16 thoughts on “Here’s your open thread

    1. Jeff Smith isn’t the only DPW Chair candidate asserting Martha Laning isn’t qualified to be Chair based on her lack of formal political experience, and it’s discouraging to see those attacks. After all, Mike Tate had a lot of formal political experience when he was elected Chair, and while it was assumed that experience would help the DPW during his time as Chair, we all see how that has turned out.

      Perhaps it’s time for someone not “of” the political establishment to have a turn at running the party, because we’ve seen what the establishment gets us.

  1. Sexist, yes. Surprising coming from Jeff Smith, not in the least. He is the absolute least qualified candidate for the job.

    1. Robert, have you read, “Prospective Wisconsin Democratic Party boss is new to the fold?”

      “Laning has emerged as one of the front-runners in the hotly contested contest for Democratic Party chairman even though she has a spotty voting record and just joined the party a little more than a year ago.

      ‘I never was told you had to join the party or pay dues,’ said Laning, who ran unsuccessfully for state Senate last year.

      Just recently, Rae has come under criticism for donations made by an organization led by Thad Nation, head of Nation Consulting, where Rae works.

      In particular, that organization has contributed nearly $70,000 to seven conservative groups, including several with ties to billionaire industrialists David and Charles Koch, according to Aaron Camp’s blog, The Progressive Midwesterner.

      ‘I never worked on any of those clients,’ Rae said, dismissing the criticism.

      There is also talk about a possible political revolving door, in which Rae takes the post held by Tate, who then replaces Rae at Nation’s shop. All sides dismiss the rumor.

      ‘No job has been offered to me,’ Tate said.

      The latest to come under criticism is Laning, the 50-year-old Democratic volunteer.

      Records show she did not vote in the elections in which Supreme Court Justice Shirley Abrahamson won re-election and then-Justice Louis Butler lost to Michael Gableman. She also missed the primary for Justice David Prosser’s 2011 contest.

      ‘My voting record is not perfect,’ Laning conceded.”


      Robert, per your comment, please rank all the DPW candidates in terms of their qualifications.

        1. This Dj,

          Thanks, it’s nice to know someone here as such in-depth understanding of all five.

          1. Since Dems are getting clobbered in state and local races as the party of higher property taxes, please explain where all five are on legalizing marijuana. That’s the “low-hanging-fruit,” issue I see for GOTV (get-out-the-vote) in 2016, taking back the state Senate, and making significant gains in the state Assembly.

          1.1 Do you agree that control of the state Senate is the best path to blocking the elites control of Wisconsin?

          2. Please explain how you came to your ranking.

          3. I’m particularly interested in why you think Mr. Wineke is superior to Mr. Rae.

          4. How you can rank Ms. Laning right after Mr. Rae?

          4.1 Did you view Sen. Vinehout’s criticism of Nation Consulting and Rae?

          4.2 Sen. supports Ms. Laning. Given her withering criticism of Mr. Rae, doesn’t listing Ms. Laning third undercut your support for Rae?

          5. Would you care to identify yourself? Wouldn’t your rankings carry more weight if you weren’t hiding behind a handle?

          Thanks in advance.

          1. 1) Wineke, Rae, Jeff Smith pro Legalization. I do not know Laning’s position. Steve Smith against weed in all forms.

            1.1) The best path to stop the elites is Governor 2018. Followed by a redistricting done by the courts.

            2) Wineke has served as chair, and is a long standing elected official in Dane County. Rae has served in many administrative capacity for organizations that do organizing, and also served as a DNC member from Wisconsin. Lanings private sector experience, but limited political experience. Jeff Smith’s assembly history, and Steve Smith’s Assembly History. In my view Wineke, Rae, Laning are all qualified in different ways, for different reasons.

            3) I think Wineke is different than Rae. To me, again, Rae/Wineke/Laning are all qualified enough for me.

            4.1) I worry about Nation Consulting, but not because of their “Conservative Ties” which is, frankly an insane argument. But if you worked for Nestle, as an accountant does that mean that you want Water to be commoditized? No, it’s your job.

            4.2) When did I say I support Rae? I’m not sure who I’m going to vote for to be honest.

            5) No, and I don’t care what weight you give my rankings at all.

            1. This Dj,


              I had no idea any of the five supported legalization. I was remiss in not including that I wouldn’t encourage anyone, except for those who were using it for medicinal purposes, to use pot. But the prohibition against alcohol didn’t work either, so I think it makes sense to defund the drug gangs and use that revenue stream for state and local governments.

              1. To be fair, Wineke and Jeff Smiths response I heard on mairjuana is that we follow the platform

      1. Right now Joe Wineke is in the lead for me unless I see a lot out of the other candidates. Really my only fundamental difference with Joe Wineke is the DPW getting a caucus system like the DFL, he bases his stance on the open primary being one of the last great progressive reforms to get the party bosses out of the decision making, I respect where he is coming from, I just think today the caucus is a great way for activists to get a check on the billionaire class and grow the party at the grassroots level. The last time Joe Wineke was chair of the DPW the Democrats had both houses of the state legislature, Governor, 2 US Senators, and 5 Members of Congress. Plus President Obama carried Wisconsin with a landslide.

        Jeff Smith could get me on board with DFL style caucus’s and other long term structural improvements the the other candidates might not implement. He is also an outsider that knows his history of the party and I like that. If the dems would have taken up his voter registration bill in the legislature Tom Barrett might very well be governor today.

        Jason Rae, I need to see the Milwaukee County Chair tactics cleaned up. On the issues, fundraising he is good, he is somebody that could bring DFL style caucus’s to the table if he felt it would help the party, but I don’t know. I would also have to see what he plans to do with giving country parties access to building their own voter file.

        Martha Laning, I do not believe in the hit pieces against her about working at target, but when in your recent past you could not strongly stand up for a stand alone increase in the minimum wage, I have a difficult time supporting someone like that for chair. Combine that with lack of experience, lack of supporting a DFL style caucus, I frankly do not find her as chair material.

        1. Here’s the thing that confuses me about your statements.

          What would giving the county parties access to creating their own voter file do, logistically speaking?

          What typically happens when you build a data system like that without… like actual data, is human nature is to skew 4 3s, 3s to 2s and 2s to 1s, even 5s to 4s.

          But I’d love to see what you mean by your comment.

          1. DJ-Renters/Some College are where Democrats can make big gains, a lot of the walk lists are not really going after the new voters it takes to win. Also the list the state gives should show Republican office holders as Strong Republicans.

            I would love to see an election that the DPW and County Parties focus on renters rather than home owners and see what the outcome would be.

            I get the 5 star rating but I think for most people the 3 star rating is what they should considerate on especially new volunteers. I think the time dinking around with 2’s or 4’s because you cannot live with them being a 1, 5, or 3, has a huge opportunity cost by time lost digging up new 1’s from people the state feels are less likely to vote or they are not registered yet.

  2. Dennis, I don’t pretend to understand what’s going on, but could you explain your “slightly sexist,” claim?”

    OT, have you viewed “(Sen.) Kathleen Vinehout endorses Martha Laning For DPW Chair?”


    After the 13-minute mark, Sen. Vinehout scalds Nation Consulting and Jason Rae for selling Wisconsin Democrats out to corporate interests.

    I don’t pretend to know what’s going on, but I haven’t seen anyone challenge Sen. Vinehout’s assessment. In your view was Jeff’s attempt consistent with trying to block Jason Rae and Nation Consulting from controlling DPW?

    Thanks in advance.

  3. I recently put together a big list of WEDC awards that should be subject to further scrutiny in light of the Building Committee Inc fiasco. (Sorry for the self-promotion, but I think there’s something here and want to get as many eyes as possible on it.)


    Some examples:
    KCS International – $1k to Walker on same day tax credit was awarded
    Kohler Co. – $5k to Walker one week after tax credit awarded
    Catalytic Combustion Corporation – $5k to Walker about a week after the loan was awarded.
    Rice Lake Weighing Systems – $11k to Walker in the 32 days prior to the tax credit being awarded.
    Polaris Industries – $5k to Walker 2 weeks before tax credit awarded
    SSI Technologies – $17k to WIGOP in the 9 months between two tax credit awards

    There’s a LOT more. It’s painfully long, in fact. If you get a chance, please take a look at the list and forward part or all of it along to reporters or legislators you trust. Thanks!

  4. I tried to post this (below) over at the the http://bloggingblue.com/2015/05/a-new-development-dustup-in-the-dpw-chairs-race/ article this evening but apparently Steve Carlson took offense and didn’t allow it. I realize he is in the bag for Jeff Smith but he should at least let alternative viewpoints speak.

    Don’t be naive Steve. This was a sleezy and calculated attempt to convince delegates that Jeff is the front runner and if Martha’s supporters cross over and vote for Jeff he will “graceously” offer her the ED position. I am not even sure it is his to offer..

    And more importantly most insiders are saying Martha may actually be the front runner right now. Jeff is lucky if he is 3rd and may even be in 4th.

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