Mary Burke: focus group tested, DPW approved!

Found on Facebook, courtesy of Kristin Hansen, the 5th Congressional District Representative for the Democratic Party of Wisconsin.

Excuse me, but as someone who is part of the evil “party”, no one told Mark Harris to sit down and shut up. You have no idea what his plans are or the strategy he might be developing for his political future. And as for the “boo-hoo no one asked ME who I want for governor” – here’s the thing: there were 41 focus groups of “regular people” held across the state and you know what came out of it? That the toughest competition for Walker would be 1) a woman, 2) who is highly educated, 3) who has a business background and is literally a job creator, 4) who has deep roots in Wisconsin and 5) is not a sitting politician. That person is Mary Burke and she will be a great candidate. Also, those who are whining that she hasn’t personally come to their house yet, FYI she has been doing meet and greets in Northern Wisconsin for weeks because that’s a key voting block for any statewide race. In conclusion, we are not idiots.

Here’s a screenshot of Kristin Hansen’s Facebook posting (click to see the full size image, which comes courtesy of Chris “Capper” Liebenthal).

Kristin Hansen FB capture

Just to be clear, while point number 5 in the Facebook posting above asserted that the focus groups full of “regular people” wanted someone who was not a sitting politician, Mary Burke is very definitely a sitting politician by virtue of the fact that she was elected to the Madison School Board.

Further, my take from reading (and then re-reading the comment) is that we “regular people” who have concerns about Mary Burke’s candidacy should stop whining and crying and should just trust that the folks in the Democratic Party of Wisconsin leadership know what’s best when it comes to beating Scott Walker in 2014, because their focus groups told them how to win!

And speaking of focus groups…

Hidden Valley Ranch Focus Group- SNL – Mod DB


Related Articles

44 thoughts on “Mary Burke: focus group tested, DPW approved!

  1. I was only kidding when I said they put a bunch of variables in a computer and came up with Mary Burke’s name. I had no idea that’s how DPW picked her as the candidate!

    By the way, it seems that Burke is doing OK, starting to hit some good points and meet people. But she’s got a ways to go, and I think she needs to be pushed well before the general election.

    And the whole demand from DPW types to “get on board with Burke and shut up,” is really off-putting. We will decide if we want to get on board at this time, thank you.

  2. I do like Burke as a candidate. But here’s the problem: WHEN WE HAVE PRIMARIES, WE WIN. WHEN WE DON’T, WE LOSE. I suspect she’d win the primary, and would be the stronger candidate for it, but this DPW “clear the field” stuff is just not a good idea.

  3. I could do the same thing by establishing my biased variables and,voila, best candidate = Kathleen Vinehout.

    Or for worst candidate: Must be a college dropout, no business experience, extreme prevaricator, associates with felons, hates unions and the working class, never had a real job, supported entire career by taxpayer, dyes hair black except for bald spot, endorsed by Redneck Joe Scarborough = Hmmmmm?

  4. Classic D “hippie,” punching, we want you vote, your donation, we don’t want your opinion. Most of us here have stated we have not lost focus on who the real target is, Walker. Most of us have stated we will or intend to support the eventual candidate running against Walker.

    I can name the two or possibly three people in my county’s D party leadership who were likely polled (if/when this happened) as part of a focus group.

    I can also visualize the, “leading,” yes/no or multiple choice “survey,” questions presented to reach the claimed focus group study results. Farmer or global corporate head? Woman (y/n)? Ivy league or other college educated?…..

  5. Whatever you think of whichever candidate, I can assure you – from my living, bleeding experience – that any decision of the Democratic Party of Wisconsin is made with the honest goal of preserving Wisconsin’s progressive tradition. This tetchy back-and-forth in the ether, and this ghastly impugning of people I know are honest, principled actors, hurts to watch from a remove. They won’t push back because it wouldn’t change your minds or do them any good – but know that they are good people doing what they can in the way that they can. I don’t lie or compliment, so take that as you will. The DPW has faults, it would be crazy to say otherwise, but not wanting the best outcome for the people who save their leftovers and punch time clocks is not one of them. Let’s have it out about the gubernatorial candidate and voice any and all frustrations, but please, remember, in the face of the awful might and terrible record of Scott Walker, solidarity is a two-way street.

    1. Graeme, while I do not know the players personally the way you clearly do, I think that it is very difficult to accept the idea that the Democratic Party is working tirelessly to defend the progressive tradition of Wisconsin. When it comes to the Wisconsin Idea and the progressive traditions, I don’t think that “the ends justifies the means” would be the motto of Robert La Follette and I don’t think that an heiress with no stated progressive policy positions and a record of being on the wrong side of progressive policy votes would be his candidate. Lining up every force possible and relying upon highly selective focus groups to avoid primaries is sort of antithetical to what I consider the progressive people-centered tradition you claim they are trying to defend. While Solidarity is absolutely a force that binds everyone equally and should work in every direction within the movement, it is dependent upon consensus and there is obviously no consensus around Mary Burke. You can be principled with all the best motives in the world and be wrong so I am not going to impugn Mike Tate’s character just his effectiveness but it seems clear that his effectiveness in defending the legacy of Wisconsin progressives is extremely poor.

    2. Thanks for chiming in Mr Z. I do value your opinion and those of DPW, but exploring concerns is healthy at this stage in the process and my intimate experience with the workings my local D party is part of what forms my real concern.

      Forth right answers, for instance, a copy of the survey, the make-up of the 41 focus groups and a few details like that, I would not consider as being push-back but which I would define more along the lines of party transparency, which cannot hurt in building understanding and confidence in any strategy that is being perceived here.

    3. Graeme, we must be allowed to challenge, respectfully of course, that or who our conscience and intellect dictates is in error.

      Also, we learn not only by listening, but equally important, by speaking out. It is only when our illogical or erroneous facts or opinion are given voice or written word can they be corrected.

  6. If there’s another candidate you support, by all means advocate for her or him. But I’m really not clear how your constant denigration of Mary Burke and DPW is going to help us defeat Scott Walker. Nobody asked me either, but I wholeheartedly agree with the focus groups; in fact, I was advocating for Mary Burke’s candidacy a year ago for precisely those reasons.

  7. 41 focus groups out of 72 counties. Were there unwanted results that aren’t being referred to or that have been deleted? Were only strongly D leaning counties surveyed? Old enough to have gone to school when learning to think was still considered a valuable asset.

    DPW is apparently also out to get a candidate preference in place, IMHO, that does not necessarily reflect a choice that will sit well with independents or labor, or even disgruntled R voters, or any other parts of a coalition of support that will be needed to overcome Walker.

    1. Our Jackson County Dems group underwent such a survey or opinion response in mid-summer. After expressing our choices, it was revealed that Mary Burke was a front-runner at that time although none of our group offered her name. It was also at that meeting that I heard Donald Driver mentioned, not by our group as a candidate.

  8. Does Ms Hansen ever say that DPW did those focus groups? No.

    And do you know why she can’t say that? Because DPW didn’t do the focus groups. They were done independently by a third party.

    A more interesting and credible blog post might have been asking who did the focus groups, who participated, who used them, what are the results and who paid for them.

    But now the entire premise of your post is dead wrong.

    1. Zach,

      As I recall, the focus groups to which Kristin refers were led by someone hired by a coalition of unions, not the DPW.
      The facilitator had asked to come to one of our Drinking Liberally Waukesha meetings, but we were already booked with speakers at the time…


      1. I’ve edited to reflect that the DPW didn’t run the focus groups, but some within the DPW certainly played a role in populating the focus groups, as you’re well aware.

    2. Appreciate you sharing your inside knowledge of this particular survey(s?). The post is absolutely germane, if for nothing else that the clearly insensitive and pejorative attitude demonstrated by Ms Hansen in her comment language, “boo-hooing,” real concerns about a Burke candidacy. Being told to basically STFU and get in line is what trigger my mild ire here, and questions about the survey, as you have suggested as the proper place to be focusing, arose after a bit of thought, but still is not to me the most potentially divisive action, hindering solidarity against Walker.

      Ms Hansen should be issuing a public apology and quickly.

      1. Nonquixote-

        The post is about DPW doing focus groups. The truth is that DPW didn’t do that, it was done outside the realm of the party. These things happen in politics all time and legally aren’t controllable. That’s the topic at hand.

        As much as it would make for great copy, it just isn’t true.

        1. Thanks for responding Jeff, Work took me away from the discussion.

          I agree with Steve below @10:51 AM.

          I will go further at this point and recommend to Ms Hansen that she should consider resigning from the DPW Administrative Committee along with an apology.

          This post began with two copies of her comments, comments which many may let slide, but I’m not one of those. I would disagree with you that this post was foremost about focus groups, but I am not Zachary, so we’ll possibly learn more later.

          Who actually initiated the survey she referred to, came out in the discussion, that is helpful to everyone, for sure. As you had some inside information, maybe you can share more detail about the survey. I am not in position to know who else to ask. Ms Hansen might even have mentioned the survey sponsors in her offensive comment at the time she made it. Something like, “…outside surveys have indicated…”

          1. No. Ms Hansen should not be resigning or even considering it. She is new to the party structure, and from what I’ve seen she’s been tireless in her work thus far in the reddest district in the state. I commend the thankless work she has done and continues to do.

            As for specific information about the focus groups (not a survey, big difference)…I don’t have them at the current time. I know that I was given a photocopy but that was awhile ago. I’m betting that that copy hit the circular file awhile ago.

            On a personal note, I hope at some point in the very near future this trend of going after fellow progressives with “gotchas” ends. We’ve all got too much to get done before November 2014 to be spending time going after each other.

            1. I’ll agree there is a lot to do, but asking honest questions about official D policy, choices and strategy and then wanting answers and explanations to honest concerns and questions is not too much to ask or even demand.

              If you think that these comments and concerns amount to nothing more than, “gotcha,” aggravation interfering with normal party business, I would urge you to please re-examine that particular dismissive. Deja vu, quit our boo-hooing, all over again? Dog ate the file? Forgot who organized the focus group?

              Pardon my being quite a bit left of progressive, I don’t pretend to represent anyone here but myself. Very sincerely though, my thanks to you for engaging here today, that is something of a real positive in itself.

            2. Jeff,

              Appreciate you stopping by and commenting under your own name. It’s up to you, but feel very free not to respond. I’m simply trying to offer sound electoral strategies.

              1. I’m very concerned about Dems losing voters to the Socialist party, greens, …. Aside from abortion rights, they see no difference between the parties. IMHO, Wade Michael Page was a wake-up call on “social destruction.” We’ve lost economic mobility. Income inequality is at record levels and everyone knows someone who has lost their job, their home, both.

              2. I know public sector unions aren’t popular right now, but without them, I don’t see the private sector unions surviving. I think the Democratic message has to be that the real “job creators,” are consumers with money in their pockets. IMHO, that means an unswerving commitment to “collective bargaining.”
              Eisenhower and Reagan were both union guys.

              3. My guess is that national Democrats (and Republicans) have taken huge pay-offs from Big Pharma (and others) to keep pot legalization off state ballots. Big Pharma’s got synthetic pot that doesn’t work. They want more time to patent a formulation that does. My guess is that the national Democratic party is telling DPW they want to save legalization as a get-out-the-vote in 2016. I would never encourage anyone, who did not already have a serious illness, to use it, but the prohibition against alcohol didn’t work either.

              IMHO if DPW will not follow Colorado and Washington, it loses significant credibility. IMHO the argument that Wisconsin will lose tourism dollars to CO and WA, works.

              I’m well aware that law enforcement unions would be very, very angry. If you can take money from taxes on pot to keep their pay and benefits stable through a 10 – 15 year transition, I have no problem with that. Everything I see confirms legalization has very significant support on the right. The prohibition is a text-book example of a “job-killing-government-regulation.”

              It would also jump start urban agriculture, aquaponics…. that could be a huge boon to the Wisconsin economy.

              4. IMHO, GOP has done a great job of painting Dems as the party of “pity liberalism.” If you can’t make it on your own, vote “Democrat.” IMHO, DPW should get strongly behind a FEDERAL job guarantee that replaces welfare and most kinds of unemployment insurance. This link is very strong .

              I think it would be a great campaign theme, and WIGOP would be under a lot of pressure to support it.

              5. State and local taxes fund state and local governments. There’s a growing number of economists @stephaniekelton @wbmosler … who say that is NOT case for the federal government. They argue that the only constraint on FEDERAL spending is inflation.

              Wall Street’s already figured this out. “Bank Of America Dumps $75 Trillion In Derivatives On U.S. Taxpayers With Federal Approval”

              To put $75 trillion into perspective, U.S. GDP in 2012 was only $16 trillion. Very conservative estimates are that we blew $6 trillion in Iraq and Afghanistan. Social Security’s trust fund is $2.3 trillion. The rest of Wall Street has a lot more derivative exposure.

              The oligarchs control the media and the GOP. They’re behind the “we’re broke,” message that the “federal deficit will bankrupt our children and grandchildren,” that’s killing state Democratic parties. Economists call this problem, “intergenerational debt.” W/R/T Social Security, it’s productivity that drives the “dependency ratio,” whether fewer workers will be able to feed, clothe and house a much larger aging population. If we don’t have enough clean water, safe food, and sustainable energy, the size of Social Security’s Trust Fund won’t matter. It’s that message would strengthen Ms. Burke’s very admirable stand here

              I don’t know how you package this for low information voters, but Dems have to get the message out that the vast majority of FEDERAL revenue is NOT getting back to the states/99%. I hope Walker’s refusal of the $800 million for high speed rail will be a cornerstone of the Democratic campaign. The “debt” that will bankrupt our children and grandchildren is the climate debt. We need massive FEDERAL investment on infrastructure, (direct help to states via block grants), health care, education, research.

              I think this piece is good and it argues for LOWER federal taxes “How High Should Taxes Get on the Wealthy?”

              Apologies if this wasn’t helpful.

              1. “It would also jump start urban agriculture, aquaponics…. that could be a huge boon to the Wisconsin economy.”

                Sell that. Seriously, Casper go out there and sell that. That quote sums up your whole long winded comment & the weird ass vibe of this comment section. Do you think you’d receive anything more than empty looks and glazed over eyes? Think about it. Who would campaign on that? SMH.

                You’re worried about dems losing votes to the socialist party? Dustbin fodder.

                1. stuff, thanks. Glad you liked it.

                  You’d be surprised how many people don’t understand what you do, the rising costs of farm land. “Across Corn Belt, Farmland Prices Keep Soaring”


                  Along with reducing the “food mile,” and “food security,” those rising land costs are a big driver of urban agriculture and aquaponics.

                  I like the diagram below which integrates aquaponics/hydroponics with cutting edge anaerobic digestion (that’s a sustainable and local source of natural gas).*


                  It’s from the link below which goes into more detail.


                  As you know, Dickson Despommier’s kind of the father of vertical farming. In this link he refers to Chicago’s “The Plant,” regarding the falling cost of spectrum specific LED’s (light-emitting diode). He thinks that will be another significant driver in the profitability of urban agriculture.

                  It optimizes a year-round growing season and you’re only using electricity to generate light in the spectrums that your plant needs.

                  Are you as optimistic as he is?

                  Do you have a copy of U.S. specs for injecting renewable natural gas into our pipelines? The only one I’ve seen is from Europe. Would you like to see it?

                  Glad you brought up “selling.” As you know, Wisconsin lost its commercial fishing industry.

                  “The Decline of a Once-Great Fishery”

                  Since you know a lot about aquaponics, any chance that along with pot, it could play a role in restocking Lake Michigan with perch?

                  “Can Lake Michigan perch be revived? ”

                  OT, is anyone more cutting edge on aquaponics/vertical farming than the guys at Bright Agrotech in Laramie?


                  Thanks in advance.

                  *If you generate hydrogen from the sustainably produced natural gas, aren’t you really getting into some seriously carbon-negative territory?

      2. I doubt Kristin realized the comment she posted out of frustration from her personal FB account would be used a “proof” of anything in a Blogging Blue blog post.

        I understand that anything any one of us posts in any sort of public forum is fair game for any kind of blog post, but would it have been better to follow up with Kristin and ask for her to clarify her points before sharing them with a wider audience? In my opinion, yes.

        1. Morning Lisa,

          I decided I won’t tweet or book my face until I am paid for my personal information and get residuals each time it is accessed by commercial entities. 😉 Therefore, I would never likely have seen such an important expression of attitude by a high-level committee member of a major state political party.

          I am grateful it was posted here.

  9. I am not impressed with Burke’s campaign thus far. Her main sticking point is she has a lot of money but the only topic on her website is how to make a donation.

  10. Jeff,

    I think nonquixote is suggesting that Kristin Hansen issue a public apology for her facebook comments. I agree. Dems in general need to quit with the ” whiners ” ” boo hooers ” ” suicide mission Dems ” stuff. Robert Gibbs and the Obama people used it a lot in the run-up to the 2010 election after progressive outrage over how the ACA was passed without even a fight for a public option. As we all know 2010 didn’t go so well.

    Sarcasm, snark, etc, is for bloggers, not DPW officials and party reps. Just the way it is.

    1. Agree with Jeff’s point. Slapping down those of us who date to ask questions a full year before an election is not a way to win elections.

      Sure, Solidarity is a two-way street,l Graeme, but almost all of us on this post with vote Dem and back the candidate in Fall 2014. We know how damaging it would be if Scott Walker stayed in office. That being said, we have the right to ask these questions of Mary Burke or Kathleen Vinehout or any other Dem candidate, to make sure THAT CANDIDATE HAS THE BEST CHANCE IF WINNING.

      And Dems win when they give a strong, progressive message. For example, Mary Burke sounded good when she slammed Walker and WisGOP for turning down the Medicaid expansion. But she sounds lame when she says ” Any tax cut is good.” Let’s use these months to vet and improve the candidate, whoever that candidate is

      1. Jake,

        Did you mean to type, “Agree with Steve C’s point.” ??

        My lunch break is over, interesting exchange this morning.

        1. Yes I did. I think I’d read some Jeff Simpson thing right before it, and my brain was stuck typing one thing while thinking another. Also, I hate my phone’s spell-check.

  11. In reading all these comments I’d like to share a couple of thoughts.

    One- Most of the people here, moderates, independents, progressives and liberals all hold dearly to “by the people, for the people”, not by the party for the party.

    Two- All of us want to see Walker out of office.

    Three- A primary would allow the Democrats and the candidates in general get their message out longer (what ever that message is) and with more exposure than if there is only one candidate. The more name recognition and better understanding of the candidates gives them a better opportunity to connect with independents, which the Dems will need if they want to win. And while it dilutes the Dem campaign dollar pool, it also drains the Repblican pool fightning two or three v.s. a singular candidate.

    Just my two cents.

  12. Zach,

    I think it was Milton Glaiser who said that the amount of backing anyone throws into something or someone depends on the amount of investment they have in that person of thing. And since I’ve been to several Vinehout events and she has been to quite a few of the EC Democratic events I will be in Mondovi on Saturday with our party offering information on Kathleen Vinehout to the local constituency and hopefully the local and Statewide media.

    BTW the focus group sketch was the funniest I’ve seen on SNL in the last two years.

  13. kristen has nothing to do with it. She just opened up to the process. The person/people who have explaining to do are the person/people who thought our problems could be solved by a focus group.

  14. For the record, I don’t think Kristen Hansen should resign, nor should she issue an apology.

    I posted the comments because I felt that they gave some valuable insight from the perspective of someone who serves within the Democratic Party of Wisconsin’s leadership structure.

  15. Kristen Hansen may regret releasing her statement when she reads today’s headlines. “Mary Burke’s campaign promise: no promises”

    GAH!!! Did she really say that?!

    Let’s not beat ourselves up questioning her ability to campaign. Whomever is advising her really needs to get their fanny blistered. Weak roll out now becomes a subject of ridicule.

    Good god Mike Tate. What the hell are you all thinking!?

  16. I am familiar with Kristin and was approached about a focus group to discuss options for gubernatorial candidates. It was my understanding this was not affiliated with the DPW. I didn’t attend, for some reason or another. I have no problem with the idea of a focus group: every means by which any of us can have input into the process of candidate emergence is another way in which our voices can be heard.

    I don’t think Mary Burke is our best choice as progressives, nor do I much like how she was unfurled. Kristin, for example knows that. But, neither I nor anyone else needs to always agree with those we respect – as long as we disagree respectfully.

    Apparently, Kristin, like many of us, expressed her views and frustrations on Facebook. I don’t regard re-posting people’s Facebook posts as good journalism. Attacking a person for what she posts on her Facebook account is reflective only of the attacker. We can all disagree. We can all argue each other’s points. There is absolutely no need to attack the person making a point – especially when that “point” is derived from where we all speak “off the cuff.”

    1. If one accedes to a more prominent position in a state-wide party, which presumably is tied to the national party (I’m not really sure what those national ties entail, another bit of non-transparency and criticism of the state party for failing to inform rank and file who have actually inquired), then there is no comment made which can be automatically excused as being, “off the cuff,” and therefore not open to criticism or discussion of the statement made or the person who made the statement. Sorry.

    2. Forgot to add that I admire Ms Hansen, as in kind of an off hand complement, for honestly saying what she was thinking. I value honesty highly.

  17. Sly this half hour going on with facts and figures about TREK’s manufacturing being near 98% in China since about 2007. We are with you Kristen and DPW. People’s (of China) Choice./s

    1. Jesus Christ. Did that come up during the vetting process? Did anyone bother to ask the 41 focus groups how they’d feel about a candidate whose resume is almost entirely about her time at a company that, since 2007, has manufactured almost 98% of its products in China? How will Burke respond to questions about that?

      ” In conclusion, we are not idiots ” says Ms. Hansen. No? Are you sure?

      1. I was wrong Steve, TREK is only manufacturing .5% of their bicycles in the US. Sly was commenting on a private phone interview he had apparently had with Ms Burke, recently. If that radio segment gets posted to his archives it is worth a listen. I may have mistaken the date that the manufacturing moved overseas. It may have been earlier. I’ll need to listen again.

        Another “party,” Democrat wrote a blog posting at which Ms Hansen has commented.

        Formidable resume’ and from my very own alma mater. Specialty includes public relations.

  18. Goodness gracious. Speaking of veting….are we rolling down the Ron Johnson/Sarah Palin trail? Lack of vetting. Not really talking to the press.


Comments are closed.