A conversation with Kathleen Vinehout

Kathleen Vinehout, picture from Wisconsin State Legislature
Kathleen Vinehout, picture from Wisconsin State Legislature
The entry of former Commerce Secretary and Trek Executive Mary Burke into the 2014 gubernatorial race has garnered a lot of press (both positive and not-so-positive), and while I’ve spent a lot of time sharing my thoughts and critiques of Burke and her campaign, I wanted to spend some time sharing my thoughts on Democratic State Sen. Kathleen Vinehout (pictured, left), who is contemplating a run for governor in the 2014 Democratic gubernatorial primary. I recently had the opportunity to chat with Vinehout about her gubernatorial ambitions, and during our conversation Vinehout said she has given herself until the beginning of 2014 to make a decision on whether to run for governor. Vinehout added that her decision will not be influenced in any way by the entry of Mary Burke into the race, saying, “I knew Mary was getting in.”

When prompted to explain the process by which she’ll make a decision on whether to run for governor, Vinehout cited her travel around the state talking to grassroots activists, many of whom were the driving force behind the 2012 recall of Gov. Scott Walker. “We haven’t yet cashed in on the investment of time and energy made by the folks involved in the recall,” Vinehout said, adding that while there’s a lot of enthusiasm on the local level, many people are still hungry for information about what’s going on at the State Capitol in Madison.

“I want to empower people with knowledge,” Vinehout said, noting that she’s been focusing her time and energy talking to individuals in the “magic horseshoe” from La Crosse and Eau Claire to Green Bay and the Fox Valley comprising the kinds of communities and voters Democrats typically have not fared well with in statewide elections.

Asked to share what she’s learned during her travels throughout the state, Vinehout said that she’s learned that citizens want to take back their democracy. According to Vinehout, many people have told her they want legislators to do the jobs they were elected do do. “The Capitol has become a vending machine that corporations and special interests put money into and get laws and rules out of,” Vinehout added.

When I pushed Sen. Vinehout to explain what will be the determining factor on whether or not she runs for governor, Vinehout acknowledged the upstart, grassroots nature of her campaign, saying that her decision to run for governor will be decided by the same grassroots activists who recalled Gov. Scott Walker. “Are the grassroots ready for the campaign of a lifetime?” Vinehout asked, adding that her campaign would not be just about her as the candidate, but more of a movement supported by activists and volunteers. “I’m not running around talking to big donors,” said Vinehout, adding that instead of spending her time running around talking to big donors to ask for money, she’s been spending her time talking to the grassroots activists who will be vital to any successful challenge to Gov. Walker.

As our conversation continued, I asked Sen. Vinehout to clarify her positions on a woman’s right to choose, given that she has come under fire for not being pro-choice. Vinehout was quick to rebut any assertion that she’s not pro-choice, noting that she has a long record as a member of the State Senate of voting to protect a woman’s right to choose. “I believe abortions should be safe, legal, and rare,” Vinehout said, adding that the myth that she isn’t pro-choice started during the Democratic gubernatorial recall primary and was based on one vote she made to allow pharmacists to refuse to fill prescriptions for birth control based on religious or moral objections. Vinehout explained her vote as a matter of respect for the conscience clause in the state Constitution, as opposed to being indicative of her beliefs in general.

In regards to her votes in favor of the Castle Doctrine and to allow concealed carry in Wisconsin, Vinehout explained that as a gun owner who represents a district that includes a good portion of western Wisconsin, her votes were in keeping with the strong hunting and fishing heritage of many of her constituents. Vinehout added that if Democrats want to win statewide elections, they need to be able to acknowledge the fact that hunting and fishing are a strong part of our state’s heritage.

As we were drawing our conversation to a close, Vinehout exclaimed, “Ask me about Act 10!” before I could even ask her about Act 10, the anti-public employee legislation that rescinded collective bargaining for public employees while also dramatically weakening public employee unions. Prompted to share her thoughts, Vinehout was unambiguous about Act 10, stating, “I despise Act 10; that’s why I went to Illinois,” referring to the time she spent in Illinois with 13 other Democratic State Senators in the aftermath of Gov. Walker “dropping the bomb” that was Act 10. Vinehout acknowledged that there were issues that needed to be addressed in regards to public employees in order to assist the state in getting its fiscal house in order, but Vinehout was clear that she believed – and still believes – that those issues could have been fixed through the collective bargaining process.

While a gubernatorial campaign by Sen. Kathleen Vinehout may be the very definition of an uphill battle, she doesn’t seem to be at all fazed by the prospect of running against a Democratic opponent who will likely outspend her by a wide, wide margin. While it remains to be seen if Sen. Vinehout will even run for governor, I’d bet cash money that it’s a sure thing that we’ll see Kathleen Vinehout run in the Democratic gubernatorial primary.


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78 thoughts on “A conversation with Kathleen Vinehout

  1. Thanks for the piece, Zach. She has a contagious attitude with a focus toward a defined positive change.

  2. Absolutely……..a campaign based on truth and honesty rather than money will win in Wisconsin. Vinehout is more well versed in the budget and its ins and outs than Walker, Vos or Fitzgerald and she can outline all of the misinformation that has been fed to the people of Wisconsin relative to the budget being balanced and the debt and deficits that have been hidden from the people. Once she gives the facts on how much borrowing and how much debt that Walker and his minions have kicked down the road the grassroots will take hold and activate this state against Walker and his band of merry men/women. All we want is government that is for and of the people and this can only occur when we have government by the people not government by donors only!

  3. I like Kathleen a lot. If she can beat Burke in a primary, she can defeat Walker. Huge ‘if’. The problem for her is she has to give up her state senate seat to run. I don’t think she should run for that reason. It’s too big a risk unless there would be a strong candidate taking her place in the state senate race. I think Mark Harris, Winnebago County Executive, would be the strongest Democrat in a race against Walker. He does not have to give up his current position to run. The Burke people have already convinced him not to run. That said, I will support Senator Vinehout 100% if she does run.

  4. I keep trying to tamp down my enthusiasm for Vinehout, but it keeps on jumping back up. I’ve talked to her twice now and heard her speak several times, and every time I come away with the sense that she’s the real deal.

  5. Zach, thanks.

    Just sent $25.00 to her Act Blue page.

    I haven’t made a decision about who to support, but she’s a lot stronger than Ms. Burke about the need for collective bargaining.

    It’s time for the law enforcement unions, especially of MPD, to figure out who is looking out for their wages, benefits, and retirement.

  6. Not sure how she can go from being a Catholic pro-life elected official 5 years ago to a “pro-choicer” this time around. Selling her soul to the Democratic Party? Not worth it, Kathleen.

    1. And Walker is pro-life for forcing close to a 100K people off of BadgerCare, and refusing $Billions$ of federal money to help the less economically fortunate of our citizens? Taxes that have been paid by WI taxpayers and are now gone to other states. Children who will not be getting needed healthcare now will cost the State more in the future and some will die. 45,000 people in the US die annually for lack of access to health care, so let’s by law, (ACA), mandate that middlemen insurance providers get 20% of every health care dollar spent, that could be going toward better health care if we had single payer.

      For christ’s sake look at what Vinehout said in the interview, she wants abortions to be RARE, but safe and available. Do you have any clue as to how that might happen? She has not necessarily changed her personal stance for her own self by letting other women make their own decisions about themselves.

      If you think she is selling her soul, that says everything about your fantasy beliefs and nothing about her. Take your religious clap-trap and…..keep it to yourself. Who are you, god the all-freaking-mighty?

    2. hike, if you want the government forcing birth, you’re no friend of the Second Amendment.

    3. There’s good news and there’s bad news. The good news is that we don’t have to rely on Kathleen Vinehout’s word on her position on choice since she has a voting record we can look at.

      The bad news, of course, is that it’s not good. NARAL Pro-Choice Wisconsin gives her a C and if you look at how she voted, you can see why. http://www.prochoicewisconsin.org/assets/bin/pdfs/2011-12scorecard.pdf

      Personally, I give her an F since she only came around on choice around the time of the recall. It was probably clear to her then, as it is now, that nobody wants an anti-choice Dem as their candidate for governor. Personally, if I was going to throw my weight behind a long-shot candidate, I’d wait for someone who I trust won’t throw women over as soon as she’s elected. Since Vinehout has already done that, she’s not it. She courted Planned Parenthood and NARAL’s endorsements and then failed to be an ally to those orgs until she smelled a chance at the governor’s seat. Planned Parenthood even went so far as to rescind their endorsement of her.

      Of course, people can also admit that they don’t put a high priority on repro rights and are down with Kathleen anyway. But folks should come right out and say that if that’s the case. Vinehout supporters: please stop ignoring experts on Wisconsin repro rights, who would never endorse or vote for Vinehout in a million years, and be honest about the fact that you just don’t care that much whether your candidate is pro-choice or not. To continue insisting that she’s a reliable ally on women’s health issues is just dishonest.

      1. VoteSmart http://votesmart.org/candidate/key-votes/67069/kathleen-vinehout/2/abortion#.Ukh7eqm9KSM

        Key Votes
        Senator Kathleen Vinehout’s Voting Records on Issue: Abortion

        Date Bill No. Bill Title Outcome Vote
        June 12, 2013 SB 206 Requires an Ultrasound Prior to an Abortion Bill Passed – Senate
        (17 – 15) Nay
        Feb. 22, 2012 SB 306 Requires Physicians Performing Abortions to Determine if the Woman’s Consent is Voluntary Bill Passed – Senate
        (17 – 15) Nay
        Oct. 20, 2011 SB 92 Prohibits Abortion Coverage through Healthcare Insurance Exchanges Bill Passed – Senate
        (17 – 16) Nay
        May 16, 2007 SB 129 Emergency Contraception for Sexual Assault Victims Bill Passed – Senate
        (27 – 6) Yea

      2. Dayna,

        If we can all have an honest answer from you, is this one issue the only one that makes or breaks your decision for governor? Jobs, public education, living wages, equal pay for women, an environment fit for human habitation, free or low cost daycare for working families, public transportation, affordable senior care, anything other issue(s) as important or figured in the mix when you choose your candidate as is reproductive choice?

        1. It doesn’t matter where I stand on other issues. I’m not here to say whether I’d vote for and/or endorse Vinehout either way. I’m simply asserting that she is not a pro-choice candidate. I am tired of progressive men, who profess to be allies to progressive women, acting like she is when the experts – the folks at NARAL here in Wisconsin, the folks at Planned Parenthood, women who run abortion funds, grassroots women’s orgs, etc. – are very clear that she is not, that they don’t trust her, and that they would never endorse her again. Quit expecting us to take her at her word for it that she’s reliable and changed. You would expect more of a commitment from her if it was an issue that mattered to you.

          I’m not addressing other comments here, especially the ones that stray from the issue at hand to question me about my personal political beliefs or attempt to school me on how the attacks on repro rights specifically target poor women. First, because it makes the offensive assumption that I don’t already know (I promise you, I know). And secondly, because it doesn’t matter. Supporting collective bargaining does NOT make Kathleen a pro-choice candidate which is the only thing I’m asserting here.

          1. Danya, you wrote, “It doesn’t matter where I stand on other issues.”

            It matters a great deal to me. You refuse to even endorse marriage equality?

            Please, name some of the “the folks at NARAL here in Wisconsin,” who support your position.

            Please, name some of the Wisconsin “folks at Planned Parenthood,” who support your position.

            Please, name some of the “women who run abortion funds,” who support your position.

            Please, name some of the “grassroots women’s orgs, etc.” and the folks who staff them, who support your position.

            Ms. Burke said, “no promises.” http://host.madison.com/news/state-and-regional/burke-s-campaign-promise-no-promises/article_8672ed51-3017-5631-9b59-0ab2621a34a7.html

            From where does all your confidence in Ms. Burke on choice come? Has she given generously to pro-choice groups?

            1. Give it a rest, John. Not everyone is going to be patient and willing to hop along with your chase-the-rabbit deflections, illogical presumptions, or your reductio ad absurdum. But, you know I always will. 🙂

              1. PJ,

                I thought you were only BB’s “national,” guy who didn’t know anything about the local stuff.

                By all means, let’s “put this to rest.”

                1. Please, name some of the “the folks at NARAL here in Wisconsin,” who support Danya’s position.

                2. Please, name some of the Wisconsin “folks at Planned Parenthood,” who support Danya’s position.

                3. Please, name some of the “women who run abortion funds,” who support Danya’s position.

                4. Please, name some of the “grassroots women’s orgs, etc.” and the folks who staff them, who support Danya’s position.

                Ms. Burke said, “no promises.” http://host.madison.com/news/state-and-regional/burke-s-campaign-promise-no-promises/article_8672ed51-3017-5631-9b59-0ab2621a34a7.html

                5. From where does all your confidence in Ms. Burke on choice come? Has she given generously to pro-choice groups?

                1. You know I’ll drag your irrational inanities to as far as you will take them, but it’s not my place to speak for Dayna. Here’s how it works in the rational universe: Dayna offered no comment on Burke or confidence in Burke. Her point was rationally tailored. Yours are irrelevant. So, give it a rest. I offered no comment on Burke or confidence in Burke. My position is irrelevant, so give it a rest.

                  More to the point, why would a clever guy like you need anyone to provide those answers for you? Pretty easy to confirm whether or not Dayna’s assertions are correct. Confirming by your own means on whether or not those assertions are accurate is probably the more rational route to take before launching into another one of your disarrangement parades.

                  Now, if you are really clever you might actually engage Dayna’s assertions. Maybe even her assumptions about “progressive” men – presumably pertaining to this thread – possibly an inapt descriptor for the comments offered here.

                  1. PJ, per your most recent psychoanalysis of me, am I

                    A. “clever”

                    B. “irrational”

                    C. Both

                    Are you planning to charge me for your psychological insights?

                    Thanks in advance.

                    1. John,

                      Neither are evaluations having any pertinence whatsoever to your psychological being. Both pertain strictly to rational, logistical methodology and coherent dialogical construction.

            2. Joe. Please find evidence anywhere on the internet of me voicing confidence in Mary Burke.

              And I’m not outing anyone. Do a basic amount of research, figure out who works for those orgs, staffs their boards, etc. and ask them for yourself. The fact that you’re struggling to come up with any names on your own really indicates how little you know about the repro rights community in Wisconsin.

              My position on the issues might mean a great deal to you but it has zero impact on whether or not Kathleen is pro-choice (she’s not). But for the record, I typically vote for Dems and am involved with the Nat’l Org for Women here in WI. I grew up in a union household. As a college student, I gave money to the HRC (before they were transphobic and shitty) and have never been shy about my support for marriage equality. None of this is relevant to the conversation at hand.

              1. Thanks for replying to my 10/22 @ 12:44am above. I don’t have any political beliefs, but, I have what I would term, well informed opinions. Beliefs got us Barry, without my help on the return, small consolation.

                Appreciate your take on the subject as you see it, Vinehout’s pro-choice fail. I feel better informed reading yours and all the comments. A discussion that would have been missed without your comments.

      3. Come on, Dayna, “single issue” folks like you are blind to an honest comparison between candidates anc their total political position on a variety of issues. To use a bit of hyperbole, you would vote a straight Republican ticket even if it included an ax-murderer who claimed to be “pro-life.”

        Do you believe members of RTL groups who are also clinic arsonists or bombers and assassins of doctors are pro-life?

        1. Duane12

          We have two people here, one person worried about Ms Vinehout and a woman’s right to choose and the first worried about just the opposite, not being enough in the pro-life camp on reproductive repression of women by the state.

          I’m hoping Dayna gets back to answer the questions and I don’t think setdownhike is either a woman or a left leaning voter, just a pro-life troll.

          Pro-lifers have been voting for child health and nutrition opponent candidates and granny-starver Republicans forever, thus no reasoning to be furthered with them.

          1. Emma, poor and middle class women don’t have the same level of access to “reproductive rights,” as women of affluence.

            Act 10 was aimed at public sector unions with a carve out for law enforcement unions.

            Physicians, lawyers, tenured professors, engineers, all use credentialing as a way to limit the SUPPLY of labor. They bargain as a “collective.” That’s the only way anyone (outside of those with money and entrepreneurs like Ms. Burke’s Dad) consistently finds a way to put a floor underneath their wages. It’s not pretty and it’s not perfect, but so far, no one has found a better way.

            Reagan was a pro-choice union buster. That sounds exactly like Chris Abele. I’m hoping the Democratic candidate for Governor isn’t following in their footsteps.

            If in November 2014, the only issue that separates the Democratic candidate for Governor from the Republican is choice, I’m going to suck-it-up and vote for the Democrat.

            1. John, what I object to is the dismissal of Dayna’s comments by a few here on the basis that reproductive rights is a single issue. Actually, many of us see reproductive rights as an economic issue, health issue, and government control issue. Seems to me the same commenters focus on Burke’s lack of promise to reverse Act 10. I’d be willing to bet that if Burke made an Act 10 promise, most would merrily support her for her fealty to their sacred cow (obviously you would not). So what’s the beef then with Dayna? Her sacred cow issue doesn’t match their sacred cow issue. Sheesh.

              1. E, this is really well stated. “Actually, many of us see reproductive rights as an economic issue, health issue, and government control issue.”

                Couldn’t agree more.

                It’s only her second statement that embraces a broader definition. All the feminists I follow on Twitter, they call them “abortion rights.” @laurenarankin would be one strong example. No attempt to negotiate with the other side, no discussion of limitations on a woman’s right to choose. Intense rage at the economic disenfranchisement of primary care givers. Agree or disagree, these folks bring it.

                They also recognize that GLBT rights are more embraced, because GLBT folks are “coming out.” Much tougher for a woman to come out and say she had an abortion, but unfortunately, that’s a part of the answer going forward. Another bigger part of the solution imho is men showing some guts and telling other men that they’re pro-choice.

                So in her second comment when Danya says she won’t name names, I call bs. For crying out loud, she won’t even name the GROUPS she referred to. This is one reason Ed Fallone lost. The Wisconsin Supreme Court is controlled by some bad operators and Justice Prosser is at the head of the list. Justice Bradley insulted him from any consequences for choking another Justice and Wisconsin re-elected her. Shame, shame, shame on us for letting that happen.

                Feminists from both genders have to get a lot more involved politically at all levels of government. Per your excellent statement, I see a lot of overlap between feminist’s goals and labor’s goals.

                OT, Bice’s chat is a good read http://www.jsonline.com/watchdog/228670141.html He “expects” Walker to run next year. That doesn’t meant Walker won’t be indicted, although that’s a possibility. It also leaves the door open for Walker not being on the ballot.

                1. John,

                  Economics is a single issue too. You also seem to be “othering” Feminists in a ridiculous sort of way by suggesting Feminists are “single-issue,” intransigent people. Admirable that you’re trying to build a bridge that’s already built, but maybe it would be faster to recognize the overpass that has existed independent of your notice.

                  You seem to be equivocating here by suggesting that there is some negotiating room, implying some acceptable limitations that women should simply succumb to when it comes to decision-making and their own bodies. I would deem that suggestion preposterous. Dayna made the point succinctly: Will Progressive men stand firm with Progressive women in securing women’s personal sovereignty over their own bodies?

                  You’re quick to demand an elected official like Pocan be primaried (sp?) (i.e. removed from a governing position) on the grounds that it’s impossible for other Wisconsin politicians to hold the line on the issues that matter to you. The same principle holds here. Are you willing to firmly hold the line next to Wisconsin women as firmly as you would, say, Chained CPI – the single issue from which you will not waver?

                  Vinehout considers it acceptable for a woman to be subject to a conscience other than her own. That is an unacceptable position for any politician seeking any office in 21st century America.

                  At the same time, as I’ve argued on other occasions, Vinehout’s tepid position could be a strength if she chose to play it that way. She could be just the right voice for moving the attitude bar among the more Conservative-minded voters in more Conservative leaning areas of the state toward a more pro-choice-minded position. But, she hasn’t indicated that this a priority for her at all. And there’s no push from “progressive” men for her to articulate anything other than evasion in this sphere.

                  Dayna’s concern about equivocating “Progressive” men is spot on.

                  Oh and, John, do us all a favor by ceasing with your mischaracterization tactics. When you incessantly resort to dishonest distortion you discredit your own diatribes.

                  1. PJ, glad you’re tackling the conscience issue. It’s utterly preposterous on Vinehout’s part. I’ll go further than you and state that I believe it’s indicative of an unwillingness or inability for her to truly separate church from state. Her conscience may be the reason she wouldn’t use contraception – it is not the guide for all other women. Religion has no place in our government. It is our individual choice whether to give it a place in our lives. Vinehout as reported by this Blog demonstrates no preparedness to mount a campaign. If she does, her church v. state stance will be open to scrutiny. As for Progressive men v. Progressive women, I find it laughable that with little clarity nor evidence from Burke the men assume she’s bad for labor but with clear statements from Vinehout on reproductive rights, they look the other way. I would tend though to give John more room than the others as he discusses versus dismisses. The lack of readiness though is the more immediate issue – suggests Vinehout is fundamentally unserious about a real campaign to unseat Walker and is just in it to check the primary box. I’m prepared to listen to her but growing unimpressed with every passing second that is spent sharing her Web site and collecting $25 dollar donations.

                    1. Agreed. The question of conscience is really the pivotal axis here that transects the boundary of church and state with far reaching implications.

                      To your point about John: Regarding whether he discusses or dismisses – carefully read through his comments, especially his reply to Dayna and note whether his discussion constitutes obfuscation or whether he engages the concerns Dayna correctly raised. While his digressions may include interspersed verities concerning reproductive rights – he doesn’t address the critical portions of Dayna’s comment. By digressing he effectively and efficiently dismissed Dayna’s comments. Note, too, the blatantly and demonstrably false misrepresentations of her position. In addition, before he cries “foul” or “BS” he needs a stronger position from which to cry – he needs to engage in confirmation and follow-up on where Pro-Choice organizations in this state stand with respect to Vinehout. What’s foul BS is that he doesn’t.

                    2. PJ,

                      I understood EmmaR at 12:10 pm clear as a bell.

                      Beyond your first one word sentence, whether you are male or female, I’d consider your apparently misogynistic attitude in presenting a reinterpretation/deconstruction of the discussion and of Dayna’s comments more than a bit condescending and disrespectful. Inserting your view on top of them, as if what she or what Emma said didn’t appear clear to EmmaR, or to other readers.

                      Your loathsome attempt to use John C as a foil to curry favor with another commenter is unmistakeable. Gratuitous piling on is all I read, nothing more. I never saw any princess in distress that needed your assistance in the least, in this thread.

                      BTW, I understood Duane12 @ 12:50pm very well too. Your response to him did nothing to further his explanation of his thought, but brought changed the discussion to the limited focus on one part of the choice question which is pretty much NOT what was spoken to us by EmmaR at 10/23 @ 11:26 am or for that matter, explored by anyone else to this point. Wandering alone in the wilderness obviously pleases you.

                      Oh, do I recall that you suggested to someone to let it rest, earlier?

                    3. Try again, NQ. I’m not using John as a foil of any kind. I’m retorting Emma’s observation about his comments. John achieved dismissal through endless digression and deflection much as you attempted to do. Much in the way you and he often do. John also flat-out instantiated a demonstrable untruth in his fallacious refutation regarding pro-choice groups in Wisconsin. You’re obfuscating much in the same way now. The misogyny in action here is plain as day – it emanates from those like you, like John who refuse to engage the fundamental concerns Dayna expressed – that Vinehout’s position is not pro-choice. That so-called Progressive men continually descend to equivocation by not standing firmly beside Progressive women in affirming that the sole province for women’s bodies and their consciences lies solely with the individuals inhabiting those bodies and no one else.

                      Regarding Duane – try to stay on topic – the matter there is conscience – and the matter there is how Vinehout interprets conscience – and the matter there is her interpretation of the conscience clause which is the sticking point and confluence point for those who do not regard Vinehout as pro-choice. I’m aware the basics of formal logic escape you, however, like it or not I engaged the matter logically and directly and I expanded…. wait for it… it’s gonna hurt… logically. Your assertion is insensible. I wasn’t attempting to “further his explanation of his thought” – that’s for Duane to do. Nor did I change the subject or reframe. Conscience is at the crux of Vinehout’s position – that you didn’t address it indicates that you’ve missed the point.

                      I did suggest John give it a rest because at that point he and you both were digressing and deflecting. You’re digressing and deflecting now. So, give it a rest, NQ. Try something courageous – admit that you’re willing to go soft when it comes to women’s rights to control their own bodies.

                    4. PJ, dammit. Where’s the latin?

                      Other people get insulted with latin, but now you leave me out? You’re being unfair. My last comment earned at least TWO (2) insults in latin. You’ve already used “reductio…” twice in this thread. If you don’t know any more latin phrases, how about just one in a foreign language?

                      Thanks in advance.

                    5. Such a sensitive soul, JC. Let me know when you can master usage and an English dictionary perhaps then I’ll work in some more foreign words for you when applicable. I’ll make a point of it. Yet, given the frequency with which the same Latin phrases would be used over and over and over and over and over and over again simply to point out the same tactics used again and again and again and again and again and again – well it would make for tedium, wouldn’t it? You’d then complain about it, wouldn’t you? I assure you, John, your Ad Nauseum doesn’t go unnoticed. There’s no need for me to point it out at every turn. But, if you are requesting that I do, I will redouble my efforts and pay closer attention to your comments.

                    6. Nonquixote, your 5:43 post is labyrinthine in its wanderings among comments and commenters. But I did get out of it you think a commenter is currying favor with another. Politeness seems to be a foreign concept to you but you may trying walking out in society, searching out examples and learning. This is an anonymous blog, not a board room. No one has any use for currying favor here. I also find your use of the word misogynistic when describing a commenter ironic. But it’s all carnival sideshow to the real issue here. Bound to be a post on this topic soon and we’ll doubtless get an opportunity to discuss. This thread is fading.

                  2. PJ, here are my views at least on my use of terms in this discussion.

                    When I use “single issue,” I apply it only to abortion, especially when a political judgement on the total worth of a candidate or person is based solely or primarily on one factor; i.e., whether he or she is pro-life or pro-choice. Granted, “economics” or other issues may be described as a single issue, but not in the political parlance of today.

                    For many of the Pro-Life, if not the vast majority, their definition of life is very narrowly limited only to the abortion of a fetus. And their position falsely assumes that those of us who are pro-choice actively advocate abortion when many of us oppose abortion except for rape, incest, or the health of the woman. The Pro-Life group tends to ignore the larger, life aspects and consequences of a living wage, health care, and aging.

                    The Pro-Choice respect the rights of others to follow the choice dictated by their conscience, the religious freedoms under the First Amendment, and in compliance with adjudicated or settled law.

                    1. Duane,

                      Correct. Pro-Choice respects the rights of others to follow the choice dictated by their consciences – choices for themselves and only themselves. Meaning the only valid contour of choice for a pharmacist is to decide whether or not he/she will ingest contraceptives. His/her conscience does not apply to anyone else’s contraceptive use. In this instance – assenting to legal codification for the arbitrary conscience of a pharmacist, allowing said pharmacist to interfere with a woman seeking contraception, violates the fundamental right of conscience for all Wisconsin women. That distinction violates the right of any woman to live by her own conscience. This is not a Pro-Choice position. Under such a treatment, women are forever and legally bound to consciences other than their own.

                      James Madison argues your case well. I’ll grant you that. I suspect Madison might even side with the equivocators, but he’d also recognize the tension between lex ferenda versus lex lata (letter of law or how the law exists versus what should be). Really, though, contextually Madison did not contend with anything remotely similar to the issues of personal sovereignty under consideration today. Point being, Vinehout is falling back on a clausal legality and misapplying that clause, but more accurately, subverting that clause, effectively breaching the wall between church and state by allowing the religious conscience of individuals to domineer the consciences of all other citizens.

                      This might be a good juncture for reviewing how relevant the Wisconsin Constitution and this particular clause are to the 21st Century. I would say there’s a glaring problem with the conscience clause in our state constitution. Foremost, suggesting that the clause itself might pass any form of Lemon test strains credulity in that it does not seem to have any secular purpose. I’d appreciate the input of someone with intimate knowledge of the state constitution especially with respect to this clause. I think this clause is due for another amendment consideration.

                      I believe the clause under question is Article I, Section 18, amended 1982:
                      “The right of every person to worship Almighty God according to the dictates of conscience shall never be infringed; nor shall any person be compelled to attend, erect or support any place of worship, or to maintain any ministry, without consent; nor shall any control of, or interference with, the rights of conscience be permitted, or any preference be given by law to any religious establishments or modes of worship; nor shall any money be drawn from the treasury for the benefit of religious societies, or religious or theological seminaries.”

                      Dispensing contraception does not violate an individual’s right to worship in any way described in the above clause, but refusing to dispense contraception does “control and interfere” with a woman following her own conscience. Any pharmacist who can’t, out of conscience, fill a contraceptive prescription should probably take the personal initiative necessary to secure his or her own conscience by considering another line of work. I don’t make that last remark snidely in the least, but rather conscientiously and sensitively. If a job description is untenable for an individual’s conscience it isn’t tenable to enter that field.

                      For Vinehout to interpret this already problematic clause in the way that she has is also an untenable position for 21st century governance.

                      If I’m understanding your position correctly, you regard it is tenable and reasonable not to “compel” pharmacists to dispense contraceptives if doing so violates conscience. If so, then on this point we may have to agree to disagree.

                    2. I think I’m starting to get the concern here. If Vinehout is elected she could unwittingly usher in a dictatorial theocracy. Hmmmmm. I hadn’t thought of that.

                    3. Per usual, Steve, you don’t get it. Think on it a little further and recall that reductio ad absurdum is a fool’s errand.

                    4. PJ, here’s the part of Article I, Section 18, amended 1982 that I think is pertinent:

                      “nor shall any control of, or interference with, the rights of conscience be permitted,”

                      If a pharmacist has a moral objection to dispensing birth control based on their religious beliefs and the state steps in and mandates that they still MUST provide birth control, wouldn’t that infringe on their “rights of conscience?”

                    5. Responding to Zach at 7:54. This Pharmacist’s religious conscience may guide his personal decisions. When he expects the rest of us by law to follow his religious conscience, we no longer live in a Democracy with a separation of church and state. U.S. constitution trumps the state. My second argument is one of slippery slope because today it’s contraception but tomorrow it’s HIV drugs, and so on. My last point is one Vinehout should easily recognize since she so often invokes it on other issues – rural services. I walked into the local pharmacy of a small town a few weeks ago. One pharmacist was there at that particular time. If that Pharmacist decides his religious beliefs prevent him from dispensing a morning after pill to a woman, there is no one else to fill in. A worker can’t necessarily keep checking back in nor drive to the next town over nor town after that. And then she has to figure out how to juggle job(s), childcare, and more on slim means. A well off professional can overcome these obstacles mostly, but it’s the utter disdain for female middle and low income workers that gives me pause. It’s like Vinehout is saying their lives, their families and their health are worth less than a particular person’s own ideas about religion and you know what, Zach, that doesn’t sit well with me. Not one little bit.

                    6. Thanks…I was simply offering some clarification and playing a bit of devil’s advocate. I’m in agreement with you regarding one individual’s religious beliefs trumping the rights of others, and I’ll admit that Sen. Vinehout’s vote on the issue of pharmacists being able to “opt out” of providing birth control is troubling.

                  3. PJ,

                    When you and your nanny state buddies at OFA call for the repeal of the Second Amendment http://bloggingblue.com/2013/09/about-that-gun-debate/ and refuse to support the legalization of marijuana, it further undercuts your commitment to “choice.”

                    “Pregnant woman fights Wisconsin’s fetal protection law”

                    “…The case presents a new challenge to Wisconsin’s so-called “cocaine mom” law aimed at protecting the unborn fetuses and embryos of women with a “severe degree” of drug use that poses a “substantial risk” to the fetus or would “seriously affect” a child upon birth.

                    Critics, including many medical professionals, have long said enforcement can scare pregnant women from seeking prenatal care or being honest with their doctors. But the law has withstood other attacks….”



                    Wingman nonquixote, thanks.

                    1. PJ,

                      I’ve tried and tried and just can’t see it any other way. Vinehout is obviously a Trojan horse dupe for an American Taliban bent on breaching the constitutional firewall between all of us and a living hell. Son-of-a-nogoodstinkin’ boar-pig! Good catch on your part!

                    2. Steve, you’re right. Vinehout better be prepared to answer questions about her American Taliban leanings. The answers better fit on bumper stickers and :30 sec commercials… Except, oh yeah, Vinehout is crowd-sourcing the decision to run for Wisconsin’s top job. So guess the media won’t really be asking for her opinion on reproductive rights or much of anything.

                    3. You’ll need to try again too, JC. And maybe it’s time you admit that your political trajectory altogether is not Progressive but Libertarian-Reform Conservative. Thank you for pointing to my repeal the 2nd amendment position. Yes, the 2nd Amendment should be repealed. However, it isn’t germane so it isn’t a parallel. Unless you think there’s some kind of natural right/ownership parallel between a woman’s body and a purchasable commodity like a gun. And need you be reminded that individual rights don’t trump the communitarian or in your Libertarian lingo – the “nanny” state which the entire Constitution is built upon. But try to stay on topic, John. Read the title of the post if you’ve forgotten. It’s Vinehout. And it’s Pro-Choice. And for Constitutions – the conscience clause of the Wisconsin constitution.

                      Yes, I read that article a little while ago. And a perfect case in point for what occurs with equivocation.

                      If you are solidly Pro-Choice and will defend women’s rights to their own bodies and consciences then by all means do. You haven’t. You’ve equivocated, digressed and deflected. If you won’t just admit that you won’t.

                    4. PJ, it’s like I don’t even know you anymore. Last night I was clever and irrational. Tonight, I’m not.

                      And again, no latin phrases, no foreign phrases. Why so stingy with moi? What have those other guys got, that I don’t?

                    5. John, John, John. You are clever and irrational. You are definitely a propagandist entirely cognizant of how you craft your commentary. If you want more foreign phrases you and your irrationals will have to change up your routines – especially when you get stuck.

                      Have you decided yet whether or not you and your fellow Libertarians will be standing firmly behind Progressive women for a solidly Pro-Choice Wisconsin?

                    6. Emma,

                      ” Steve, you’re right. Vinehout better be prepared to answer questions about her American Taliban leanings ”

                      Damn straight! We’ll waterboard her if we need to!

                    7. Steve at 9:19 – or put those masters of interrogation and wizards of deduction at the Capitol Police on the case! Course Vinehout would doubtless be water boarding them in short order.

      4. 1. Danya, are you a Reagan Republican?

        For much of his political career, Reagan was pro-choice.

        2. Some folks who support “reproductive rights,” want a ban on abortions after the fetus is 20 weeks old. Would you put yourself in that category?

        Since you claim to be committed to reproductive rights, I’m not sure why you’re citing NARAL. Maybe the Wisconsin branch is better, but the national outfit, under Nancy Keenan’s failed leadership, was simply a fund-raising scam to fleece a lot of unsuspecting supporters of abortion rights. Fortunately, she’s no longer President. Planned Parenthood has caved a lot, but I think a lot of folks were more sympathetic to their plight. PP’s actually on the front-lines supplying health care to middle class and poor women. They depended on the good will of local and national legislatures to get funding. NARAL had no such excuse.

        3. Do you support NARAL’s 2006 endorsement of Joe Lieberman, who voted AGAINST emergency rape contraception from Connecticut hospitals?



        4. As nonquixote and others have suggested their responses, you seem to have a rather narrow view of “choice.” What’s your position on marriage equality? Do you support “reproductive rights,” but support the government telling non-related adults who they can and cannot marry?

        5. I would argue that “reproductive rights” aren’t worth much if you’re poor, as an increasing percentage of women are. How can you be “pro-choice” and ignore collective bargaining?

        6. As you know, the “Progressive” caucus in the House vote on Obamacare caved to Bart Stupak and his anti-choice pals. That made it much more difficult for poor women to AFFORD their “reproductive rights.”


        What makes that all the more galling is that the Progressive caucus could have blocked the Stupak amendment and forced Obama to include a “public option.” As you know, that would have allowed folks to buy Medicare coverage. That would have eliminated the “mandate,” which everyone hates. It would have been a huge help to small business, because health care would no longer have been a “marginal cost of production.” Unfortunately, it would have hurt the profit margins of the health insurance oligopoly, because they no longer could have FORCED Americans to buy LOUSY coverage.

        7. Per the link below, where are you on voting rights?


        8. How do you plan on defending “reproductive rights,” if you’re not defending voting rights?

        I follow @laurenarankin . She talks a lot about “intersectionality.” http://4thwavefeminist.tumblr.com/post/64044972487/an-open-letter-to-my-fellow-white-feminists

        IMHO, it’s an intelligent response to “tribalism,” where groups have a far too narrow construal of what’s in their long-term interest.

  7. There is no reason to tamp down your enthusiasm for Vinehout, Zachary. Especially in light of Mike Tate’s apparent public endorsement of Burke on Facebook, it is time to work even harder for Kathleen.

    1. Let’s not be too hard on Tate. After all, it seems to me he supports both candidates; 90% for Burke and 10% for Senator Vinehout.

      1. It’s true. Tate posted it on his face book page. Like a burglar caught red handed, Tate insists this is not an endorsement.

        1. Well, an endorsement would likely start with, “I endorse…”. So we know today as much as we knew yesterday with regards to Tate helping the announced candidate. Vinehout sounds like she’s certainly going to run and then it gets interesting…

            1. I don’t know, seems like Tate nails it when he writes how he didn’t hear any complaints on the Baldwin campaign.

              1. Haven’t seen statement one from Sen. Baldwin that directly opposes the “Grand Bargain,” chaining the CPI on veteran’s benefits and Social Security so they won’t rise with inflation.

                Per my 11:36 to Danya, she was in the Progressive Caucus that caved to Bart Stupak on abortion, when she could have blocked it, and forced Obama to include a “public option” with the ACA/Obamacare.

                She just looks like another cut-out of the same national DINO strategy that gave us Abele, “Oligarchy Exists Inside Our Democracy”

                “…The primary impact of this leverage in the hands of the minority is on economic issues. The oligarchy is just as divided as the rest of the population on social issues, like immigration, LGBT rights, women’s issues and similar non-financial matters. It turns out that, for example, some of the oligarchs have family or friends or are themselves LGBT. Their interests in wars and other kinds of issues are also divided. Because of that, democracy could theoretically work on those issues. It’s only those economic issues where the rich are on the same team, and they always win those battles.

                And that’s exactly how things are working out. On matters of direct interest to the oligarchy, they win. You can have your silly laws about marriage or abortion as long as they get their way on money. It’s a lousy bargain, and it doesn’t have to be that way.”


                1. Agreed. Which is why folks shouldn’t overmuch about what Tate is saying, posting, not saying, not posting and figure out who is going to be the right leader for Wisconsin. Baldwin is exactly why it’s so futile to insist on certain Progressive checkboxes. Means nothing if they get into office and just follow the money.

                  1. If Mr. Tate wants to take credit for SENATOR Baldwin, he’s gotta take at least some responsibility for Ed Fallone losing to Justice Roggensack in an election that was almost as important as Governor.


                    Someone forgot to tell the wingnuts it was a “non-partisan,” election. Justice Roggensack took the lead in insulating Justice Prosser from the consequences of assaulting a co-worker, Justice Bradley. Not only was it a man assaulting a woman, it was work-place violence on the taxpayers’ dime. http://www.twincities.com/ci_22826438/wisconsin-fallone-attacks-roggensack-first-supreme-court-ad

                    The fact that Mr. Tate refers to Senator Baldwin by her first name on Facebook should be of great concern to everyone. He should apologize to her. Not only was it disrespectful, it’s was dumb.

  8. Where has Mike Tate written about the lack of complaints to the Baldwin campaign.

    This is certainly something I have encountered among some Dem. party members.

  9. Why do you think she did so poorly, even in her own Senate district, in the recall primary?
    BTW – I will take that bet, Zachary. How much?

  10. PJ, excuse me, but I find it difficult to follow your response. Where in my reply did I raise the issue of contraception, the conscience of a pharmacist, or Senator Vinehout’s interpretation of Madison or whatever sans a link?

    In fairness to Senator Vinehout, s fellow Catholic, I suggest your questioning may be best addressed as a separate reply to Zach’s interview.

    With humor, but with no disrespect, and based upon a decline in size of Catholic families today, I wager even the Pope’s wife, should we have a married priesthood, would use, the “pill,” coitus interruptus, or a “headache” in lieu of the failed traditional methods of self-denial or the “rhythm method.”

    As an authority experienced in raising and providing for a family, I can attest to the failure of the Catholic solution.

    1. Duane, imho PJ’s shtick is to heap sentence after sentence of gibberish in the hope that he sounds intelligent. That’s where the latin comes in. He’s not responding to your arguments. IMHO, he’s either tied to Obama’s OFA or some other corporate wing of the Democratic party. He won’t say where he’s from, but claims not to know anything about the local situation. That’s how he avoids talking about Chris Abele.

      Like any good dissembler, he tries to blend in. Not everything he says is wrong. The “repeal the Second Amendment smokescreen” is to position himself as a “true-blue liberal.”

      If you have time, I enjoy numbering his statements and then asking him to defend them individually. He hates that kind of analysis, because it reveals the gibberish he employs.

      Appreciate the constructive criticism you bring to the Catholic Church.

      Apologies if this isn’t helpful.

      1. Thank you, John, for the benefit of your experiences. I was not going to attempt an answer, but was emboldened by your encouragement to explain further my position to PJ who is also seeking the truth.

        I believe it also serves to inform those who do not know Senator Vinehout.

  11. Duane,

    Perhaps it is I who is mistaken. I assumed your comment regarding conscience was made with respect to the fitness of Vinehout’s candidacy for governor, one point of which hinges on the conscience clause articulated in the post. I understand your distinction about opposing abortion; I respect your position, but it isn’t a pro-choice position. Neither is Vinehout’s.

    You cited religious freedom and dictates of conscience. I replied to those matters of conscience and religious freedom as they pertained to Vinehout’s own voting record and how she replied to pro-choice critics of her position on women’s reproductive rights. Was there some other context that you were alluding to?

    1. PJ, my post at 12:50PM yesterday related only to MY definition of terms; i.e., when I used the GOP’s “pro-life” term, I meant it to specifically be applied only to the abortion issue, not the pharmacist’s conscience or the birth control “pill” which is supposed to prevent ovulation, but not the termination of a fertilized egg. I yield that the term “life” may mean different things to different people.

      When you expand a reply beyond the subject intended, it makes it difficult to answer or gives the appearance of avoiding the issue if one does not answer. That is why I suggested in a follow-up post you address the topic of birth control or contraception separately along with reference sources and statements relating to Senator Vinehout’s votes or positions. I understand there are several of her votes which are not popular with some.

      Believe me, I welcome a full examination of Senator Vinehout’s votes, position, and statements since I believe she has nothing to hide and, in fact, has an overall excellent record; however, I would allow it is not perfect.

      For the member who complained about the use of Latin, I apologize for “coitus interruptus” which is a form of birth control by withdrawal of the penis prior to ejaculation.

      1. Duane,

        Your expansion is appreciated. I hope you were not offended by my usage of Latin, frankly it never occurred to me that you would have taken any issue with it all.

        I’m trying to figure out how I misread your elaborations. Perhaps my mistake was an attempt to reconcile your previous comments at 5:59 with those at 12:50. I was attempting sensitivity for your “single issue” concerns at 5:59. I, therefore, expanded sensitive to your “subject” concerns in 12:50. And I did so relative to the topic at hand given the information provided in Zach’s post. I may have mistaken in interpreting your meaning of “single issue” as inapplicable to any expansion relative to the portion of Vinehout’s reply that did not incorporate abortion.

        I wholeheartedly agree with your assessment that “When you expand a reply beyond the subject intended, it makes it difficult to answer or gives the appearance of avoiding the issue if one does not answer.” I would hope you apply that observation frequently in the future and I wish you had offered it where applicable elsewhere on this thread.

        Perhaps what can be gleaned here is that a Catholic understanding of pro-choice might differ substantially from a secular one. In future, it may be helpful to articulate a qualification to articulate the distinction. I’ll try to be mindful of that distinction myself.

        1. “Life” begins long before conception. Both the embryo and the sperm are fully “alive” prior to the zygote.

          Any pharmacist who doesn’t understand that should have their license revoked.

          The point of contraception is to avoid ABORTION of a fetus. Not delivering contraception is PROMOTING more ABORTIONS.

  12. Zach,

    I’m certain that’s the clause and matter at hand and to which I addressed in my reply to Duane.

  13. PJ @ Oct 24, at 7:06 pm

    The misogyny in action here is plain as day – it emanates from those like you, like John who refuse to engage the fundamental concerns Dayna expressed – that Vinehout’s position is not pro-choice.

    So you are really against choice then PJ. In this case my choice to engage (or not) any further regarding Dayna’s point on Vinehout. You prove it with your statement and your presumption about myself and “others like me.” The fact (try using them some time) that I understood Dayna’s point about Vinehout and choice, and that I was simply satisfied with Dayna’s comment (and thanked her) was MY choice. To you then, misogyny now emanates from me for having accepted someone’s POV and that I CHOSE not to, “engage,” and carry it forward, like some knight on a shining steed, on a holy quest to protect fair maidens everywhere, and I simply let my conversation with her rest at that point?

    Letting it go at that point indicates nothing about whether I agreed or disagreed with Dayna. I had asked a question and received a clear answer, clear enough that it stood on its own merits, PJ.

    I did suggest John give it a rest because at that point he and you both were digressing and deflecting. You’re digressing and deflecting now. So, give it a rest, NQ. Try something courageous – admit that you’re willing to go soft when it comes to women’s rights to control their own bodies.

    Yet, in your rush to unabashed, full blathering lunacy (in-artfully disguised as rational academic reason and thought), you constructed an erroneous presumption and conclusion about my (and another’s) view on women’s rights and you then used it, in your breathless, predictable defensiveness, to attempt to verbally denigrate me and a simple statement. Namely that now I (and another) are cowards and therefore unwilling to charge to the front lines in defense of women’s rights like you are doing, and which is apparent from your statement, a mandatory action (again no choice allowed by you) or, therefore, risk being subject to and deserving of your shame and scorn for not, “engaging,” to your standards and personal satisfaction.

    LO’freakin’L. You take the cake, PJ. Careful you don’t choke on it, I’d surely miss your entertainment value.

  14. NQ,

    You attempted to obfuscate and distract (as you often do) in your first replies to Dayna. You were rebuffed and for a brief moment appeared to gather some sense. You retreated and you almost did so gracefully. But neither in your retreat nor in your initial muddling attempt did you engage the embedded concerns which are fundamentally critiques of underlying misogyny. John Casper, on the other hand, marched onward with his bloviations and he achieved what he and you so often achieve – deflection, distraction, and ultimately dismissal. In your flitting peacock grandstanding you and he and Steve for that matter all perpetuated a fundamentally misogynistic discourse that silences the perspective of Progressive women. Those are the facts, NQ. That you now absurdly paint my decision to take up the perspective that is so often squelched by you and your irrational compatriots as a “knight on a shining steed” further demonstrates your underlying misogyny and your attempt to silence a perspective representative of Progressive women.

    You offered a fair self-description earlier – with your comments you engage in opinion. That yours is well-informed I would challenge. However, you are spot on – you remain within the anti-intellecutal and irrational realm of spewing opinion not the realm of rational exchange of ideas. Moreover rational exchange of ideas is impossible in an irrational environment – the kind of environment you and your irrationals create and continue to nourish.

    I’ll take my critique of your discourse further – It is precisely and exactly due to peacock grandstanding with illogically derived convolutions peddled by you and your irrationals that prevents even the slightest mention let alone rational discussion of gender and misogyny on this blog or for that matter race.

  15. PJ,

    Where else can we find examples of your discourse that we can all read and follow and be so eloquently instructed by? Any other blogs you can provide some links to? I’d really like to see how other people react to being blessed by your intellectual presence. Any other alias we can refer to and know that it is you? Inquiring minds really want to know.

    1. nonquixote,

      Inquiring minds want to know, eh? You mean like the inquiring minds of irrational gunners vehemently opposed to my position to repeal the 2nd Amendment, like John Casper, who incessantly, manipulatively and coercively badgers about revealing my identity, where I live, and any number of queries to locate my person? A pattern which I regard as personally threatening to my person.

      Or your own previous attempts to discover my identity, my home, and my location by intrusively badgering about where I spend my time which I also regarded as personally threatening. At that time I indicated that you had delved too far, that you had broached appropriateness and the line of invasive intrusion. At that time I asked you not to do it again. And now another, albeit clever, but thoroughly hostile attempt to discover something of my identity by querying if I might have an alias somewhere? I asked you once; I’m not asking you again.

      So, the answer is no, I’ll not be divulging anything about me to you for any purpose because no answer is germane to anything under discussion here. I will regard any further attempt of any kind, directly or indirectly to “derive my identity” as a direct threat to my personal safety.

      So you are clear: Given the intimately hostile environment created by relentless badgering about my identity, where I live, and where I spend my time I regard your current inquiry a hostile threat to my personal safety and I will regard any future attempts directly or indirectly to “derive my identity” a direct and hostile threat to my person.

  16. Look, PJ doesn’t need to provide examples of anything to anyone, nor does PJ need to “prove” anything to anyone here.

    I’d really appreciate it if folks could stay on topic and not let comments devolve into personal attacks or interrogations.

Comments are closed.