In an opinion piece published yesterday, former U.S. Rep. Dave Obey shared his view that the problems that led to the lackluster election results here in Wisconsin on November 4th were more a product of poor messaging on the part of the national Democratic Party, and not because of the failures of Mike Tate, chairman of the Democratic Party of Wisconsin.
There is no question that when a political party suffers losses of the magnitude experienced by the Democratic Party on Nov. 4 a serious review of events and operations is required.
But if we are to draw the right lessons from those losses, we first should heed the well-known physician’s warning: “first do no harm.” Such a review must be rooted in pragmatic analysis, not predictable scapegoating.
That is why I have significant concerns about a number of comments I have seen since the election that suggest the culprit is Mike Tate, chairman of the Democratic Party of Wisconsin.
I have no doubt that the mechanics of the state party effort need to be reviewed and analyzed. In fact, Tate will certify that I have been a long-term nag on that score. But it is essential to put things in perspective.
So let me ask several questions:
Does anyone seriously believe that the Democratic Party of Wisconsin chairman has the slightest capacity to overcome the weaknesses of the national Democratic message on the central issue of sagging wages and expanding income disparity? In fact, week after week, the national Democratic Party was knocked off stride as numerous issues — the Islamic State group, immigration, Ebola — pushed the economy, wages and jobs into the back seat. If the White House and national party leadership could not regain focus on those issues, why is that the fault of any state party chair?
Having read the post-election thoughts of Dave Obey, John Nichols, and a host of others, I’ve come to realize that while I’m certainly angry and upset at the results of the 2014 elections here in Wisconsin, my blame of Mike Tate as the main culprit behind the lackluster results of the 2014 elections was misplaced. It’s clear there’s plenty of blame to be shared by Mike Tate, the Assembly Democratic Campaign Committee (ADCC), the State Senate Democratic Committee (SSDC), and a host of other folks within the political establishment in Wisconsin.