Nelson hasn’t been on dat twitta since July. Is social media not an asset when you’re running for County Executive of not-Dane/Milwaukee?
Nelson hasn’t been on dat twitta since July. Is social media not an asset when you’re running for County Executive of not-Dane/Milwaukee?
A lot of money from a lot of people — that’s Russ Feingold’s first quarter fundraising and cash on hand figures. The campaign has managed to put $4.26 million in the bank, $1.34 in the first quarter alone, with an average contribution of just $51. Good news for Wisconsin progressives.
Thing aren’t looking so good for the opposition, flip-flops abound.
A June 2007 In Business article by Terrence Wall sang the praises of a commuter rail project proposed by liberal Dane County Executive Kathleen Falk, who also received multiple campaign contributions from Wall. Meanwhile in this month’s IB Wall is ardently opposed to a rail project, partially due to the cost. Nevermind that Madison-Milwaukee high speed rail would be paid for by stimulus money, meant to put people back to work. There is more to the article, Wall makes some legitimate points that need a response but time is running short. Abridged explanation: Wall can’t support any rail project at this point, as the response of his party to any Democratic idea is “no.”
Tommy Thompson continues the flip-flop dance with his new partner being an exploratory committee. First Tommy for health care reform, then against it; for the stimulus (profiting from it), then against it. Now Will-he-Won’t-he Tommy appears ready to go ahead with the committee. Does he really want to run or just see his name in the papers? We’ll find out…in a couple months.
Dave Westlake hasn’t pulled a flip-flop since the sneaky reversal on campaign donations. Westlake is more interesting than flip-flops. This video released last week features Westlake saying he learned to “shoot a gun before learning how to ride a bike,” “children going to hunter’s safety classes have been demonized,” and finally “our second amendment rights have been eroded.” Westlake then rapidly fires seven rounds from a pistol before eying up the camera.
The problem is our second amendment rights are not being eroded. The Supreme Court threw out a decades-old handgun ban in Washington DC. The assault weapon ban expired in 2004 and Senator Feingold does not support a new one. Using “the-government-wants-to-take-your-guns” line is campaigning to the lowest common denominator and a shameful tactic.
Changing your mind is fine when done for a legitimate reason. Scrutinizing one’s position on an issue is not a weakness. However, changing a position to score political points is. Senator Feingold’s competition shifts their stance to stay in lockstep with the Republican party. Feingold votes to protect the people of Wisconsin.
Barrett launched a SayNow profile today, allowing people to call 414-395-1855 and leave a message for Tom and the campaign. The messages are available for anyone to listen to, with ideas on job creation ranging from tax cuts to beautifying buses, personal stories, constructive criticism and “I hope your hand gets better” well wishes. SayNow appears to be used mostly by entertainers, a candidate for public office utilizing the platform is intriguing.
Senator Feingold recently launched a mobile messaging program allowing users to sign up for text message updates. The vote for predictions of sausage race winners on opening day was brilliant, though I missed my chance to cast a ballot. Text RUSS to 91990 to sign up for the updates.
But don’t forget to tell your friends IRL to vote for the candidate that actually brings jobs to Milwaukee and the senator fighting for the regular citizens of Wisconsin. Being good at the internet doesn’t win elections yet.
Wisconsin Right to Life just reaffirmed their status as backwards and out of touch, lamenting the “court-ordered death” of Terri Schiavo five years ago. If WRTL thinks this stunt will win the group new fans, they are mistaken.
Polling done before and after the family-feud-turned-national-ordeal shows no public support for any WRTL positions, from government intervention, to the husband’s right to make a decision for his spouse, to people’s own personal wishes should they be in a vegetative state.
The Schiavo-”Life” fiasco was and is a case of ideology trumping reason and decency. WRTL wants abortion outlawed. I understand that. They are wrong in their desire to allow a foreign entity control over the internal affairs of a woman’s body, but I get where they’re coming from. The extrapolation of banning abortion to keeping humans in a vegetative state for 15 years, I do not understand. And I don’t think Wisconsin Right to Life does either.
The group says and does many things at odds, logically. Their television commercial “Repeats,” in addition to presenting dubious and undocumented “facts” bemoans women “using abortion as contraception” (see dubious and undocumented) yet actively opposes any effort to provide or promote contraception or contraceptive education. There can be no abortions without pregnancies. Contraception prevents pregnancies. Not as simple as it sounds, but simple nonetheless.
The right-wing cannot square their largest pillar of ideology, limited government, with support of the anti-choice movement. Government could not be bigger when it dictates a woman’s actions inside her own body. Why would government want to? The choice of a woman affects that woman first and foremost, far more than any other entity, and certainly of no significance to officials in government or a protester at a clinic. Without coming close to a compelling interest in the matter, government should stay out.
Abortion is a contentious issue and not a topic I enjoy discussing much. People generally have their minds made up and imploring them to take one position or the other is generally futile. Ideology can be a burden. Beyond the abortion debate, do not allow yourself to be blinded by ideology. Generally speaking a limited government is ideal, and a health insurance mandate goes against the concept. But with millions of American’s uninsured due to pre-existing conditions, the only way to guarantee that important coverage is to force insurers to cover people regardless of a pre-existing condition. The only manner to prevent citizens gaming the system by not purchasing insurance until they are sick is a mandate.
What’s more important, a limited government theory already flawed from loopholes based on morality (see drugs, abortion and federal involvement in Michael Schiavo’s care for his wife) or millions of lives?
Dan Kapanke’s latest press release is a typical GOP short-on-facts-and-ideas attack, referring to Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid when the real issue is the 3rd Congressional District is the health of citizens. I know at least some of the GOP talking points Kapanke offers were brought up during the health care summit he dismisses as “political theater.”
The television coverage of the summit has been horrible. The cable news networks cut away at will to commentary from their personalities-posing-as-journalists while lawmakers were discussing policy. I heard a live feed was on CSPAN 3…who gets that? What was more important on CSPAN and CSPAN2? After all the pundits complained about previous health care negotiations going on in backrooms, not openly as the president promised, what are we going to hear about this? People don’t care enough to watch anyway, hockey was on.
And when is a reporter going to call Terrence Wall out for claiming Russ Feingold lacks values and principles? I’d like an example Terrence, but I believe you’re giving it to me when you say nothing at all.
Following Governor Doyle’s State of the State address last night, the La Crosse Tribune reported state Senator and third district congressional candidate Dan Kapanke called for the state to adopt zero-based budgeting;
“Let’s build each department from dollar one,” Kapanke said.
Zero-based budgeting makes for great rhetoric as it requires administrators to justify each dollar spent in a department budget, instead of assuming funding levels from the last budget as a given. In the present hostile-to-government, tea party environment, voters love hearing “the government is not entitled to anything.”
Unfortunately zero-based budgeting is a bureaucratic nightmare. The hours spent re-building a budget from scratch is rarely recovered in cost-savings. Despite open hostility to government, many people have grown quite comfortable with government programs. The political backlash to cuts can be enormous.
The federal government tried a form of zero-based budgeting in the 1970′s under President Jimmy Carter, experiencing the problems described above. President Ronald Reagan ended the experiment, as did most state and local governments (Public Budgeting Systems, 7th ed, p. 122-3). Even Reagan acknowledged the flaws of ZBB, but it continues to be brought up by Wisconsin Republicans like Kapanke and Brett Davis, both while seeking higher office.
The Republican Party of Wisconsin is good at offering mere talking points without any proposals that could actually improve government or people’s lives. In the same article Kapanke touts stunts for his Congressional campaign, state Sen. Kathleen Vinehout discusses the Wisconsin CORE Jobs Act saying;
“It’s not easy to put into a sound bite…it’s a way to make capital available to new businesses.”
Vinehout’s honesty is refreshing. Not only is she neglecting talking points for her re-election this fall, she is actively working to put Wisconsinites back to work.
Republicans often say “health care is flawed but we don’t need to dismantle the entire system to reform it.” Government budgets contain waste but compiling each budget from scratch is not the best method to eliminate that waste. More legislators should follow Sen. Vinehout’s example and put people over political stunts.
“Congressman Kind holding a press conference on fiscal responsibility is like Mark McGwire holding a seminar with kids telling them to drink milk to get strong.”
Ignore the false premise the above statement is based on, but in the spirit of witty rhetoric if I needed a simile to describe an implausible scenario it would end “…is like the Republican Party of Wisconsin making a positive contribution to governing.”
Looking back on RPW press releases, the record of inaction is clear. Gripes about unemployment and taxes, inevidenced claims of early voting fraud, and the dripping-with-irony statement Tom Barrett is all talk and no action.
A lecture on fiscal responsibility from the Republican party is simply not credible. Pay-as-you-go budgeting allowed the government to operate with a surplus under President Clinton (and yes, a GOP Congress). In 2002 under President Bush, the practice expired. President Obama inherited a government once again operating with a deficit, along with the Great Recession, necessitating large-scale, temporary government spending to correct.
Even the WPRI acknowledged a Democrat with a plan for deficit reduction. With the constant obstructionism is the RPW behaving worse than the WPRI? I always thought the two groups were one in the same so I’m having a hard time wrapping my head around it…
The Republican Party is focused solely on regaining power at both the state and national level. The gameplan is to insult and obstruct. Republican desire to retake committee chairs outweighs the well-being of American citizens. Republican cries for bipartisanship are a sham, another act in the playbook for a majority. Republicans are not interested in making a contribution, only doing whatever it takes to return to power in the government they so passionately hate.
Wisconsin Right to Life is taking on the state Senate for considering (now, passing) a bill to regulate paid communications with the purpose of influencing an election because an impending Supreme Court ruling might declare such legislation unconstitutional. Oh, and it would limit WRTL anonymously funded, unregulated attack ads;
“The State Senate is poised to vote tomorrow on a bill that would force citizen organizations (ones that are not political action committees) to reveal the personal information of their donors to the State if a citizen organization issued a communication mentioning the name of a candidate within 60 days of an election.”
While the groups referred to are not technically political action committees, they are definitely groups that take political action. Using technicalities in the tax code they are able to advocate to limited degrees without disclosing a source of funding.
Legislative and PAC director Susan Armacost’s own words work against the group (emphasis mine);
“Senate Bill 43 is an affront to the First Amendment rights of citizens and citizen organizations who should be able to freely engage in political discourse.”
Television commercials are not free. They are expensive and their purchase is limited to wealthy individuals and groups. Allowing unfettered spending on commercials attempting to influence elections is an affront to democracy, not the First Amendment.
Armacost claims the state Senate is “oblivious” to the coming Supreme Court ruling on Citizens United v. FEC;
“To hold a vote on the bill prior to the Court’s ruling is both foolhardy and a waste of state resources.”
If a subsequent ruling (however wrongheaded) deems the bill unconstitutional so be it. However the 26-7 passage should send a message to the bills detractors that Wisconsinites are not interested in elections determined by those with the deepest pockets.
The Capital Times wants Wisconsin to shift spring elections to the fall. Spring elections have a low voter turnout, moving the races to the more popular fall ballot would theoretically increase citizen input on important state and local government positions.
The editorial board has a point, spring turnout is dismal and an embarrassment to our representative democracy. However moving spring elections to fall results in a problem the Cap Times failed to address; an uninformed electorate.
Local candidates would be drowned out by big spending races for Congress and the state legislature. Every four years, the dirt created by the presidential election would bury local races. The ballots would be monstrous, front-and-back affairs. The average voter isn’t prepared to make a dozen or more separate choices at the polls.
The Cap Times offers an alternative to eliminating the spring elections completely; instant runoff voting. This would eliminate the spring primary, which drew only 6 percent of eligible voters in 2009. Local governments around the state would save millions of dollars (provided their current equipment could handle the change of method) if the practice was adopted. The results of IRV would also make for an interesting case study.
Something should be done about the spring elections, but unfortunately not everyone finds civic engagement as crucial as I (or you, probably). Instant runoff voting would be a great experiment, but even with the savings from eliminating the primary, could be more expensive in the short term. But freedom isn’t free, right?
The state Government Accountability Board’s guiding principal on pre-election balloting is noble, and a sound basis for Wisconsin election policy;
“…to improve absentee voting while maintaining our commitment to open, fair, cost-effective, secure, and transparent elections conducted with the highest possible integrity.”
Although Wisconsin voters are currently able to vote up to and including the day before election day, the GAB advocates the elimination of absentee voting the day before the election because staff are too busy preparing for the election. The board claims the rush of voters before the fall 2008 presidential election as evidence;
“Election administrators felt overwhelmed with managing in-person absentee applications and ballot logs before Election Day, while voters complained of long lines at in-person absentee voting sites.”
If this is the case, election administrators need to be better prepared. Perhaps a municipal employee from another department should be available to handle absentee ballots, or a citizen election judge if early voting were to be implemented.
Andrea Kaminski of the League of Women Voters, always a pro-enfranchisement group is correct when she notes;
“Part of my rights as a voter is knowing the election has been efficiently administered and my vote will be counted and not lost.”
The local officials running an election have a difficult job, with no room for error. The state should not attempt to reduce the burden by making voting more difficult, however.
Under current regulations absentee voting is mostly sufficient and early voting unnecessary, but current regulations have their flaws. To ease the burden on city and village clerks seeing large turnout the state could move forward with an early voting program allowing ballots to be cast in a limited number of largely populated areas. An election administrator would then mark on the official registration roll that citizen has voted, and there would be no confusion if the same citizen showed up to the polls and asked for a ballot on election day.
There is no one size fits all approach. State mandated early voting at all precincts would be cost prohibitive and unnecessary in sparsely populated areas. These precincts feel no strain from absentee ballots the day before an election, so prohibiting those ballots from being cast is unnecessary. A middle ground needs to be reached for the most democracy in Wisconsin.