Saturday, February 27, 2010

Wrong Way Walker

Earlier in the week Scott Walker again showed that he will say just about anything to advance his political career. He basically promised to completely eliminate all unemployment in Wisconsin. Only days after making such a grandiose statement, how odd is it that he has actually moved us further in the opposite direction? The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel is reporting that Walker has laid off 76 working families. This is only the latest news in Walker's practice of sending people to the unemployment line. Given all of these facts and recent developments, maybe the Walker tally on jobs should start with a negative number.

Wrong Way Walker's actions this week remind me of this classic blooper in NFL history:

Friday, February 26, 2010

Thursday, February 25, 2010

T-Wall Just Can't Catch a Break (other than the tax kind)

Since Terrence Wall announced his candidacy for the Republican primary for U.S. Senate, his campaign has been nothing short of a long drawn out train wreck. Just consider some of the following that has happened in a very short period of time:

I'm sure that I may have missed a few items, but that is still quite a list of self-inflicted drama for such a small number of months. Now comes the news that although one of Wall's businesses have between $25-50 million in assets, it paid $0 in state income tax from 1999-2008.

While all of these things are endlessly stacking up against Wall, the least he could do is try to not hurt his own cause with key elements of the right-wing base. Nope, Wall showed just how tone-deaf he is with even his own political party. When recently appearing on fundamentalist Christian media network WVCY, he made a vague reference to the earth being billions of years old. Since much of the demographic that listens/watches WVCY are creationists, it didn't take very long for them to challenge him about the earth not really being billions of years old. Not only did they challenge him on it but it seems that they then questioned him entirely because of what he thought was just a throw away comment. Yeah, like I said, tone-deaf. He may as well have touted Tommy's micro-chip implanting technology on the show.

Even Terrence Wall can't give Terrence Wall a break (other than the tax kind).

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Does He Have Imaginary Friends Too?

While speaking before his Republican allies at Wisconsin Manufacturers and Commerce, Slippery Scott Walker made another outlandish statement based on zero substance. During his comments he again reinforced the point that he will say absolutely anything to advance his political career. In his comments to WMC, he promised that he would create 250,000 new jobs in Wisconsin if he were elected governor. Some media sources just carried the outlandish comments while others at least noted that it was not backed up with any specifics at all. In other words, it was just another empty Walker promise like so many that have come before it.

Other than the positions that he has filled with his political cronies, Scott Walker has not created a single job in Milwaukee County. In fact he has actually bragged about sending large amounts of working families to the unemployment lines throughout this Bush spawned recession. There are actually a multitude of ways that Walker has stood in the way of real job creation efforts in Milwaukee County. Consider just some of the following:

  • During his last run for governor Walker attacked the newly created Milwaukee 7 effort to promote the area, saying that it was like "putting lipstick on a pig". Because of the leadership of Mayor Tom Barrett and other regional leaders, this effort has been producing real results. These things have come in spite of Walker's endless political maneuvering and snipping from the sidelines.
  • Walker not only said "no thanks" to the federal funds that created or saved some 44,000 jobs in Wisconsin, but now he is talking about refusing federal funding for high speed rail which will create thousands of new long term jobs.
  • In his Budget for 2010 Walker pretended to care about economic development in Milwaukee County. This was disingenuous given the fact that he is the same person that staffed the county's former economic development division with unqualified cronies who ran it into the ground. After they made a mess of things, he then gave the division a "lower profile" and eliminated the development director position.
  • After the estate of a Milwaukee county resident so graciously left a $3.1 million gift in their will, Walker vetoed an effort to put those funds into a special interest bearing account to help fund future economic development efforts in Milwaukee County.

Given even this abbreviated version of Walker's terrible record on job creation, are we really supposed to believe his empty promises now? Especially when they are based on invisible data? What's next? Is Scott Walker going to tell us that he got those make-believe numbers from an imaginary friend? Sadly, that would be just as plausible as anything else that he will/won't say on the subject.

Recycled Partisans at MacIver Just Can’t Help Themselves

A couple of weeks ago I asked if the right wing MacIver Institute was actually handling all open records requests to Republican legislators. I asked this because they made an open records request that I filed with Rep. Leah Vukmir's office public before that office even bothered to acknowledge that they had in fact received my request. Apparently MacIver's duties in the Republican infrastructure go well beyond what I originally imagined. They not only handle open records requests for Republican legislators but apparently they even run interference for Republican candidates for the legislature.

MacIver has gone up with yet another blog which includes a portion of an open records request that I have submitted to another public official. This time they are apparently feeling protective of Libertarian Republican candidate for state senate, Ed Thompson. That request asked for official email records that fit a list of keywords and names over a specific period of time. Who knew that wanting to monitor a public official's use of a taxpayer funded email account was so interesting? Checking this sort of thing is hardly a new concept, just ask the Republican Party of Wisconsin or Citizens for Responsible Government. Is it really that unreasonable to check if Thompson is using official email to communicate with political supporters and contributors? And let's face it, Ed Thompson is a quote machine on the record, can you imagine what he is saying when he thinks that he is off the record? For all I know, Thompson may not even use his taxpayer funded email account, but that doesn't mean that the public doesn't deserve to know.

The bottom line here is that MacIver is made up of little more than recycled Jensen-style Republican partisans. Who can forget when they originally denied the influence of former Republican Speaker Scott Jensen even while he was helping them write their press releases? Apparently Republicans and their "nonprofit" message machines still have to run everything through him. Brett Healy, the "president" at MacIver, was Jensen's former Chief of Staff. In fact his name came up more than a few times during Scott Jensen's first criminal trial. Likewise, MacIver Communications Director Brian Fraley, was always a Jensen favorite as was outlined in a letter that was also revealed during Jensen's first criminal trial. So they may be recycled over at Republican "nonprofit" land, but that doesn't mean that they can easily quell their overwhelming partisan urges. If I were them, I would be a little more careful about crossing some important lines. For example, I'm not sure how legit it is to be so closely handling and running interference for Republican candidates when you are operating a 501(c)(3) "nonprofit". But again, maybe they simply can't help themselves.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Good News from Big Insurance!

From the Cartoonist Group via Center for American Progress

Does the RPW Have ADHD?

Life at the Republican Party of Wisconsin must really be a confusing mess right now when it comes to the race for U.S. Senate. They already have two active candidates participating in their primary, yet they still seem to be holding out hope that Tommy Thompson will jump into the already unstable mix. Those desperate hopes were underscored by their rush to Tommy's defense yesterday via press release. In it, they attack One Wisconsin Now because they dared to put some actual numbers around the fact that Tommy has been cashing in on special interest dollars since leaving the public sector. One Wisconsin Now must be on to something, given the quick and disjointed response from RPW. To borrow a famous quote, OWN "must have hit her close to the mark to get her all riled up like that…"

The RPW's response was not only interesting because of its knee jerk nature, but it was also noteworthy for its total inability to stay on the actual subject. If their real problem was OWN reporting the facts surrounding Tommy's new and greatly improved financial status, then they should have made that point and been done with it. Instead they chose to throw together a virtual grab bag of unrelated issues. First, they attacked the wrong U.S. Senator (Herb Kohl), who isn't even up for reelection this year. Then they try to compare his independent wealth earned prior to becoming a public official to that of Tommy's special interest pay day directly afterwards. Apparently they can't even stay focused long enough to understand the point that OWN was actually making. It was clearly not about being wealthy and being a (potential) candidate for something. It was about Tommy Thompson using his past public sector job to fuel his special interest-funded bonanza – while the economy was collapsing no less.

OWN's point seemed pretty clear and focused, unlike the RPW response to it. Apparently the RPW can't stay focused long enough to actually engage in a substantive conversation on the actual subject. If using a past public sector job to cash in with special interests is no big deal to them, then they should have tried to make that case. Instead they chose to bounce all over the place with no real focus, making false comparisons that had very little to do with the actual subject.

The RPW's complete lack of focus is certainly entertaining, but it can hardly strike confidence in the two candidates that are actually running in their primary.

Friday, February 19, 2010

Walker Recycles Brown Bag Gimmick

I've described Scott Walker as being like a slippery salesman selling snake oil. One of the best examples of this is how he will shamelessly use just about any gimmick. The latest example of this is his "brown bag lunch tour". Not only is this a mere gimmick, but it isn't even his own, it is a recycled one.

An anonymous Republican advised me that this new gimmick includes a direct mail component that is a total knock off on a 1998 Republican campaign. In fact, I am told that the Walker brown bag thing includes a mailing from SCM and Associates, a direct mail firm based on the east coast. This same firm did a very similar "brown bag" campaign (scroll down) in 1998 for U.S. Senator George Voinovich. It even included a brown bag accompanied by a letter from the candidate's spouse, bragging about his "thrift". Again, almost from beginning to end, the Walker gimmick follows the exact same template.

Since the theme of the "brown bag" gimmick is "thrift", I have to wonder how thrifty Walker was in spending campaign money on this recycled concept.

The knockoff nature of Walker's "brown bag" campaign is not the only part of it that is totally disingenuous. Walker piles on by listing three points on his brown bag, none of which could conceivably apply to him.

  • "Don't spend more than you have" says the Walker brown bag, even though he is frontloading three years of Milwaukee County borrowing into one year in his current budget. The last time that I checked, "borrowing" means that you are using money that you don't actually have on your own.
  • "Smaller government is better government". This even though his own budgets call for increased government spending. This is nothing new for Walker; it goes all the way back to his days in the state legislature. This is also the big backer of George W. Bush, who did his best to expand government while using rhetoric saying the opposite.
  • "People create jobs, not government". This from someone that is relying so heavily on the federal stimulus to fund his Milwaukee County government program that he says will create jobs.

Walker is clearly willing to use any gimmick in the book and then pretend that it is his own. Likewise, he is perfectly willing to say and do anything to get a vote, no matter how disingenuous or deceptive. In this most recent example, he actually does both at the same time. Recycling the gimmick while also recycling his slippery rhetoric.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

But What Would You Have Done Without It?

Yesterday, people from all over the State of Wisconsin sent messages to Scott Walker by email, Twitter and Facebook. The simple question was, how would you have filled your budgetary holes if it wasn't for the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (federal stimulus)? It seemed like an appropriate question, given the fact that yesterday was the year anniversary of the signing of the act by President Obama. It was also appropriate to ask this question of Scott Walker because he has been on all sides of the stimulus issue (often at the same time).

Even though Walker originally said "no thanks" to the return on Milwaukee County taxpayer's federal tax investment, his meandering has been all over the map since. The height of his hypocrisy on this issue came when he actually proposed a budget for 2010 the relied heavily on the federal stimulus that he not only condemned but tried to obstruct the County Board from pursuing funds from it. The two most obvious areas that stand out to me are the stimulus funds that helped postpone a transit system disaster and the recovery bonds that finance an entire centerpiece of Walker's proposed budget. This is to say nothing about all of the stimulus funding directed toward education, law enforcement, and so many other programs and services that are critical to Milwaukee County.

Walker's response to the simple question was mostly to complain that so many Wisconsinites asked him it. Perhaps he is willing to avoid it when members of the public ask, but if the media would just force the issue, it seems like a critical detail for the public to know.

Scott Walker, how would you have filled the holes in your budget without the federal stimulus?

Now read: "Walker Recycles Brown Bag Gimmick".

On a related note, here is a good visual presentation of how the federal stimulus has helped to dramatically reverse the meltdown that came at the height of the Great Bush Recession. We may not be where we would like, but we are certainly much better off than we were just a year ago. That didn't happen by accident and all signs are trending in the right direction. You can't honestly ignore the positive and extensive impact of the Recovery Act. Although if you are Scott Walker, you may be able to simply ignore it.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Rhetoric vs. Reality on the Recovery

The best known economic research firms are all saying that the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (federal stimulus) has added between 1.6 and 1.8 million jobs. They further report that they expect the ultimate impact will be closer to 2.5 million. The Congressional Budget Office actually considers these numbers to be conservative.

The New York Times offers a few charts that give some interesting perspective, far beyond the partisan right wing talking points. Whether it is jobs, the GDP, or the stock market, the impact of the Recovery Act has been very effective. It is too bad that so many on the right are too invested in the failure of our economy to see the positive signs.

As an aside: Think Progress has tallied 110 legislators that voted against the stimulus but then touted the funding back at home. As has been noted elsewhere, Paul Ryan is certainly on the list of stimulus hypocrisy.

UPDATE: The Center for American Progress has launched an interactive map showing how many jobs were created/saved by the ARRA.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Does Tommy Have a “Mark of the Beast” Problem?

Last week I read a story about Virginia delegates passing a bill limiting the use of implanted chips in human beings. Much of the motivation behind this bill came from worries that such a chip could lead to what apocalyptic biblical prophecy calls the "mark of the beast". I don't want to give too deep of a lesson in eschatology so let me allow one of the Virginia delegates to explain it simply:

"My understanding – I'm not a theologian – but there's a prophecy in the Bible that says you'll have to receive a mark, or you can neither buy nor sell things in the end times. Some people think these computer chips might be that mark." -Virginia Delegate Mark Cole

This story reminded me that Tommy Thompson served on the board for a leading producer of these kinds of implanted chips - Florida-based, VeriChip Corp. Some report that Tommy had quite a lucrative arrangement while serving on VeriChip's Board of Directors. This is certainly not a surprise since we already know that he has been making a sweet dime serving special interests. His work for VeriChip was only one of many lucrative arrangements that he had following his tenure with the Bush administration.

The implant was approved by the Bush Administration's FDA in 2004. Tommy was on the board for VeriChip until he took a leave of absence in 2007 to run his failed presidential campaign. While he was on the board of the company he promoted the implantation of the chip on several national news outlets like the one posted below.

Conservative evangelical Christians make up a huge part of the Republican base. Those numbers have only grown since Tommy last ran for public office. Many of those conservative evangelical Christians believe that we are living in the end times and they are very sensitive to various events such as the development of this technology. I just have to wonder how they would view a candidate like Tommy in a Republican primary. Would they forget about his past role in marketing VeriChip? I seriously doubt it. Tommy and others may think that these beliefs are crazy, but like it or not they are a political reality for him. Can Tommy win even a primary if the evangelical Christian vote refuses to support him?

Fiscal conservatives may be willing to overlook Tommy's big spending/government tendencies for mere political convenience, but this chip issue is an entirely different matter. I highly doubt that passionate believers are going to just excuse Tommy's promotion of a technology that they believe might lead to the "mark of the beast". You don't think that people are taking this "mark of the beast" thing seriously? Tell that to the delegates in Virginia, where they are trying to pass state laws to protect specifically from it.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Does MacIver Handle All Requests to GOP Legislators?

On January 21, 2010 I sent an open records request to state Representative Leah Vukmir's office. I sent the request via email to both Rep. Vukmir and her chief of staff Dean Cady. Here are the basic records that I asked to examine from Vukmir's office:

  • Email on Vukmir, Cady and another staffer's state email accounts that met a list of search words and names and fell within a specific time frame.
  • Calendar entries for people that work for or represent various special interest organizations.
  • An accounting for Rep. Vukmir's use of paid leave.
  • Any electronic running news clips that her office may keep.

I've done my fair share of open records requests and usually the official's office responds fairly quickly simply acknowledging the fact that you have sent them the request. That did not happen in this instance; in fact I grew so concerned after not hearing from their office that I decided to send my request again via certified USPS mail on February 5, 2010 (over two weeks after sending my original request).

Since I had not heard one single peep from Rep. Vukmir's office about my request, even after sending a certified copy, I increasingly grew concerned. That was until yesterday when I saw a blog by Brian Fraley, a Republican operative now working for the MacIver Institute. In it he complained about my request and selectively posted portions of my open records request on their blog. I saw that blog posting at about 2:09 pm on Friday and it was the first indication that I had that Vukmir's office even had received my original open records request. I immediately commented on MacIver's blog asking how they rate, communicating with Vukmir about my request before they have even responded to the person that was actually making the request. That comment was pending for moderation for some time on their blog. About 45 minutes after leaving that comment I finally got an email from Vukmir's Chief of Staff saying some of the following:

  • The information from my requests was ready and waiting to be examined at the clerk's office.
  • That he keeps no calendar and the office keeps no news clips, so there were no records for those items.
  • That Leah Vukmir redacted information from some of the emails (they say it is personal info, which I have no problem with as long as their descriptions are accurate).
  • That I could get her paid leave info directly from the clerk.

Given the fact that I had no idea what was going on with my request, I was naturally very pleased to finally get a response from Vukmir's office. I only wish that they would have contacted me, the requestor, in at least some manner before sending my request to their supporters at MacIver. I don't think that a citizen should have to learn the status of their open records request through a third party's website. But maybe this is a new policy for Republicans in the legislature, or at least Vukmir's office. Maybe all future requests of Republican legislators should be handled directly through MacIver next time.

Friday, February 12, 2010

A Wisconsin Election that is Not Particularly About Wisconsin?

If the Wisconsin election is not going to particularly be about Wisconsin, then what is it going to be about exactly? If Tommy is a candidate, maybe it will be about the interests of his big biz benefactors. After all, he has made millions looking out for them in recent years.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Who is Cutting Medicare?

This chart from Paul Krugman shows that over the next decade the President's proposed budget would spend more on Medicare than Paul Ryan's "roadmap". Yet Republicans get away with attacking the President for supposedly trying to slash Medicare.

ht: Daily Kos

GOP Hypocrisy on Stimulus, A National Strategy

Props to Milwaukee Snow Removal Effort!

I have to take a moment to give some credit to the City of Milwaukee snow removal effort over the last couple of days! When I went out to shovel the morning after the foot of snow was dumped on us, I could tell that the crew had been at work all night long. I live on a side street and it was already plowed. A few hours later they came back and salted and in less than 24 hours after the storm I could see the pavement. In the areas that I drove in, the roads were great considering how much snow had been dumped on us. The quickness with which they did this work makes it even more notable. As if that wasn't enough, when I got moving this morning, I discovered that they had apparently even plowed the alleys in my neighborhood. So props to the snow removal effort in Milwaukee and to all of the workers that did such a great job! If he wasn't so hyper-partisan, it would even make Glenn Grothman proud.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Support Ryan’s Roadmap? Please Say “Aye”

It sounds like there may be a vote in Congress on Paul Ryan's "roadmap". I personally think that it is great idea because various members of Congress can then put their vote where their mouth is. We already know that the Republican leadership in Congress has been running from Ryan's plan, stressing that it is "his" and that it does not belong to them. I can't blame them because it would be very hard to run on privatizing and slashing Social Security and Medicare. What's worse is that it fails to actually fix the deficit that Ryan and Congressional Republicans helped create. One recent analysis also points to other serious flaws in the plan, such as the fact that Ryan makes an irrational assumption that revenues will remain the same even as he gift wraps massive amounts of Bush-style tax cuts for the rich. It is no surprise that Republican leaders are afraid of this "roadmap" and lets hope that they have to commit one way or another.

Individual Republican legislators have also failed to rush to Ryan's defense. Heck, the legislation only has eight members sponsoring it and that includes Ryan! Perhaps even more remarkable is the fact that neither of Ryan's two Republican colleagues from Wisconsin have signed on as a sponsor. What's the matter? Are Petri and F. Jim Sensenbrenner RINOS? Why else wouldn't they sign on to their fellow Wisconsinite's major piece of legislation? The extreme right-wing, which makes up the entirety of the Republican Party of Wisconsin loves it, so what's the hold up? If they are not going to tow the line then maybe they need a Tea Bagging challenger in their primary. For all of our sakes, let's hope that they are eventually forced to go on the record as to their support/lack of support for Ryan's legislation.

But why should we just stop with current Republican congressmen? I would suggest that the Republican candidates for Congress should also have to pipe up on this subject. They want the ability to vote in Congress, so this is the perfect chance for them to show us how they would use that power. Would you support and vote for Paul Ryan's legislation or not? I'm sure that Wisconsinites all along the political spectrum would like to know what you think about it. If you support Ryan's "roadmap" please say "Aye".



McCormick? Ribble? Roth? Trager?

The rest?

I'm sure that the Tea Baggers that make up the Republican base would like to know where you stand on Ryan's "roadmap". If you support privatizing and slashing Social Security and Medicare - then that is something that the rest of us should also know. If you support legislation that takes these extreme measures but still fails to fix the deficit (that Ryan and Co. helped create), then by all means, please say "Aye". The rest of us are eagerly waiting.

Tuesday, February 09, 2010

Who Gave Klauser the Reverse-Midas Touch?

Last May I openly asked if Republican big-wig Jim Klauser had lost his influence in his own party. People used to refer to him as everything from a "deputy governor" to a "kingmaker". My question in May came in the context of him getting behind Mark Neumann while most of the (vocal) base was already on the crazy train with Walker. I also asked the question at that time, because many of Walker's disciples said some pretty nasty things about Klauser and that is hardly the way to treat your "kingmaker". Months have passed since I first asked that question and Klauser has since surrendered his "king making" credentials to the most rabid elements of his party.

While Jim Klauser was involved with the Mark Neumann campaign, it was like watching a train wreck. I actually think that they have done better since he abandoned the campaign. Now he is working on the T-Wall campaign, which has led me to ask an entirely new set of questions: Has Jim Klauser traded in his "king making" powers for a reverse Midas touch? If so, how did it happen so quickly? I don't know, but consider some of the following:

Given all of these rather recent developments, I can't help but wonder if Jim Klauser has developed a kind of reverse-Midas touch. If he has, he can largely thank members of his own party for it. Walker and his disciples certainly played their part in this soap opera. But so did the right wing talkers, who not only attacked him for initially backing Neumann but then panned his current candidate. Word on the street is that there has been bad blood between Walker/talk radio/reactionary types and Klauser for some time. The conflict has apparently taken its toll and it appears to directly transfer all the way down to the individual Klauser-backed candidates.

Monday, February 08, 2010

First District Smarty Pants Fails Another Test

Congressman Paul Ryan reminds me of the stereotypical "smarty pants" that we all remember from our days in school. He is convinced that he is the smartest person in the room yet he always manages to get it wrong. Apparently forgetfulness goes hand in hand with this trait, because Ryan has been complaining about deficits and spending even though he voted for 8 straight budgets that increased government spending by over $1 trillion. But that test of his memory isn't the only one that he has failed.

The new blog, Paul Ryan Watch, shows us how Ryan's "roadmap" gimmick actually fails to fix the deficit that he helped create. It is not only a failure in the results department but it also appears to be a failure among his own Republican colleagues. While they may not be attacking his plan, they are hardly embracing it. Why else would Minority Leader John Boehner try to distance himself and the party from it? What? You don't want to run on privatizing and slashing Social Security and Medicare benefits?

Paul Ryan's budgetary and PR problems were not his only recent failures. He also received a failing grade from the NAACP last week. Before any right wingers get instinctively carried away about the organization, you should know that they graded members of Congress according to their votes on things like some of the following:

  • Equal pay for equal work
  • Expanding health insurance for low and middle income children
  • Making home loan modifications easier
  • Aggressively addressing predatory lending
  • Extending unemployment benefits

Not only did Paul Ryan join his fellow Wisconsin Republicans in failing the test, but he scored lower than both of them. Tom Petri scored a 40%, F. Jim Sensenbrenner scored 20% and Ryan flunked with only 12%. You must really have to try hard to fail a test on that spectacular kind of level. Even Paul Ryan from 2006 scored a 26% on the NAACP test that year.

With all of his failed and wildly extreme approaches to public policy, I can only hope that he fails one more big test - getting any of that right wing bunk enacted.

UPDATE: Even though GOP leaders are running away from Ryan's "roadmap", Michele Bachmann (R-Beck-land) is taking it to its logical and extreme conclusion. Over the weekend, she spoke to a small right-wing group echoing many points from Paul Ryan's "roadmap" gimmick. Naturally she went even further in her comments, taking Ryan's "roadmap" directly to its logical destination. She suggested that we deal with the national debt by "weaning" everyone off of Social Security and Medicare. Please run on that this year! Please!

UPDATE II: Sorry, they just keep on coming. Paul Ryan Watch shows us that not every right-winger is willing to give Ryan a free pass on his past votes for massive deficits (unlike the right-wingers commenting on this blog). Here is the money quote: "While Ryan’s overall voting record is very conservative, the problem with casting these high-profile votes is that they demonstrate he is willing to fundamentally reject conservatism when the heat is on." Are Wisconsin right-wingers too in love with Ryan to hold him accountable?

Friday, February 05, 2010

Is Neumann (Slowly) Slipping on the Gloves?

We have been keeping track of the many "in-your-face" moments that Scott Walker has delivered to fellow Republican Mark Neumann. They have usually come behind-the-scenes or through unofficial means. The attacks have really come nonstop with the most vicious coming from the most zealous Walker groupies. In light of this continual assault, and the apparent unwillingness of Neumann to fully engage, I have wondered how serious Mark Neumann has really been about his campaign thus far. Taking all of these attacks but not taking advantage of some of the more obvious low-hanging fruit has been curious indeed. I have also wondered about Neumann's motivation because of what appeared to be a lack of (or at least tardy) due diligence regarding research of Walker.

Although I have wondered if Neumann actually has the stomach for this fight, more recent indications seem to point to him very slowly gearing up for it. Specifically, I'm referring to some of the following:

I certainly can't be the only person noticing an increasingly (and slowly) more aggressive Mark Neumann. One indication that people close to Walker appear to be noticing it, might be the frequency with which the attacks from his campaign operatives anonymous groupies have gone after Neumann recently. They have accused him of everything from buying his Facebook followers to not knowing where Superior is located to alleged improprieties with his campaign finance reporting. I think that the timing and frequency of their hysteria might say something in this context.

Scott Walker has certainly left himself wide open for attacks in many different areas. It appears that Mark Neumann is starting to slip on the gloves with each passing week. But in my mind, the real question is two-fold: Has Neumann waited too long to put them on and is he really ready to use them?

Thursday, February 04, 2010

A New "Don't Ask Don't Tell" for the Senate?

The best part of this bit starts at 3:55 when Jon Stewart and John Oliver talk about the idea of banning "old people" from serving in the Senate.

"Its not about the old person as an individual, its about the people that have to work beside him. It affects Senate cohesion".

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Wednesday, February 03, 2010

New to the Blogroll

Occasionally I like to update my blogroll with with quality blogs that I read and that readers might find interesting. Ideally, I'd like to get such links up asap but I am terrible about updating the blogroll in a timely manner. In fact, I'm sure that I am still missing a few very good blogs that I check on a regular basis.

In any case, here is the latest batch of blogs that are new to my blogroll:

Paul Ryan Watch

Pretty Important


Urban Milwaukee

Tuesday, February 02, 2010

Gallup: Wisconsin Still Solidly Dem

Gallup released the results of a party affiliation poll yesterday and they have Wisconsin listed as a solidly Democratic state. Let me be clear about something before I get the inevitable "oh yeah?" comments from right wingers: I'm not saying that the results of this or any other one poll should be relied on in any real way. On the other hand, I often do find these kinds of things interesting and they can be instructive in some ways.

Gallup found that Wisconsin is still considered "solidly Democratic" along with 23 other states and DC. However, that total number is down 6 from 2008 but still far ahead of the number of solid Republican states (4). The number of "lean" and "solid" Republican states are about the same this year but the number of "lean" Democratic and "competitive" states are up.

Again, as Gallup clearly advises, just because a state is solidly one way or the other (in terms of ID), it does not mean that the majority of the actual voters will cast their ballots that way. The easiest example of that is in Massachusetts which is still considered solidly Democratic but obviously suffered a big loss. This suggests to me that a ton of Dem voters stayed home and were not motivated to vote for the Dem candidate there. I think that this just underscores the fact that you can't take anything for granted no matter where you are running.

Although the Gallup Poll finds that Wisconsin is still solidly a Democratic state in terms of party ID, it does show that Dems' advantage has gone down from 18 percentage points to 12 since 2008. Nationally, 49% of Americans still said that they were either strongly Dem or at least leaned Dem (as compared to 41% Republican). That is down from 2008, when those numbers were 52% to 40% respectively.

Gallup's poll is based on actual telephone interviews and has a margin of error ranging from 1-4% depending on the state.

Monday, February 01, 2010

GAB Joins the Walker Reality Check Chorus

Many people, entities and organizations have been providing solid reality checks to Scott Walker's shallow rhetoric. Capper is the first one that comes to mind, as he has exposed Scott Walker on nearly every issue - repeatedly. One Wisconsin Now recently compared Walker's rhetoric on jobs and economic development to his pitiful record in both areas. That was only one of the latest reality checks that OWN has given to Walker. Even here at Eye on Wisconsin, we have repeatedly compared Walker's right-wing rhetoric on things like taxes, fees, and government spending, to his actual record in Milwaukee County. There are many other examples, but today a new entity has delivered yet another reality check to the Walker campaign.

Last Friday Scott Walker's campaign bragged that it had so many donations that the Government Accountability Board's (GAB) online system couldn't process them all, causing it to crash. As with most of Walker's campaign rhetoric, this claim proved to be just as phony as his positions on the issues. Today GAB joined the reality check chorus correcting the record. GAB stated the following in a press release today:

"The Campaign Finance Information System did not crash. It was up and running throughout the weekend. No filers were prevented from downloading information, and the system remained available throughout the filing period."

Compare that statement to that of Walker's mouth Keith Gilkes when he claimed that "we brought the system to a grinding halt with the sheer volume of our donations." Again, for the umpteenth time, Walker campaign – please allow me (and GAB) to introduce you to reality.

Even with this latest example, of comparing Walker's phony rhetoric to reality, there are many other areas to still expose. Hopefully the traditional media will stop repeating Walker talking points long enough to start actually questioning them. I would officially like to invite them to join the growing reality check chorus on Walker's phony rhetoric.