Thursday, September 30, 2010

Walker's Election Year Conversion on Mental Health...and everything else

I could have just as easily named this "Walker's election year conversion on....everything".

  • Although he has consistently and drastically cut staff in the Behavioral Health Division, suddenly he wants to add staff.

  • In 7 of his last 8 budgets he has consistently proposed a higher tax levy. Now he wants a reduction.

  • Walker has proposed increasing spending 35% in his previous 8 budgets. Now he suddenly wants to reduce his normal spending habits.

  • In his first 6 years Walker raised bus fares 50%, simultaneously making it one of the most expensive systems as well as one with historic losses in ridership. Now he suddenly wants to change that pattern by not raising fares.

  • Every year Walker trots out all of his same risky privatization schemes, but suddenly this year he has not proposed them.
  • For several years running, Walker has proposed defacing our lakefront by putting parking meters there. Suddenly he has changed course.

  • In the middle of the worst recession since the great depression, Walker eliminated the economic development division. Then in 2010 created a new entity but didn't hire a director for it until a few weeks ago.

  • The list goes on and on but the bottom line is this: Scott Walker will say and do anything to win an election, no matter how shameless. The perfect example is the election year conversions that are clearly demonstrated in his proposed 2011 budget.

    GOP Holds Tax Cuts Hostage

    Tuesday, September 28, 2010

    No Results, Just a Nasty Attitude

    During the defining moment of last week's gubernatorial debate Mayor Tom Barrett called out Scott Walker for being uncooperative and downright nasty regarding a joint-effort to create jobs in Southeastern Wisconsin. Specifically Mayor Barrett quoted Walker's response when the Milwaukee 7 (M-7) effort was first announced in 2005. While Mayor Barrett was busy cooperating with business leaders and other local officials, Scott Walker sniped from the sidelines saying that the effort was akin to "putting lipstick on a pig". Contrary to Walker's negative outlook, M-7 has gone on to have a tremendous impact on economic development and the creation of jobs in Southeastern Wisconsin.

    An internal Walker administration email reveals that this nasty attitude toward the constructive work of others runs far and deep. On June 1, 2009, a Walker administration official forwarded a Milwaukee Journal Sentinel story to Walker's Chief of Staff Tom Nardelli.

    The story was about Visit Milwaukee and their efforts at bringing big events to Milwaukee. Specifically the story addressed Visit Milwaukee's Opportunity Fund which helps entice potential events by offering some of them funds to help offset their costs. In the story, Visit Milwaukee officials comment that the payback of the fund is enormous.

    It seems like a worthy investment and a constructive effort to bring more business/jobs to Milwaukee right? Not if you are a high level member of the Walker administration. Tom Nardelli quickly responded to the forwarded Visit Milwaukee story saying the following (emphasis is mine):

    I saw the story, but I'm not a supporter of the fund. It's just another
    way for Visit Milwaukee to get their hands on even more of the revenues generated from hotel/motel taxes, rental car tax and food and beverage tax in the county, which were also intended to bring business into the Midwest Airline Center. In my opinion, they could cut half of their bloated staffand use those salary savings to support an "opportunity fund." They wouldbe swimming in money given their inflated salaries!All this is BS whenyou consider that the money Visit puts in actually comes from the District to start with!Their track record under this management team is
    horrific.They have been unable to draw flies
    , even before the economy tanked.

    See what I mean? What a nasty attitude! Especially when Visit Milwaukee helped the Walker administration with their motorcycle ride earlier this year. We know that event was certainly geared to help Walker's campaign for governor but I have to wonder if it was even able to "draw flies" to Milwaukee County? In any case, here we have behind-the-scenes confirmation that this nasty attitude from the Walker administration runs strong and deep. They obviously spend a lot of time attacking the constructive efforts of others but what exactly have they done? They certainly have not taken the lead and they definitely have not been supportive.

    As Mayor Barrett said in the debate last week, you don't sell something by saying how lousy it is and running it down all the time. Unfortunately that seems to be the only response from Scott Walker and his administration. Do nothing (other than planning for the next election) and snipe at everyone else from the sidelines. No results, just a nasty attitude.

    This is what a real leader sounds like:

    Monday, September 27, 2010

    PolitiFarce Infects Post Crescent

    While "PolitiFact" continues to fancy itself as the arbiter of all things "fact", they also continue to get it consistently wrong. I know that it may be personally cathartic for them to bestow a "pants on fire" designation on a campaign, but they should really avoid the urge when the actual facts and simple math do not support their cause.

    It seems that the subjective, incorrect, and often silly meanderings of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel's project is beginning to infect other media outlets. Xoff highlighted one example over the weekend. Apparently relying solely on "PolitiFact", the Appleton Post Crescent gave Russ Feingold a "thumbs down" for an ad that doesn't even exist.

    The Post Crescent has since edited the first part of their original piece but failed to edit the end which still references the nonexistent ad. Unfortunately they also left in place the overall accusation even though it is false. Apparently the Post Crescent is perfectly fine with giving someone a "thumbs down" simply because the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel said so. The facts and the actual numbers apparently don't matter.

    I detailed last week, shortly after "PolitiFact" made the original charge, how their critique of the Feingold campaign simply doesn't add up. The numbers don't lie, Feingold has been outspent by his opponents in every race. For some reason "PolitiFact" chose to cherry pick the actual numbers and only counted some of them. That doesn't sound like a "PolitiFact" to me, it sounds like a PolitiFarce. Unfortunately this condition is quickly spreading to media outlets all over the state.

    Thursday, September 23, 2010

    Ryan Can't Reconcile His Competing Positions on Reconciliation

    Does everyone remember when the budget reconciliation process was used while passing health care reform? Remember how Republicans frothed over its use even though they used the same process to pass tax cuts for the wealthy? One of the hyperbolic Republicans during the closing days of the health care debate was Congressman Paul Ryan. He called reconciliation a "convoluted legislative charade",
    "an extraordinary and unprecedented abuse", and he went on to proclaim that "This is not good democracy. This is not good government."

    Even though he said all of those things when Democrats used the reconciliation process, earlier this week he sang a much different tune. In a CNBC interview he was asked if the Republicans win the House, would he be willing to use the reconciliation process to "chip away and gradually roll back" some of President Obama's policies. Ryan responded that not only does he “want” to use the tactic for that purpose, but that Republicans “have to use reconciliation”.

    Boy, I'd love to hear Paul Ryan try to "reconcile" his competing positions on the reconciliation process. I would also like to hear the tea party reaction to his flip-flop.

    ht: Think Progress

    Wednesday, September 22, 2010

    Walker Strategy: Pretend You Just Got into Office

    Watching Scott Walker's latest ad about Milwaukee County's mental health crisis, you might think that he was just recently elected county executive. If you looked at his new budgetary plans for the Behavioral Health Division (BHD), you might think that he was some new guy cleaning up after the jerk before him that ran the system into the ground. That is what you might think if you didn't know any better. But we do know better and we do know that Walker has been Milwaukee County Executive for eight long years. We also know that his policies today are nothing more than a shameless election year conversion.

    Although many terrible things have been reported in the last few months regarding Milwaukee County's Mental Health Complex, scandals are certainly not new. There have been tragic tales of repeated neglect and mismanagement at the Behavioral Health Division spanning most of Walker's tenure in Milwaukee County.

  • The mentally ill being allowed to live in the most horrendous conditions.
  • A starvation death and another near starvation death.
  • An overdose death.
  • The mental Health Complex losing its accreditation.
  • The Mental Health Complex being repeatedly cited by the state.
  • A 50% increase in assaults on staff.
  • The threat of losing federal money because of the various unsafe conditions.
  • And now the more recent stories about policies that allowed sexual assaults of patients.

  • Now in an election year and after numerous front page stories, Walker suddenly creates a committee to offer suggestions? He has been getting suggestions every year for his entire time in office, he just hasn't listened to them. After decimating staffing levels for years, the nurses at BHD repeatedly warned him about needing more staff. He chose to simply ignore that advice. Now suddenly Scott Walker claims that he will add staff in his 2011 budget. Here is a little reality check: In 2001 there were 1,053.1 funded position equivalents at BHD. In 2008 that number went down to 890.9 and in his 2010 proposed budget Walker wanted to put it all the way down to 746.7. Now suddenly in an election year he wants to change that eight year pattern?

    Apparently Scott Walker's strategy for dealing with his disastrous BHD record, is to simply pretend that he just got into office. Hopefully the media and the public will stay focused on his entire eight years in office. He has a long record and he should have to own the entire thing, not just the pronouncements and promises that he makes in the midst of an election year.

    Tuesday, September 21, 2010

    What is their definition of a "small business"?

    When Republicans are challenged about their desire to give massive tax cuts to the rich, they consistently try to convert it into a conversation about "small business". The problem is that their definition of "small business" is inevitably broad.

    Take the case of "career politician" U.S. Senator Mitch McConnell (R-KY). In recent comments he claimed that half of "small businesses" in the country would see a tax increase if George W. Bush's tax cuts for the rich were not renewed. Bloomberg looked at McConnell's rhetoric and made some of the the following observations.

    McConnell’s numbers add up only if you consider people like billionaire investor George Soros, most movie stars and Obama himself small-business owners, tax experts say.

    That’s because the lawmaker is basing his figure on a broad definition of the term that experts say includes authors, actors and athletes who employ few if any workers. It also encompasses businesses that many people wouldn’t consider small, such as Soros’s hedge-fund firm and major law partnerships.

    I don't think that there is an exact textbook definition of precisely what constitutes a "small business". But I am pretty sure, that it shouldn't include a billionaire, a partner of a major law firm, a movie star and a professional athelete. The next time a Republican tells you that "small businesses" will be hurt by some policy that they don't like, remember to get a detailed definition.

    Monday, September 20, 2010

    Renaissance of Jobs vs. Walker's Rubble

    "PolitiFact" Fails Simple Math

    The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel's "PolitiFact" project is very quickly making itself irrelevant. They are accomplishing this by arriving at some of the most absurd conclusions. They are doing this with several campaigns but they really seem to have a chip on their shoulder with the Feingold campaign. In fact the apparent chip is so big that they have even abandoned their (assumed) knowledge of simple math in the process.

    Today they arbitrarily gave the Feingold campaign a "pants on fire" designation for suggesting that Russ Feingold's opponents have always outspent him. Here is the very simple math:

    In 1992, Feingold’s opposition in the Democratic Party primary- Joe Checota and Jim Moody- spent $4,986,780.78. In the general election, incumbent Bob Kasten spent $5,427,163.00.
    Feingold spent $1,990,488.00 total against both his Democratic primary opponents and his general election opponent.

    The Math:

    Opponents $10,413,943.78
    Feingold $1,990,488.00

    In 1998, Feingold’s opponent Congressman Mark Neumann spent $4,373,953.00. Feingold spent $3,846,089.00.

    Neumann was also aided by millions of dollars of outside independent expenditures for TV ads attacking Senator Feingold.

    The Math:

    Opponents Well over $5 million
    Feingold $3,846,089.00

    In 2004, Feingold’s three Republican opponents spent $11,645,443.00 attacking Feingold.

    Russ Darrow spent $4,826,619.00, Bob Welch spent $1,276,737.00, and Feingold general election opponent, Tim Michels spent, $5,542,087.00.

    The Math:

    Opponents $11,645,443.00
    Feingold $9,239,908

    Even if we include Feingold’s spending before his GOP opponents entered the race, Feingold was still outspent $11,645,443.00 to $10,977,339.3.


    In total, Feingold’s opponents have spent $26,433,339.78 trying to defeat him and this doesn’t even include all the independent ads that have been spent by outside groups.

    Feingold has spent $16,813,916.31 against his opponents, while his opponents have spent in excess of $26,433,339.78.

    The Math:

    Opponents $26,433,339.78
    Feingold $16,813,916.31

    Thursday, September 16, 2010

    Ron Johnson Dodges Debates and Media

    A Scary Primer on the 60-Plus Association

    The "60-Plus Association" was AstroTurf before AstroTurf was cool. These kinds of right wing phony groups are a dime a dozen now. 60-Plus is a DC outfit mostly made up of longtime Republican operatives that pretend to be concerned about senior issues. In reality they appear to exist for little more than to help Republicans win elections and to scare the elderly. Witness their large ad buy in Wisconsin this week. True to their form they are running their sleazy brand of scare ads against both Representatives Ron Kind and Steve Kagen. Since Wisconsinites are being forced to view their scare ads, I thought that we should at least get to know them better.

    The head of 60-Plus is James L. Martin who has worked in the past for Republican direct mail guru Richard Viguerie. In fact some have seriously questioned Viguerie's various arrangements with 60-Plus over the years. If there is any additional doubt about the real partisan nature of this organization, consider how Martin reportedly bragged in 2000 about being the person that gave then-governor George W. Bush his start in politics. In addition, representatives from 60-Plus were in the room when Karl Rove briefed lobbyists on the Bush administration's plans regarding privatizing Social Security. [See Washington Times, 5/26/00, for the bragging]

    The 60 Plus Association has long been a go-to group for conservative causes. Indicted former Republican lobbyist Jack Abramoff once instructed a Native American tribe to donate to 60 Plus saying, that it would help garner support for their legislative causes with the House GOP leadership.

    The 60-Plus Association fancies itself as a right-wing version of the AARP but its IRS filings show that it derives zero dollars from actual membership dues, even though it lists over $1.8 million in revenues. So if they are not getting their money from their nonexistent "membership" then how are they paying to scare Wisconsin's seniors? [60-Plus Association 2008 IRS Form 990]

    Some of that question was answered when AARP hired an independent investigator to thoroughly research the phony group and they found that the pharmaceutical industry is actually paying a lot of the bills. The report revealed that in 2001 alone, 60-Plus got hundreds of thousands of dollars from some of the following: the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America (PhRMA); drug companies like Merck, Pfizer and Wyeth-Ayerst, and even from Hanwha International Corp.; which is the U.S. subsidiary of a Korean conglomerate with chemical and pharmaceutical interests. For this reason a Public Citizen report described 60-Plus as being part of "PhRMA's Stealth PACS". [AARP Bulletin Today, "Pulling Strings from Afar", 2003]

    There is a wealth of additional material out there about this phony group because they have a long history of being a shameless "fear factory". This blog posting was only meant to be a primer of sorts, so that Wisconsinites can at least know exactly the kind of sleaze that is trying to scare them and why they are doing it.

    Wednesday, September 15, 2010

    Proud to Join the Cheddarbomb for Russ!

    UPDATE: Wisconsin's progressive bloggers easily passed our original goal of 100 contributors to Russ's Cheddarbomb! We had to push it up to 125 and at this rate we may have to push that goal up again before midnight. If you haven't joined the fun, contribute now!

    Our outstanding U.S. Senator Russ Feingold is now officially facing multimillionaire and public policy lightweight Ron Johnson. Since Johnson is also a fortunate son (in-law) with money to burn, he has pledged to spend $15 million to try and buy this seat in the U.S. Senate. Rather than face his opponents in the Republican primary, the media or even the questions of tea party activists, he opted to just keep spending money on slogan-filled ads. He has continually tried to avoid a real substantive discussion of issues. Hopefully he wont be able to continue hiding from an actual debate. Russ has already agreed to 6 of them and hopefully Johnson will do the same.

    Even if Ron Johnson gets tutored long enough to have those debates, he still will beGoal Thermometer spending his vast wealth to try and drown out everything else in the race. That is why Wisconsin's grassroots need to step up and speak with one voice to help Russ close the financial gap! The Feingold campaign has announced a "Cheddarbomb" for Russ today. They are calling it the "15 for 15 Cheddarbomb". They want 15,000 people to give to Russ today (the 15th) to help match the $15 million that Johnson wants to use to buy a Senate

    Progressive bloggers from all around the state are doing their part and set up an Act Blue page to join in this important effort. So click on either image in this blog posting and give whatever you can to Russ today!

    And if you needed more inspiration to give, here are a few words from Russ on today's effort:

    All the polls show this race is a toss-up and I expect it to remain tight until Election Day

    My opponent multimillionaire Ron Johnson thinks his checkbook can decide this election. He’s so confident about winning that he's already pledged to spend upward of $15 million of his own fortune, or “all of it,” to win.

    Today, September 15, my campaign is launching our newest effort: “15 for 15 Cheddarbomb.” We'll match Ron Johnson's $15 million with the donations of 15,000 grassroots donors. This is our first-ever “moneybomb” or as we call it in Wisconsin – a “Cheddarbomb.” Our “Cheddarbomb” will show that my campaign can match Johnson's $15 million with 15,000 grassroots donations of our own – in a single day.
    Contribute to our September 15 “Cheddarbomb” right now.

    Our goal of 15,000 grassroots supporters is a pretty ambitious one-day goal, but my campaign is built on grassroots support, not on the support of Washington corporate interests. The only way to win this election is by having the strongest grassroots support and the absolute best ground operation. My campaign has already contacted 228,696 Wisconsin voters and opened 22 field offices across the state. The momentum is on our side. We'll win because we have the best volunteers and supporters, not because we rely on special interests and big checkbooks to help us win.

    In fact, in just the past three months, Johnson has already spent $4 million on slash-and-burn television ads. Ron Johnson has millions of dollars to spend on attack ads, but you have a voice and it needs to be heard. That's why I need your help right now.

    This is the first time a one-day online fundraising campaign has ever been attempted in Wisconsin campaign history. I hope you'll make this “Cheddarbomb” a success by standing up with me today!

    Moving Past the Expectations Game

    Scott Walker beat Mark Neumann by about what was originally expected. In my blog post yesterday I said that Walker mismanaged his campaign but one place where he certainly didn't do that was in the managing of primary expectations. I think that Xoff has it right when he suggests that we may have been sandbagged regarding how close the primary actually was in the final weeks. Obviously I include myself in being among those fooled into thinking the primary was ever close (even without a single poll indicating as much). The one question that I have is whether this expensive expectations game was worth the amount of heavy spending by Walker in the final weeks? We will find out soon enough.

    The one thing that I do know is that Scott Walker will not get a free pass just because he handily beat a primary opponent that he was supposed to handily beat. I remember commenting a month ago that it seemed that Mark Neumann went soft at some point. That will not happen during the general election. Furthermore, Walker will face a hard working and extensive ground game that was essentially nonexistent in his primary. Before November voters all over the state will be fully exposed to Scott Walker's dismal record of failure. They will get a look past Walker's empty rhetoric and at his actual record. They will continue to witness Walker's habit of saying and doing anything to advance his own political career, no matter how shameful or short-sighted. I don't pretend to know the end results, but I do know that the general election wont look anything like what happened during the primary.

    It is time to move past Walker's expectations game and the primary. It is time to get back to work on the things that will matter most in November.

    Tuesday, September 14, 2010

    Walker Mismanaged County and Campaign

    Obviously if Mark Neumann actually wins the Republican primary tonight it will be the biggest upset that I can remember in Wisconsin. However, it will still be a remarkable implosion even if Neumann merely makes it close. Walker has been campaigning endlessly for years. He had the most money, he has the party bosses behind him and at one point he even was reported to have something like a 30-40 point lead on Neumann. Even if this turns into a single or low double digit win, Walker is still a loser.

    I don't have access to any internal polling but just based on Neumann and Walker's actions recently, it seems pretty clear that they both think that it has become a very tight race. I think that the Recess Supervisor has perhaps outlined this best when he observed the following:

    Two months ago: Mark Neumann talks about Scott Walker, Scott Walker talks about Tom Barrett.
    Now: Mark Neumann talks about Tom Barrett, Scott Walker talks about Mark Neumann.

    Two months ago: Mark Neumann's roughing up Scott Walker, Scott Walker wants everyone to play nice.
    Now: Scott Walker can't go negative enough, Mark Neumann wants to know who will sign his clean campaign pledge.

    So one of two things has happened in the last two months. Maybe we've moved into a parallel universe where the guy who's behind acts like he's ahead, and the guy who's ahead acts like he's behind.

    Or maybe Neumann is polling ahead, and both sides have numbers that show it.

    Even if Walker squeaks by Neumann tonight, he has got an entire list of problems to figure out before November. 1. The large amount of cash that he unexpectedly must have spent in the last weeks of the primary. 2. His phony (and very expensive) recycled campaign gimmick didn't take like he thought it would. 3. How to stop making dumb and unforced errors? 4. Large portions of the public bail on him as soon as they get past his rhetoric and get a real taste of his actual record.

    If you ask me, regardless of the actual results tonight, Scott Walker has mismanaged his campaign almost as badly as he has mismanaged Milwaukee County. When you think about it, he has actually used the same failed models for both: 1. Gimmicks rather than real solutions 2. Favoring the short-term politically expedient regardless of the long-term costs 3. Shamelessly saying and doing anything to advance his own political career.

    So we have now witnessed the results of Walker grossly mismanaging both a county and a second statewide campaign. Hopefully the public will see these various examples and keep him from doing the same thing to the entire State of Wisconsin.

    Friday, September 10, 2010

    But that is exactly what they want to do!

    Two items from a recent Wall Street Journal/NBC News poll is a perfect example of something that drives me crazy. One part of the poll questioned people on how they would feel about a candidate based on several policy positions. The two policy positions that brought the highest "uncomfortable" ratings are exactly the same kinds of things that Republicans plan to do.

    The issue that by far made people "very uncomfortable" (49%) was the Paul Ryan concept of "phasing out Social Security" and instead allowing workers to "invest their Social Security contributions in the stock market."

    The issue that came in second (39%)on the "uncomfortable" meter was that a candidate would support the economic policies of former president George W. Bush.

    The task for Democrats between now and November is to make sure that the public knows that the top two things that make them most "uncomfortable" about a candidate is exactly what most Republican candidates want to do.

    ht: Think Progress

    Thursday, September 09, 2010

    Walker Campaign Finance Violations Keep Growing

    One Wisconsin Now (OWN) announced that it has filed a complaint against Scott Walker's campaign with the Government Accountability Board (GAB). They did this after discovering that Scott Walker's latest campaign finance filing is missing the required employer information for 214 contributors. OWN further reports that Walker has repeatedly failed to follow these disclosure rules at least 650 times since 2009.

    This kind of wilful neglect of our campaign finance laws is not just a simple mistake for Walker. One could give a candidate the benefit of the doubt under normal circumstances but for Walker it is a prolonged pattern going back many years. Consider some of the following (familiar sounding) details:

    • Walker is the owner of what was the second highest campaign related fine in state history. In this instance Walker failed to include proper disclosures in a round of robo calls for which his campaign paid. (2005)
    • Walker also failed to report at least 18 $100+ donors in 2004. County Election Commission documents also show the frustration that they had with his campaign's poor reporting in a number of areas during that same year.
    • In 2002 and 2003, Walker’s campaign failed to identify the occupations of approximately 57 donors who gave more than $100 to his campaign. One of those donors was reportedly Bruce Pfaff, who eventually managed Walker’s first gubernatorial campaign. Walker received a failing grade in a 2002 analysis by the Wisconsin Democracy Campaign. The failing grade was based on the total number and value of improperly reported contributions. [Capital Times, 5/14/02]

    At what point does Scott Walker and his campaign have to pay a serious price for this repeated pattern of ignoring our campaign finance laws? The new OWN analysis shows that the problem is actually getting much worse and as such it warrants a more severe sanction from GAB.

    Tuesday, September 07, 2010

    New Visit from Prez Brings New Flip-Flop from Walker?

    Anyone that has been paying attention to Scott Walker for any length of time knows that he will say and do anything to feed his personal political ambitions. So it should be no surprise that Walker is in a continual state of flip-floppiness. Just a few examples: against the stimulus but still relies on it to close the gaping holes in his budget, pretends to be concerned about the AZ immigration law but changes course 24 hours later, has been both for and against concealed-carry, was against building a new mental health facility but after his mismanagement of BHD was repeatedly exposed he now has agreed to a new facility. The list goes on and on and on. Now a new visit from President Obama seems to have brought with it another case of Walker flip-flops.

    Just a few weeks ago when the President was in town, Scott Walker ran an ad and held an event calling for the shifting of money designated for high speed rail to roads instead (even though he knows that this is not possible). On Monday the President came back to town to announce a $50 billion additional investment in our country's infrastructure. This includes additional funding for roads. In fact the initial spending would involve improving 150,000 miles of roads.

    In typical knee-jerk fashion, Walker attacked the president for his new proposed investment in our nation's infrastructure. So let me see if I am understanding this correctly...

    During the President's August visit Walker said, "I'd rather take that (federal) money and fix Wisconsin's crumbling roads and bridges."

    But during the President's visit on Monday (only weeks later)Walker attacked the President because he wants to invest in the fixing of Wisconsin's roads and bridges?

    What gives? Am I missing something in translation or did the new visit from President Obama cause a new flip-flop from Scott Walker? So does he want a federal investment in our local roads and bridges or doesn't he?

    Wednesday, September 01, 2010

    Breaking: Charlie Sykes is "Unreliable"

    So who really generates the fact-free talking points for the Republican Party of Wisconsin? It is a "chicken and egg" kind of question. Is it the Milwaukee-area right wing radio talkers or is it the actual "leadership" of the party itself? Just a few hours ago we got a perfect example that it very well could be the former.

    Today the Republican Party of Wisconsin sent out a false press release claiming that Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett had some kind of super secret fundraiser with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (who was actually in town to address the American Legion). It was confirmed by the Associated Press that this alleged fundraiser never happened and like many things this year, it only existed somewhere in the far reaches of the right wing mind.

    When the Republican Party of Wisconsin was confronted with their false press release they admitted that they had no proof to back it up. About an hour after being challenged they actually retracted the press release (doodles and all).

    As it turns out, the Republican Party of Wisconsin based this entire press release on information churned out by right wing talker Charlie Sykes. The fact that this kind of fiction can so easily make it into an RPW press release without the slightest bit of research is extremely telling.

    Speaking to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel about their false press release, the RPW admitted that it was based on an "unreliable" source. Pity that it took them this kind of embarrassment to learn that lesson. It is something that the Brew City Brawler, Whallah and others have been documenting for years. Maybe the RPW already read all of that material and just doesn't care. Maybe this is just another sign that they will do and say anything to win an election. Presenting unreliable info doesn't seem to matter...until they get caught.