What has Mike Tate done in four years to earn his $105,717 per year salary?

In response to criticisms I’ve made of the Democratic Party of Wisconsin leadership in the wake of Tuesday’s awful election results, one commenter noted the “the state party chair is just not a very important position.”

If that is in fact the case (which I’m sure many party establishment apologists will argue it is), then why does DPW Chairman Mike Tate earn over $105,000 per year in salary?

The state Dem Party’s federal campaign finance reports for 2012 show $105,717 in salary payments to Tate over the year and $3,487 in reimbursements for health insurance.

If Party Chair really isn’t that important of a position, then why does Mike Tate get paid as if it is? After all, Tate’s six-figure salary is over double the median household income in Wisconsin, which according to the U.S. Census Bureau is $52,627.

I think it’s high time Wisconsin’s Democrats start demanding more “bang for their buck” when it comes to their party chair (not to mention the rest of the party’s leadership), because thus far Mike Tate hasn’t shown me much in the way of forward progress or electoral wins to justify his six-figure salary.


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41 thoughts on “What has Mike Tate done in four years to earn his $105,717 per year salary?

  1. This post reminds me of the recall thinking. Let’s force an issue but oops, we have no winnable candidate nor a plan.

    1. EmmaR, how do you know there’s not a candidate to replace Tate? You presume there isn’t simply because a candidate has stepped forward, but that doesn’t mean things aren’t happening behind the scenes.

          1. Way past time. There’s been no effort to do anything other than gloat and attempt to piss people off. You have my vote too.

            1. nonquixote,

              This is in response to your question on an earlier thread, which I am no unable to find.

              I prefer a federal job guarantee, but this on a basic income guarantee is excellent. http://www.interfluidity.com/v2/5589.html

              Would it take about $3 trillion a year to give every adult around $2,000/month? My guess is that’s in the ball park. US GDP’s around $16 trillion a year, so there would be some inflationary pressures on food and low income housing. But inflation is what innovators want. It gives them a chance to improve productivity and or quality. Might be a real shot-in-the-arm for local organic food farmers/gardeners.

              The problem with Obama care is that it forces people to buy LOUSY coverage. Wingnuts are right, the employer and individual mandates are un-Constitutional.

              Here’s what single payer should look like

              Everyone gets a ‘medical debit card’ with perhaps $5000 in it to be used for qualifying medical expenses (including dental) for the year.
              Expenses beyond that are covered by catastrophic insurance.
              At the end of the year, the debit card holder gets a check for the unused balance on the card, up to $4,000, with the $1,000 to be spent on preventative measures not refundable.
              The next year, the cards are renewed for an additional $5,000.

              Doctor/patient time doubled as doctor/insurance company time is eliminated.
              The doctor must discuss the diagnosis and options regarding drugs, treatments, and costs with the patient rather than an insurance company.
              Individuals have a strong incentive to keep costs down.
              Doubling the time doctors have available for patients increases capacity and service without increasing real costs.
              Total nominal cost of approx. $1.5 trillion ($5,000×300 million people) is about 10% of GDP which is less than being spent today, so even when catastrophic costs are added the numbers are not financially disruptive and can easily be modified.
              Eliminates medical costs from businesses, removing price distortions and medical legacy costs.
              May obviate the need for Medicare and other current programs.
              Eliminates issues regarding receivables and bad debt for hospitals and doctors.
              Eliminates the majority of administrative costs for the nation as a whole for the current system.
              Patients can ‘shop’ for medical services and prices as desired.


              1. Thanks, will get to the link soon. I guested correctly where you might be getting the plan from. Could probably afford to cut half the known military, NSA CIA et.al. budgets and easily afford to invest in infrastructure too. Nationalize all health care, provide schooling for interested medical students, might as well nationalize all utilities, oil and gas production, nationalize create and modernize public transit.

      1. Sure -if there’s a great candidate or candidates, let them step forward. What I object to is villifying those who actually do. Talk is easy but very few tried for Tate’s job last time. No one but Burke ran for Governor (yes, there was Hulsey). And I think it is classless to print someone’s salary and ask if they’re worth it. If we’re going to do that, then let’s start with the real money makers- CEO’s, hedge fund managers, etc. Or in politics, I’d focus on the consultants. Are they worth the fees they charged the Burke campaign, do you suppose?

  2. My only contact with Dem headquarters was in the form of several urgent phone call messages neither acknowledged nor answered regarding equal time for Kelly Westlund on the Morning Joe program on MSNBC. Her Republican opponent was featured twice and Walker once.

    I’ll have to think twice next year when I am asked to renew my membership $.

  3. Zach – when did you find out Mike Tate makes 105 grand?? He makes that because he thinks HE CAN GET AWAY WITH IT. You sound like me when I was trying to decide whether I supported ACT 10 and I found out the teachers union had an insurance company and sold health insurance. What?? What are teachers doing selling health insurance?? I didn’t know that. Its not put up to bid in many districts and costs HOW MUCH?? Gosh I never had a problem with public unions before but maybe I need to take a closer look at this. Maybe this is just the tip of the ice berg and you need to look at what else the democrat party is spending your donations on. And I suppose if I complain the republican chair is making six figures republicans will say “Well look at the results.”

  4. Something that struck me occurred during the last week of the campaign. I received, via U.S. mail, an actual letter (albeit a form letter) from the Marathon County Republican Party that delineated all the “R” candidates who would appear on my local ballot, and a recommendation that I vote for each of them. As I crumpled the mailing and tossed it into my wastebasket, I was thinking, “Gee… that was kind of neat. I wonder if the Dems will be doing something like that.” They didn’t.

    It’s the simple things that can make a big difference.

  5. We have no winnable candidate because dem leadership is pathetic. Mary Burke’s first ad centered on Ronald Reagan for cripes sake. Way to rev up the base. Anyone who swallows RR trickle down BS is NOT going to vote against the republican machine. This trend of dems being gop-light makes them look like they are giving shelter to failed conservative ideology. We need fighters not hand holders.

  6. What is it that none of my comments were published?? You people wonder why you lost so I tried to tell you from a small business persons perspective. If this site is just for democrats to blow sunshine up each others hiny how wonderful your strategy and message is, then I wont waste my time.

    1. Robert, all first-time commenters go through comment moderation. I have my reasons for doing that, but I’m sure you can see that all your comments have been approved and posted.

    2. Robert, what kind of a small business do you run that you can afford the time to read and comment on blogs DURING the day?

  7. All I want to really know is….. what will now happen to the Solidarity Singers…. could make a great story.

  8. Mr. Tate and the vast majority of the Dem “leadership” statewide has been a total disaster for several years. So much so that I often wondered if Tate wasn’t a Koch plant. I am not joking. Wisconsin has always had a very dark and toxic underbelly but now it is institutionalized. Just reading the right wing trolling on the state newspaper websites you get a taste of the bullying and “rub your face in it” mentality of the Wisconsin “majority.” All of this talk of “coming together” and working on “solutions” for problems is total crap. The “problem” is greedy and arrogant politicians like Walker, Vohs, and Kleefish that take 52 percent of the vote and govern like they got 92 percent. As for Mike Tate, he needs to be fired yesterday. It’s the GOPer way to reward failure with another term, not ours. We need a true firebrand progressive taking charge in this state and finding the same to run for office. I am tired of Republican-Lite over, and over, and over. Just my opinion as a very frustrated Wisconsin citizen.

  9. I have had no faith in Mike Tate since he was known in the press in 2006 as ‘Fair Wisconsin campaign chief Mike Tate’. Some might think I have less than an objective stance over Tate in regards to that campaign but he did a lousy job and the amendment won at the ballot box. Instead of that being a disqualifier for a higher position it seems to have buffeted his resume. Mike Tate is best at the one liners that makes for some lazy reporter to get a column ready for print but when it comes to the mental heft required to be a party chair Tate has failed miserably. Ed Garvey told to my face as we both were at the 2011 Capitol rallies of his displeasure with Tate in not wanting to jump into the battle aggressively from the start but instead wanting to wait to see how the unions handled the matter first. When seeking a definition for leadership in the Webster dictionary do not expect to find a photo of Tate alongside it. Sorry if I was too subtle in sharing my feelings…….

  10. I remember when the state party chair was unpaid and the Democrats had a Governor, 2 US Senators, a strong majority of the state’s congressional seats, and control of the State Senate.

  11. I think Mike Tate understands that he has to step down and I have every confidence he won’t run again. The biggest problem is less about Tate than the campaign mentality he adopted. TV attack ads and mailers and mediocre messaging. We won’t restore Wisconsin’s progressive heritage with these methods. We’re going to need people willing to do old fashioned face to face organizing. And we need to spend some of the TV/mailer money on it.

    1. SC, You may well be correct. It couldn’t hurt anyway.
      I don’t think any single factor is to blame, it’s a combination of things and it just didn’t work out.
      The thing I found most interesting and it was a risk, is that Mary Burke was selected, coached and executed sort of a “designer candidate” campaign. That appears to be a leadership choice and she willingly complied. If it would have worked Tate would be a hero, but,…
      Mary Burke’s concession speech was sincere and one of the best I’ve heard. She should have just been herself 13 months ago rather than 2 days ago.

      1. IG,

        My wife and I agree that Burke’s concession speech showed us the Burke we needed to see 9 months ago. It’s mind boggling how top dollar consultants can’t seem to grasp the simplest, most obvious things.

  12. How the DPW appropriates the year round salary staff in general should be looked at. We might be better off sticking some of the staff as year round field organizers rather than in the DPW headquarters in Madison. The problem with Tate’s tenure is that other than holding onto a U.S. Senate Seat with Tammy Baldwin winning when Obama was on the ballot in 2012. Democrats have had zero pick ups in Wisconsin in the legislature or US House, Democrats have won nothing Democrats need to go back to building our lists and providing a good foundation for candidates. The Democrats can start with the spring elections.

  13. Why did the Democrats distance themselves from Obama? They should have been praising his successes all over the place, which are many, and bringing up his approval rating. This would surely have helped all democrats who were running. As a regular citizen, it struck me that they just climbed in with the Republicans by avoiding their association with Obama, just backing up the racism in the Republican base.

    1. I agree. Rather than trying to run away from Obamacare, the Democrats should have been embracing it. They could say “This system is better than the ‘profits over people’ one we had before. It has gotten more people health insurance. The Republicans want to go backwards on this issue.” Instead we get people who won’t even admit they voted for Obama. It’s pathetic. Democrats nationwide have to stand up, be proud of their beliefs, and criticize the regressive radical right’s policies when warranted.

  14. LOL. Blue fisters even play class warfare on themselves.

    Well at least the are consistent propagandizes

  15. Gee, where might the Dems found a mailing list of around a million people disgusted with Walker and willing to put their name on the line? I received only one Dem mailer, and that was put out independently by a local candidate. LL’s point that the Dems should not have run from Obama but should have embraced him and the fact that we are in recovery is well said. Unemployment is now lower than at any time during the Dubya years. Emphasis should have been placed on the national economy which would have taken some of the wind out of Walker’s the recession was all Jim Doyle’s fault ads since the corporate media was too lazy to do so.
    In many cases one had to actively seek out info on who was running as a Dem. for a given office while the Repub candidates name was in your face on yard signs and media. I suspect many district voters did not even know who was running against Glenn Goofman until they got to the polls. kudos LL and MEB

    1. Jonathan, this is for you and LL. Except for voting rights, on which he’s been pretty good, on what issues has Obama been a Democrat?

      The employment numbers are a joke. If you want to see how MAIN STREET is doing, check vehicle sales and housing sales. Admittedly, the administration and both parties do a pretty good job of camouflaging the truth, but everyone (except the elites) got wiped out in 2008. Kids who go to school are arm-pit deep in student debt.

      Obama hasn’t even indicted one Wall Street CEO.

      Today he sent 1,500 troops BACK into Iraq.

      In 2008, we gave him majorities in both Houses. He could have made D.C. a state. It’s got more people than Wyoming and some other states. That would have given Dems to reliable libs in the U.S. Senate. Obama and the corporate Dems wanted no part of that. In 2008, he could have passed single-payer. Instead, the IRS now forces Americans to pay for LOUSY coverage. The health insurance oligopoly loves Obamacare.

      He hasn’t been as bad as Romney, I’ll give you that. He’s a pro-choice, pro-LBGT Republican, just like Mary Burke.

      1. Additionally, on your take JC, car sales are up nation-wide as lenders (fearing no reprisals) are writing record numbers of liar’s loans for car purchases.

        On Wall Street and TBTF banks, Matt Taibbi, whistle-blower silenced at JP Morgan, enough here to impeach Obomba if the Republicans wish to pursue it, leverage on O. DoJ Enabling Fraud:


        As the newly US Senate takes to the floor Obomba will be in there fighting for us, while away on a ten day trip to Asia, TPP, the next trade deal, more jobs shipped overseas and US sovereignty sold out to multinational corps. Given the amount of time he has Barry will totally destroy the Democratic party and then voters will not have to be confused about one side or the other anymore, and understand it is the oligarchs in charge all along. He will be set for the rest of his life.

        Bringing Democrats closer to home, my D state assembly candidate thought pollution from factory farms was here to stay and the only problem with hill-top removal frac-sand mining was that the state was just not charging a high enough extraction fee for the resource from the out-of-state mining corps. That likely won over a lot of the area voting youth with futures to be thinking about. No amount of honest cajoling of this campaign and its managers could get them to understand they didn’t have much of a message, starting a year ago.

  16. I’ve seen this ” Tate is a Koch plant ” stuff elsewhere on FB and I think it should stop immediately, along with the crowd hollering that the voting machines are rigged and the election, and the elections of the last four years, have been stolen. I don’t think paranoia serves us in any way and if it spreads too far and wide it could become downright debilitating.

    And If you look through the campaign finance reports Jeff Simpson links to in his CogDis piece you’ll see that the vast majority of contributions went to democrats. As distasteful as it may be to us it’s hardly unusual for a lobbying firm to play, to some extent, both sides of the aisle. Burke should have never hired Tanya Bjork, but that’s old news. I like Jeff Simpson but I don’t see any good coming from hollering about traitors in our midst right now.

    We need clear heads going forward.

  17. Steve Carlson, I accept your point regarding my Koch plant comment. Still, the way he rolled out the campaign and MB staffing choices do not sit well with me.

    As far as the voting machine accuracy and integrity go, we’ll never know until we see the software and have it independently audited.

    1. Here you go, AJ. These are more current…

      DPW thru 10/20/14:

      WIGOP thru 10/20/14:

      Looks like data is still coming in for the final 2 weeks of the campaign. We do know that WIGOP raised another $1.6mil in the final 2 weeks, with $650k of that coming from Sheldon Adelson.

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