s on my mind. If that draws readers here, then so be it, and if not, I’m fine with that.

        1. Zach you now join the ranks of wiggy and sunny Schuster in ripping on me but refusing to name me. I’m glad you took time from playing the victim for being criticized for partnering with Orville Seymour to rip on me.

          I stand by what I said. If we are forced to have Burke as our only candidate I recommend picking a downticket candidate to fight for who actually fights for you.

          1. Jeff, let’s be clear: I don’t consider myself a victim. You and your friend Chris Liebenthal have made it abundantly clear what you think of me (and others, for that matter), and you’re entitled to your opinion.

            However, since you came here to comment, I just want to let it be known that I regret that I sank to Chris’ level to engage in personal attacks; that was wrong of me, and it won’t happen again. I’ve come to the realization that there are some (you and Chris being examples) who are going to continue to attack, and that’s fine. I’m not going to spend my time worrying about what you have to say.

            1. If you think your above the fray that’s cute but not true. It wasn’t Chris or I that made fun of cappers appearance and talked about him in a capt amber can costume was it.

              The whole capper/ Zach feud gives me a headache. I have tried to stay out of it despite your efforts to drag me in. What it really boils down to though is one side sided with CRG and one side sided with Jason Haas. I’ll stand with Jason and against crg every day of the week.

              I’ve actually never personally attacked you, even when you kicked me off the blog. I just moved on and even endorsed you in your race.

              If you want to follow the party line and compromise your values, more power to you.

              If you want to keep playing the victim and never be challenged go ahead but your actions have been much closer to wiggies than any progressive I know.

              1. Jeff, as I wrote in my earlier comment, I regret that I sunk to that level. Those types of comments do no good, and I’ve learned a valuable lesson. As far as I’m concerned you and Chris can say/write whatever you want, but I’m done with this pointless argument with you both.

                Thanks for your comments.

    1. Eh, me calling you an idiot doesn’t solve anything.

      For the record, I don’t think you’re an idiot, and you’re right that I can’t prove she’s not anti-union, though I hope that any candidate who’s being helped so much by the Democratic Party of Wisconsin would be pro-union.

      I think we all just need to wait to hear more from her before we jump to conclusions about what she’s for or against, or whether she’s a good candidate or not.

      1. No harm. I was wrong (dang no edit) I meant I didn’t take offense to being called a moron as per the original headline.
        I agree with the sentiment about jumping to conclusions. I’ll wait till accurate information is available. However I will not vote for a democratic governor that isn’t pro union. Normally just being neutral on unions would be enough. These aren’t normal times. Being neutral on the union issue is complicit with the lies of omission that Walker committed to push through his divisive and hurtful policies.

  7. In addition to the Governors Race, do Democrats have any candidates running for Attorney General?

    Democrats had a big year at the top of the Ticket for Obama and Baldwin in 2012 but did poor in the state legislative elections. I plan on helping out as always, but Democrats need to have an efficient field plan.

      1. Lena Taylor is the only name from the State Legislature I came up with who is possible. The best option would be if Russ Feingold wanted to pull a Mike Dewine of Ohio or a Jerry Brown of California and run for Attorney General.

        Peg Lautenschlager running at this point would at least make the Republicans spend some money and her dirt is further in the past now.

        I really do not know if we have a lawyer in private practice who would like to run. Finding a candidate who could run for Governor or Senator down the road is ideal.

        1. Barbara Lawton is another possible candidate for Attorney General or even Governor. In hindsight, had she run in 2010 for Governor she would have done just as good as Barrett if not better. She is a candidate who most of the activists like and the attack ads coming from Republicans against her could help her more than hurt her.

          1. I could be wrong, but doesn’t the Attorney General have to have a license to practice law? I ask because Barbara Lawton doesn’t have a law degree and isn’t licensed to practice law in Wisconsin.

            1. You are right, her degree in law is honorary. Not sure on the legality but running a candidate with a law degree is a must.

  8. Zach, while I agree anything is better than Walker, I am still at a loss for how we move the Democrats back to the left if we don’t vote against right wing Democrats. If Ms. Burke’s policies are all like her vote on teacher raises, I can’t see her being a real progressive, but I agree we need to hear and see more to make that determination. But if she isn’t, and we keep supporting the lesser of two evils options, how do we ever make a positive difference? I ask not to argue or to mock but really looking for a tactic that will help get the party in line with the base at least a little bit more.

    1. Paul, that’s really the million dollar question, and I don’t know that I have any good answers as to how we move the Democrats back to the left. I’d say we start on the level that we can most effect change….locally.

      We need to elect great progressives on the local level, then those progressives need to be groomed for bigger and better things.

      1. Well, then I guess I just need to wait for somebody to challenge Zielinski and Abele again and get involved at a really local level, but frankly I feel like we need a progressive take over of the party structure as well. The Democrats need to reclaim the party of the people status and stop playing this inside game.

  9. I have to fault Mike Tate for the poor showing among local Democrats across the state. I’ve been trying to boost Jeff Smith and Kristen Dexter in assembly 93 since 2010, working with no real top down backing. The lack of a primary when you have unknown candidates is another really bad decision. It smacks of union boss type leadership, something the that has lead to public souring on unions especially the teacher’s here in Wisconsin–totally uncalled for if one considers all the facts. Tate has done nothing in three years to help unions or even local Democrats counter the Walker “Union Thug” label. Now this stupid no-primary dictum. Sorry, my father told me that if you can’t say something nice…and that you NEVER win an argument. So I’m not arguing, just sayin’.

    1. Cat, I agree that Tate should bear some of the blame for what’s happened in our state since 2010, but exactly how much of the blame he should bear is up for debate.

      I’d love to see the Democratic Party of Wisconsin finally get a clue and start working on what it hasn’t done well, with one example being the party’s message. Messaging for Democrats in this state has been awful, because instead of just being “anti-Walker” it needs to be articulated what WE stand for. The Democratic message is a winner, if done properly.

  10. As someone who is often a fan of harsh and inflammatory rhetoric, ( I like to think of it as colorful language ) I think Zach can be forgiven for his initial word choice. My guess is that he got very frustrated with the prospect of a divided Dem base heading into what is, arguably, the most important gubernatorial election in recent history. Maybe we all need to just

    1. Right on, Steve!

      I’m not too concerned about “colorful language,” especially applied to politicians, on the blogs since it seems to be more common today. Language evolves and use of hyperbole, analogy, and the like has increased over what the written or spoken word was 20 years ago.

      But too much can detract from the basic message one is attempting to convey.

  11. I agree wholeheartedly with the premise suggesting doing nothing contributes to the opposition’s reelection.

    Democrats in my county are encouraged to use their hands by writing a “letter to he editor” in the print news media. Hardly a week goes bye that there is not a letter in the local newspapers calling attention to the wrongs and rights happening politically, especially at the state level. Obviously with Walker’s wrongs and those of his ALEC legislators, there is an ample supply of wrongs to report and to comment upon by concerned citizens.

    Write a letter to the editor! It helps!

  12. We need a true Progressive, not a faker like Burke! She shipped jobs to China at Trek and is anti-union. There has never been a union at Trek and she’s the reason why. She’s a Wall Street Republican in earthy progressive clothing.

Comments are closed.