Democrats Import Illinois Senator as Convention Keynote

Wisconsin Democrats are turning to a U.S. Senator from Illinois to highlight their party’s annual convention in June. From the AP:

U.S. Sen. Tammy Duckworth, of Illinois, will be the keynote speaker at the Wisconsin Democratic Party convention in June.

The state party on Thursday announced Duckworth as the headliner for the first day of its meeting Friday, June 2. The annual gathering bringing together state office holders, party activists and others is in Middleton, just outside of Madison.

The meeting comes as the Democratic Party prepares to defend the seat of U.S. Sen. Tammy Baldwin next year and find a challenger for Republican Gov. Scott Walker. Numerous Democrats have said they will not take him on, while others are still mulling whether to get in the race.

The AP report mentions Democratic Senator Tammy Baldwin, who would seem to be the obvious choice to serve as the keynote speaker. That, in part, is because the Democrats don’t yet have a candidate for governor to put front-and-center.

But why is Baldwin taking a lower-profile role? Is she afraid of reminding everyone that she’s the far-left Democrats’ superhero in a state that’s been consistently rejecting Democrats? Considering several of her recent initiatives, including advertising that President Trump supports her “buy America” plan, as well as a politically motivated move to de-list the Grey Wolf, that’s not an unreasonable guess.

In any case, importing a senator from a neighboring state to highlight a convention is a loud statement about how little talent the party has in-state.

The Democratic Disconnect

Giving advice to Democrats is simple, but it’s not easy. Most of their ideas involve either a new government initiative for every wrong in society, or creating a wrong for every new government initiative.

But the soup d’jour is figuring out what the hell is wrong with the Democratic Party, and how they can fix it, and it’s difficult not to chime in. My thesis, in short, is that the Democrats don’t care about anyone who won’t show up at a protest.

Democrats spent many years splicing the electorate into segments – segments that started broad. By race, by gender, by immigration status, and so on. I’d suppose that this formulation started after 2004 – after Howard Dean yelled himself out of the Democratic primary, and became a ground-changing chairman of the Democratic National Committee. Dean led the DNC to a remarkable tech-driven renaissance that put his party ahead of the medieval GOP for years.

But the identity-driven politics that Dean’s data operation enabled became increasingly nuanced. Pretty soon the Democrats were targeting college-educated-women-who-change-their-own-oil-and-drive-six-cylinder-domestic-vehicles who may support bisexual school board candidates.

You can cut your electorate into too-small chunks, then get obsessed with whipping them into a meringue.

That’s what the Democrats did. They spent quite a bit of time championing non-sexual bathrooms and transsexualism, which doesn’t appeal to people who just tele-trained their foreign replacement. They flung flames about global warming, which is on the back burner for someone who is working two jobs to pay for the next trip to the grocery store. They blabbed nonstop about increasing taxes on “the rich,” all while average working people saw one-third of their paychecks going to the government – people who started wondering what the government’s definition of “the rich” really is.

I have nothing against an adult who makes a decision about their gender identity. I have plenty of things to concern myself with – that’s not one of them. I think climate change is happening – it has been for billions of years. I think wealthy and well-connected people get away with too many tax loopholes – a problem that only major tax reform can change.

But the Democrats didn’t make that case. They claimed Republicans hate the LGBT community. They claimed they Republicans want Manhattan to be destroyed by a tsunami/ice storm in which Dennis Quaid suffers a tragic end. They claimed the Republicans love to enrich billionaire hedge fund managers.

Lost in the ridiculous rhetoric for the last decade? Working middle class people who haven’t gotten a real raise in decades. Those are people like my dad, who drives truck for a construction company, or my mom, a preschool teacher – one of those relatively rare public workers whose pay and benefits exist in the real world like everyone else’s.

Nowadays, qualifiers like “the real world” and the “private sector” must be applied to areas of the economy populated by those who work in sectors of the economy where economic realities are fully felt. These realities, felt by Wisconsinites who bear a tremendous tax burden, are a large part of why Gov. Scott Walker won three elections in four years. It has nothing to do with jealousy over the deal public workers get – it has to do with the holy grail of progressive rhetoric: fairness.

Even without regard to public employees, the average working person has been fully cognizant of their declining status for decades. Many people have lost well-paying jobs during their working lives, many have been forced to take lower-paying jobs, and many others are forced to be on unemployment or assistance.

Most Americans don’t want assistance. Trump spoke to them.

Both parties have very recently gone through times when they needed serious introspection. After 2012, when the GOP lost a winnable race for president, they did their famous autopsy. Now, after losing the presidency to Donald Trump and Congress by an even wider margin, the Democrats have suffered three clobberings when Barack Obama was off the ballot. They are at least going through the motions of introspection, but re-electing Frisco weirdo Nancy Pelosi didn’t help.

Nonetheless, it appears rumors of the Republican Party’s demise have been greatly exaggerated. Maps of the party’s control of Congress are dominating; if Obama’s assertions that he would lower the seas in 2008 were true, and if the blue House districts around the country were the Democrats’ estuaries, the president has indeed fulfilled his goal. Blue areas have receded like floodwaters after a mild storm.

The Democrats have lost seats in the U.S. Senate, dozens of seats in the House, at least 12 governorships, and somewhere near 900 statehouse seats nationwide. There are now only four states where the Democrats control the governor’s mansion and both houses of the state legislature. In addition, one-third of all Democrat members of the House are from just three states: Massachusetts, New York, and California.

Geographically, most of the state of New York is red, and roughly half of California is red.

The Democrats answered a recent challenge to change their tone to address the concerns of working class Americans in “flyover country” via the challenge of Rep. Tim Ryan of Ohio, but they chose to put Nancy Pelosi back in place. Also, far-left Keith Ellison of Minnesota – documented to be an extreme left-wing socialist, is the frontrunner to take control over the Democratic National Committee.

Ellison should be organizing a protest; he’s hardly someone who can marshal the party to relate to average working Americans.

On healthcare reform, the Democrats’ flagship initiative, Obamacare, has led to an inflation of healthcare premiums and deductibles, rendering many plans as useless as a power drill without a battery. Americans recognize this, even if Donald Trump didn’t articulate it well on his campaign.

On the minimum wage, Democrat professional operatives are flooding the street demanding a $15 minimum wage. For Americans who work for that amount or less in far more important jobs than slapping together a smooshed fast-food burger, the demand is downright offensive.

The Democrats are also now the party of political correctness. On campuses and elsewhere, the stories stream forth about nonsensical, fabricated offenses, microaggressions, safe spaces, and other idiocies that Americans who are struggling to afford to go to the grocery store simply don’t give a crap about.

Most Americans don’t care about someone’s race. On race relations, the Democrats have become the party obsessed with race versus race. To be sure, there are concerns to address about criminal justice, mandatory sentencing, and police profiling, but most Americans are more concerned about crime in America’s communities than what the skin color is of who commits the crime. That’s a legacy of Martin Luther King, Jr.’s crusade to remove skin color from the most important conversations about public policy in America.

On abortion: most Americans aren’t extreme on the issue, but few believe abortion should be a method of birth control. The thought that aborted babies are a source of material for research also unsettles many Americans. It seems now that many Democrats have taken a hard-line stance on abortion that the American people, who are more nuanced than many in the political elite give them credit for, do not support.

And while a large number of Americans are aware of the issue of climate change, it’s not at the forefront of Americans who are suffering a declining standard of living. And despite its best efforts, the left has not effectively made the case that massive economic disruptions are worth addressing it. Most Americans are aware that the climate is never static and are deeply skeptical that expensive corporate welfare for green energy corporations that put up wind mills in Indiana is the solution.

Back to geography: Thirty percent of the House Democratic Caucus is from three states: Massachusetts, New York, and California. That astounding fact shows that claims the GOP was doomed to decay into a regional, marginal party was in fact diametrically untrue.

In the wake of their lurch to the left, the Democrats have become a starkly regional party, limited to the coastal and urban areas of the country – all despite a decade-long campaign to besmirch conservatives.

The Democrats and their allies in the media mocked the Tea Party movement that emerged during the debate over Pres. Obama’s healthcare law in 2009-2010 as Koch Brothers-funded astroturf. That era produced a massive upswell of conservative voter sentiment and swept Democrats from power at all levels of government.

Six years later, Democrats’ fortunes have not improved. In their mockery, the Democrats erred. The Tea Party movement and the subsequent high tide on the right has produced an incredible number of fresh faces in politics in state legislatures, governor’s mansions, congress, and the Senate. The Left has produced its own uprisings, from “Occupy” to “Black Lives Matter.” Neither appears poised to produce viable candidates for office, and the core message of nonstop protests by leftists is muddled at best, and will only turn people away.

Those who spend their time working, raising a family, and running a household are not impressed by protesters who march out, block the streets, and in some cases smash windshields and destroy storefronts.

In the foreseeable future, the Democratic Party will be hobbled by extreme causes that are disjointed with the pocketbook concerns of most Americans. Their hyper-segmentation of the electorate that produces anger among a very small slice of the American people, who take to the streets and block roads that people use to get home from work in order to protest, will only increase that party’s marginalization.

There’s simply nothing left that the Democratic Party stands for that the majority of Americans care all that much about.

The Democratic Party’s star has not gone supernova. Instead, it has just shriveled, shedding its hot corona and shrinking to a small core that is dense, hot, potentially dangerous, but otherwise insignificant in the broader political universe.

Lies, Damned Lies, and The Democratic Party – Part XXXII

The Wisconsin Left’s dishonesty – indeed, seeming eagerness to straight-up lie – could be the theme of a publication unto itself. Once again, they’ve been caught with their pants on fire by claiming Wisconsin ACT scores plummeted to 41st in the nation. This is of course a total lie.

In a news release (that’s still up on the DPW website as long as the link works), the party breathlessly exclaimed:

Newly released information from the Department of Instruction shows a dramatic decline in student ACT results in the past year. Test scores dropped Wisconsin from 2nd in the country to 41st in the nation among states where more than half the students took the exam.

Without getting into the weeds of how ACT test scores are calculated and can legitimately be analyzed, the truth is that the state’s scores stayed the same as the previous year, 22.2 on average. That puts Wisconsin second among states where more than half of graduating seniors took the ACT.

Not 41st.

Basically, the DPW claim compares apples to oranges to wring the worst possible number out of the data.

Politifact, to its credit, called this a “pants-on-fire” lie – the lyiest lie rating they give:

For years, Wisconsin leaders have expressed pride in how the state’s high school students perform on the ACT exam, which assesses students’ academic readiness for college.

From 2008 through 2014, with Minnesota ranking first, Wisconsin has battled, usually with Iowa, for second or third.

That is, among states where more than half of the students take the ACT.

So, it was a surprise on Jan. 14, 2016 when the Wisconsin Democratic Party issued a news release declaring that Wisconsin’s ACT rank had plunged to near the bottom.

“Newly released information from the (Wisconsin) Department of Instruction shows a dramatic decline in student ACT results in the past year,” the news release stated, blaming Republican Gov. Scott Walker.

“Test scores dropped Wisconsin from second in the country to 41st in the nation among states where more than half the students took the exam.”

Such a free-fall should have produced blaring headlines.

There were no headlines because it wasn’t true, and news outlets typically avoid reporting outright lies.

A DPW spokesman issued a quasi-mea culpa, claiming the party “flubbed” the data. But this is dubious given their history.

The DPW also straight-up lied about Scott Walker’s early exit from Marquette University. At the time, as is the case now, they didn’t even bother taking down the lie. A webpage peddling their fictional narrative that Walker was expelled for trying to rig a campus election persisted at least through the 2014 election.

They’d hate to let the truth, or even a variation of it, derail their attempt to portray Walker as a nefarious dolt.

They also straight-up lied when they edited a video of Walker nodding, juxtaposed against a question of whether he’d been involved in a “criminal scheme” to make it seem like he was admitting wrongdoing. Walker has an unnerving tendency to tacitly acknowledge (by nodding along or just being nice to the reporter) the premises of questioners, which hurt him during the presidential campaign when he seemed to endorse a wall along the Canadian border.

In that case, the DPW was peddling a narrative that Walker was the head of a nefarious criminal enterprise teeming with evil mustache-twirling conservatives. Like the defunct, discredited John Doe probes that pumped out misinformation to advance the “criminal” storyline, it’s always full speed ahead, truth be damned.

Both lies also earned the pants-on-fire rating from Politifact.

Sure, both parties stretch the truth and even lie. But the ongoing, relentless bald-faced lies by The Left in Wisconsin never cease to amaze, especially in a state like Wisconsin, where decorum and honesty are still valued. Maybe their dishonesty is the cause of the beat-down Republicans have put on them in recent years, not the cure.

It appears that even with failed former DPW chairman Mike Tate off the party payroll (and on the payroll of the Bucks, oddly) and new, doe-eyed new chair Martha Laning, nothing has really changed on the other side. The professional Left in Wisconsin seems born and bred to constantly lie.


In case the DPW actually takes down the press release, I’ve kept it for posterity below:

Wisconsin ACT scores plummet

Newly released information from the Department of Instruction shows a dramatic decline in student ACT results in the past year. Test scores dropped Wisconsin from 2nd in the country to 41st in the nation among states where more than half the students took the exam.

“The latest information released today is another glaring failure of the Walker Administration to make sound, smart policy decisions to improve education in our state,” Democratic Party of Wisconsin Chair Martha Laning said on Thursday. “As a parent with children who have recently graduated from high school I’ve had a front row seat to the destructive changes that have short-changed our children and their futures. When budget cuts force schools to do more with less it’s no surprise that the quality of the education our children receive inevitably declines.”

In last year’s State of the State address, Governor Scott Walker claimed his education policies were working, boasting that “ACT scores are up and Wisconsin now ranks second in the country.” Now, five days away from Walker’s next State of the State it’s clear that the policies of the last six years have failed schools, students, and parents.

Out of a top score of 36, the average test score in the state dropped from 22.0 to 20.0, which pulls Wisconsin to dead last in the Midwest and tied with Kentucky for 41st in the entire country. Due to funding cuts, damage has been made to Wisconsin’s traditionally high-quality education system and now our kids, businesses and communities will suffer. Nationally, Wisconsin saw the fourth largest cut to K-12 general school aid funding in 2015-16 according to the nonpartisan research policy institute, the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities.

While Wisconsin has traditionally ranked above average in terms of ACT scores, these latest numbers place Wisconsin dead last in the Midwest and among the bottom ten states nationally.

“I can only empathize with the parents across the state who see this news and grow ever more concerned with the direction of our state. Our kids deserve the same high-quality education we had as kids and the choices the legislature has made is stealing that from them..” said Laning. “The state of education in Wisconsin is not strong. The newest numbers should be a wake-up call to the governor and the Republican legislature that their misguided priorities are hurting our education system and, therefore, our kids, businesses and communities.”

Peter Barca, Windbag Blowhard

Republicans have dominated the Wisconsin legislature with abandon this year. It’s fun to watch in the same way watching Aaron Rodgers lead the Packers on an 80-yard, twelve minute scoring drive is satisfying and enjoyable.

In the same way, it’s amusing to watch Pete Carroll throw his headset on the ground and berate a referee because his team can’t stop the Packers offense — an image conjured last night on the Assembly floor by Democrat Rep. Peter Barca.

Indulging in an ostensible technicality quickly proven to be nonsense, Democrats across the board recused themselves from the vote on campaign finance law reform, reasoning that because their campaign committees would be affected, they could not in good conscience cast a vote. Some were more quiet than others. As Brian Sikma reports at Media Trackers,

The most eloquent critique of the campaign finance legislation came from state Rep. LaTonya Johnson, a Milwaukee Democrat, who was quoted by WisPolitics saying, “This bill sucks.”

(Sikma also very effectively and pointedly lays out four reasons “the collective Assembly Democratic temper tantrum was stupid. Read it here.)

The Democrat machine was buttoned up; each legislator used a similarly and carefully-worded statement of recusal, invoking Statute 19.46, along the lines of “I must recuse myself because of the self interest this bill provides for me and members of this body,” or some variation thereof.

Recusal means not casting a vote and not participating in the debate.

This caused a problem when Barca interrupted Speaker Robin Vos’ floor speech. (Vos, by the way, gave a magnificent and sassy performance as the party’s leader in the Assembly last night.) When you recuse yourself, that’s it, you’re done. Finito. Vos casually made this point to Barca, who didn’t stop there.

Minutes later, Barca barked his anger at Speaker Pro Tem Tyler August for not yielding to his lunatic ravings.

“You ask somebody to yield to a question, you recognize them,” he declared (I think … the part before “yield to a question” was mumbled). “So don’t pull that on me again! I have every right to stand up when a member is speaking and ask him to yield to a question.” It was childish and embarrassing, characteristic only of a leader in liberal circles, where vein-popping faux-outrage rules the day.

Barca is the master of overwrought hyperbole, the portrait of bleeding-heartism, and the perfect leader for Democrat legislators in Wisconsin right now. In his book, any conservative reform or advancement is, to borrow a phrase, a traveshamockery.

It’s one thing for a fringe, rogue member of the party to maybe take a principled stand, the kind of thing Russ Feingold would do here and there in the US Senate. When the party leader spearheads the initiative, something has gone terribly wrong in the process of representative government. Yet it’s always Democrats accusing Republicans of tyranny.

Barca makes for a good attack dog in liberal circles, but he’s useless as an elected representative. His leadership speaks to the state of politics in this state and the Democrat Party of Wisconsin’s manifest inability to accomplish anything meaningful when they can’t ram it through without opposition. No wonder they hate Scott Walker so much: he’s smarter than they are at just about everything. Perhaps their Republican counterparts would take them more seriously if they didn’t pull impish stunts like refusing to vote or fleeing the state to avoid doing their jobs.

It’s a good thing the Packers have a bye this week. The entertainment value otherwise might’ve been overwhelming.

The Ed: Sad State of the Democratic Party

This week’s Martinicast editorial:

Wisconsin’s Democratic Party is a mess.

A series of crushing defeats – losing to Scott Walker three times in the past four years, losing the Assembly, losing the Senate – have Democrats in this state doing a lot of soul-searching.


Try as they may, they just can’t figure it out. Dem leaders Jennifer Shilling and Peter Barca offered limp denunciations of protesters camping out at Scott Walker’s home in Wauwatosa, where the governor’s 70-something mom and dad are living.

Barca said: “Generally speaking I think it’s better off not to visit people’s homes.” Oh, is that what they’re doing? Visiting?

Shilling said: “It’s their right. I don’t know that I necessarily agree with that.” No, it’s not their right to invade someone’s property. This from the woman who sat idly by as her allies dumped roofing nails in ousted Senator Dan Kapanke’s driveway and county snowplows buried his mailbox. Shilling had nothing to say then. Now, she’s struggling against her instincts to trash the place when Democrats don’t get their way.

Speaking of struggling against instincts, the Democrats are searching for a new leader to replace outgoing firebrand Mike Tate, the architect of Democratic failures. The slate of candidates is more of the same, the same old pitchfork-and-torches types that make the Democrats feel comfortable.

Meanwhile, the one shining victory of the Dems in the past few years may be coming unraveled. Marquette Baylor, the staffer for Sen. Tammy Baldwin, has decided not to take the hush money offered to her after the Senator canned her in the wake of the Tomah VA scandal. Instead, she’s suing. This could destroy Baldwin.

And pundits on the left whose noses are certainly raw from scraping the ceiling have lined up in an all-too predictable diatribe bemoaning a “GOP War on Knowledge.” One columnist wrote that Walker is putting scientists on the chopping block. Another lefty writer actually claimed Walker is waging a “dangerous war on knowledge.” Because science doesn’t happen if it’s not funded by a bloated government budget.

It’s all a transparent attempt to portray the Governor as a brutal barbarian. Watch as it unfolds into a concerted effort to paint presidential candidate Walker as dumb.

Dumb he is not. In fact, the most crushing defeat for the Democratic Party wasn’t necessarily at the polls in recent years. Where they saw a beautiful display of democracy, everyone else saw a mob of thugs trashing the capitol, or protesting in front of a private home occupied by an elderly couple.

Walker played all of this – and the Democrats – like a ukulele. In a way the Democrats themselves created Scott Walker, the presidential candidate with double digit poll numbers in early primary states.

It’s a time for soul searching in the Democratic Party of Wisconsin. But they’re all struggling against their instincts in the process. And as long as they convince themselves Republicans are some combination of evil and moronic, they will continue to lose.

Let ‘Em Have A Say

The advisory referendum is mostly a tactic liberals use to drum up turnout, which they did in November’s elections in the name of sending a message. But faced with referenda of substance that might sink a new tax or stop a gaudy new government building, liberals on the SS Principle scramble to jump ship.

Local governments around the state used this trick in last November’s election in an effort to drive up turnout in some of the state’s more reliable storeholds of liberal votes. Advisory referenda popped up in lefty bastions like Dane, Milwaukee, and La Crosse counties on whether to raise the minimum wage and accept Medicaid expansion money from the feds via Obamacare.

Both were facets of the Democrats’ messaging strategy and were added to local ballots as part of a concerted statewide strategy that several county board supervisors (and anyone who knows how it works) say used language that was copy-pasted out of an SEIU memo.

Their flag being carried by a ho-hum corporate Democrat who inspired the excitement of a log bobbing in a creek, The Left needed to pull out all the stops. You can’t blame them – Mary Burke was simply a dud, and they knew it. Of course the tactic failed and Scott Walker won re-election, but both ballot questions passed with heavy support, demonstrating the inconsistent and moralistic Wisconsin voter theory we’ve talked about at length.

Democrats get all excited about allowing the public to weight in, but only when it benefits the righteous cause of liberalism.

Prior to the election, Democrats mostly commented on the supposed merits of the questions rather than the motives of the referenda itself. WPR quoted La Crosse County supervisor Monica Kruse, a retired teacher who droned on and on about how hard it is to make a career out of burger flipping. This article quotes a “former minimum wage worker.”

(If that’s the criteria for being an expert on the economic issue of price floors, interview me. I flipped burgers throughout high school and college.)

But HuffPo wrung the real reason for the ballot items out of Jennifer Epps-Addison, executive director of Wisconsin Jobs Now, the ad hoc organization set up to use the wage question to drive turnout among The Left. “This is a really close race, and what we think will happen is that it will force the issue to become a more central theme in both of the candidates’ campaigns,” JE-A said.

JE-A also praised the merits of placing the items on ballots. “…They (the people) want to have their voice heard on this issue, which is largely being ignored in our state legislature,” she said.

Those two ballot questions are now moot, but today in La Crosse, liberals led by Rep. Steve Doyle (who double dips at the taxpayer trough by retaining his seat on the county board) have done an amazingly obvious about-face on the issue of giving voters a say. The question at hand now is a new county “Wheel Tax.”

After squandering the county’s transportation fund by dipping into it to pay the debt service on a new jail built in 1996, the Doyle brigade is now whining about a shortage in the county’s transportation fund. The issue is the local element to the statewide debate on how to replenish a tattered transportation fund reeling after years of raids by Jim Doyle. That sounds familiar.

La Crosse County Board liberals are now proposing the “Wheel Tax,” which substantially hikes the cost of vehicle registration by $20, to generate a couple million a year to pay off the unions fund road repairs.

(I wonder if any of this plan’s supporters oppose the proposed “Prius surcharge.“)

As if to demonstrate their proclivity for eschewing principled governance and giving in to their subsurface disdain for rank-and-file voters, Doyle and his allies are lining up against putting the Wheel Tax to a referendum, a proposition that would almost certainly be rejected in spectacular fashion akin to when the train exploded at the end of Back to the Future Part III.

County Administrator Steve O’Malley offered a flaccid defense of the proposal: “…This would be poor precedent to hold a referendum on a single revenue source,” he said. O’Malley would be a logical point person for defending the proposal, which would amount to being thrown under the bus because no one will ever cast a ballot in his name.

The referendum’s sponsor, supervisor Ray Ebert, part of the growing rebellion of conservative and moderate board members, snapped back, saying O’Malley “should stay out of policy decisions,” and leave it to the board.

The referendum battle is just heating up – whether we’ll have one will be decided in February, which will be a real test for the insurgent anti-Doyle group.

This isn’t the first time the La Crosse County Board’s liberal leadership has balked at principle. While denouncing GOP efforts to institute voter ID as a voter suppression tactic, Doyle and his majority bloc on the board walked in lockstep rejecting a plan to hold a special election for a seat that was vacated by a Doyle ally just days after his re-election. (Supervisor Andrew Londre had purchased a new house outside the district months before the election but opted to stay on the ballot so his replacement could be appointed after the election).

Instead of giving voters in the district the chance to cast a ballot, Doyle’s hand-picked successor as board chairman, Tara Johnson, bypassed two very qualified candidates – one who once held the seat, and another who nearly won the seat in 2012, both of whom have earned a large number of votes in the district in past elections – and instead appointed a liberal teacher with no experience and for whom no one in the district has ever cast a ballot.

It was one of many dirty deals in the Doyle/Johnson tenure that Doyle has used to consolidate power and keep the board loyal to him – all while not just suppressing voter turnout, but denying them the ability to vote at all. Principle be damned, Doyle has his toadie.

Conservatives and moderates can and should oppose the Wheel Tax. The board just passed a budget that increases spending by $30 million, an opportunity to point out the listless and reckless fiscal direction of the county. They should also discuss the merits of the the referendum on the same grounds used by Democrats in November, because the referendum can be a valuable tool – especially when it’s conducted fairly and when it’s binding.

About the results of the Medicaid expansion question, Kruse told the La Crosse Tribune, “They (Republicans) ignore it at their own peril…Even though it is just advisory, it can be a mandate showing it is very important for Wisconsin voters.” Indeed.

Conservatives must be relentless in exposing liberals’ self-serving motives and relentless hypocrisy. It starts with local government.

Update: After this story posted, the La Crosse County Board voted to table the Wheel Tax “indefinitely.” Word is they’ll try to sneak it into next year’s budget, in which case a budget battle will be set up.

The Dems’ Bunker Mentality

The Democratic Party of Wisconsin is insular, and that bunker mentality is a serious long-term problem for them as they try and fail repeatedly to compete statewide, from Nekoosa to inner city Milwaukee.

Like Mary Burke, Tom Barrett, and Democratic gubernatorial challengers going back a half century, nearly all of the Dems’ statewide prospects are plucked from Madison and Milwaukee. Milwaukee radio host Mark Belling discussed this phenomenon last week. In a blue state that’s voted for the Democrat presidential candidate every time since 1984’s Reagan landslide, the success of the Republicans in statewide elections is remarkable.

But it’s not just their candidates. The DPW and its people are of Madison/Milwaukee – it runs in their veins and it’s in their DNA. Their staffers and decision makers are forged in the fire of Madison/Milwaukee extremism, which showed through when Senate Dems fled the state, invaded the capitol with busloads of imported mobs, overly eager protesters dressed as zombies protested Walker at a Special Olympics ceremony, or wild-eyed radicals assailed elderly attendees at a Republican fundraiser at a private home. I wrote about the latter incident last year after one of the perpetrators got hired by Burke to run her grassroots operation: “…maybe a wild-eyed, frenetic, overcaffeinated union organizer hitting doors in suburban Green Bay is just what the Burke campaign needs.” Zellner joins disgraced former DPW spokesman Graeme Zielinski as excellent examples of why Democrats no longer appeal to mainstream independent Wisconsinites, who Nik describes aptly as moralistic and inconsistent voters.

The throng of kooks do not appeal to commonsense people who live in places like the Fox Valley. I envisioned a wacked out Madison freak knocking on doors in Green Bay last December; likewise, Belling uses that region as an example in laying out his theory that Democrats who are pickled in Madison/Milwaukee radicalism have little appeal in blue collar, working class places like Green Bay and Appleton. To that I would add most places in west-central and even northern Wisconsin, where screaming in someone’s face is not seen as a “beautiful display of democracy.”

The story of the race for the 17th Senate district is the Dems’ bunker mentality in a bottle. Not satisfied with the bench available to them in the seat being vacated by Dale Schultz, Madison Democrats recruited Madison law student Pat Bomhack who grew up in the Milwaukee area and had moved to Spring Green with the purpose of running for their offices. The bench, Ernie Wittwer, got up and left the game and took most of the bleachers with him. Bomhack won the primary with help from Madison Democrats, but lost to Republican Howard Marklein by a larger margin than anyone expected.

The Madison-lite candidate imported by the Dems lost because he wasn’t in touch with the district he was plopped into, mirroring the failures of Madison lefty Mary Burke and failed Milwaukee mayor Tom Barrett to win broad appeal.

Oh, but what about Tammy Baldwin, you ask? Baldwin of Madison defeated Tommy Thompson of Elroy, but that doesn’t negate my point, it reinforces it. Democrats are stronger statewide when there’s a strong national trend like a presidential election, bolstering the turnout of butt-scratcher voters in the Dem bunkertowns, particularly Milwaukee. Republicans are certainly helped by national trends but GOP victories are not relegated to wave years, as Tommy Thompson’s victories showed. Walker won the recall in the same year Baldwin beat Thompson. JB Van Hollen won the AG’s office in ’06, a Dem tidal wave.

Further, the Democrats hemorrhaged even more state legislative seats this cycle. As an example, the 17th Senate should’ve been winnable but the strategy of Chris Larson (of Milwaukee) failed. I predicted he’d lose his job and he did. These trends should all continue in some upcoming statewide elections.

Sen. Johnson could face a tough battle in 2016 either from former Sen. Russ Feingold or Congressman Ron Kind of La Crosse. Feingold, who grew up next door to Madison and now teaches in Milwaukee at Marquette University, would be the next Tom Barrett, pulled out of the bunker and dusted off. Kind, however, would be a change of course for the Dems; a relative moderate in not just substance but style, he could build strong appeal in places like the Fox Valley and Northern Wisconsin, where Walker just got done winning handily. These two are really the only Democrats who could topple Johnson – a remarkable fact in a blue state.

Conversely, Sen. Baldwin faces an off-year challenge in 2018 from one of many excellent potential Republican opponents, chief among them Rep. Sean Duffy. That race would be tough for the far-left Madisonite, who has bent over backwards to lay low in the Senate. Duffy can appeal in places where Baldwin’s pedigree fails to connect.

Finally, there’s Jennifer Shilling. The state Senator from La Crosse who came to her position in the bloody recall of Dan Kapanke, Shilling’s been chosen to lead the Senate’s Democrat caucus. While she’s from outside the bunker, Shilling has subscribed to the Madison approach of wearing the orange shirts, fist-pumping while yelling shame, fleeing the state, and looking on quietly with anticipation as roofing nails were poured onto Kapanke’s driveway.

It’s a question whether the Democrats will start learning from their past mistakes and elevating grassroots Dems from all around the state rather than just Madison and Milwaukee. However, the fact that someone like Shilling is their new minority leader speaks volumes about the toll that years of Bomhacking has taken on their bench. Is she being groomed for a gubernatorial run, or maybe to take over Kind’s seat should he run against Johnson?

Stay tuned.

Yes, Voter Fraud is a Problem

Democrats briefly celebrated last week’s news that a man was caught voting multiple times, illegally, in the 2012 recall election. First, the jubilation came from the stark relief that it was finally a Republican, not a Democrat, caught breaking election laws. Then, as shadows of reality grew darker and longer over their agenda, they realized their traditional public flogging of the opposition wouldn’t be of any use.

Obviously, Democrats have positioned themselves in a precarious situation.

Their objection to Voter ID law, to summarize the opinion of liberal Judge Lynne Adelman, is that there’s not the evidence to suggest it’s a problem to merit reforming the rules. (Unlike every other left-wing cause célèbre, Voter ID laws aren’t worth the fuss even if just one vote is protected). On a messaging basis, Democrats use Voter ID laws to paint the right a darker shade of racist.  But now that a Republican is occupying the spotlight, they’re imploding.

Get a load of this comment thread, shared by First-Rate Boob Ed Schultz:

He quips, sardonically, “So voter fraud is an issue,” holding up this Republican voter having broken the laws as a sudden call to action. The screeching tirades of his followers are no better informed.

Yes, you blowhard halfwit, voter fraud is a serious issue. It’s not an issue of voters’ race. Protecting the integrity of one voter, one vote is an issue of defending the rule of law. Period.

The transgressor’s excuse is flimsy. He claims the medications he takes for ADHD caused him to forget he had already voted. Regardless, he broke the law.

Worse, that he was so easily able to vote multiple times calls into question whether the systems and methods in place are enough to protect against others doing the same thing again in the future. Obviously they’re too weak.

But this snickering and overt titillation from the left highlights their tendency to not stand for much other than not being Republicans. They’re Democrats because they care, thank you very much. It was fun for them, for a day, to find a Republican voter who was accused of malfeasance, and humiliate them in the public square. The humiliation of their opposition is their primary objective — winning with better ideas places eighth or ninth, since Democrats haven’t ever had winnable ideas, anyway. When it turned out that beating up the accused did little for their larger argument, they quickly backed down.

This is how Democrats operate.

I won’t waste your time with another appeal for sensible reforms like the Voter ID law that an activist judge overturned earlier this year. The conservatives reading this will already agree with me and the Democrats reading this don’t have the vocabulary to understand it.

This situation demonstrates how useless it is trying to compromise with an organization so bent on obliterating their detractors. For their part, the left-wing commentators saw this news story as an abject humiliation for Republicans. At Salon, Joan Walsh mocks Republicans for projection — accusing liberals of something they’re guilty of. It is the incorrect and childish assumption made by Democrats that Voter ID laws are intended to suppress the votes of the poor, who they, in overtly racist fashion, imply to always — always! — mean minority.


Voter ID laws are designed to protect the integrity of each legal voter’s vote.

We know that Democrats marginalize their opposition into obscurity, rather than invite them into an arena of civilized discourse. We know that Democrats thrive on creating classes of victims and the helpless; Mary Burke’s lame jobs plan is a shining example of how she’ll elevate mediocrity to become a statewide standard. We know that Democrats reliably blubber accusations of racism to shut down the conversations they don’t want to have.

When these tactics are combined, we find that Democrats have no interest in improving society or creating economic prosperity. Instead, they construct policies and initiatives designed to help them at the ballot box, that read nice on paper and resonate with the rubes who are only half-paying attention. That’s why their message centers on limiting wealth and engineering the masses into a malleable, thoughtless, single-party society where social welfare for some is guaranteed at the expense of progress and innovation.

If Democrats had new ideas — really good, transformative ideas that might actually work — they’d be holding up Mary Burke on a pedestal and giving her every platform to espouse them. Somehow, the only people who know who she is are wonks and the chattering class.

That’s why the party faithful and their complicit media machine are still dragging around ignorant accusations of corruption in the Walker Administration and partisan polling projections that are barely whispers of bad news about Election Day.


  • State Sen. Lena Taylor connected perceived wrongdoing in the Walker Administration to the Founding Fathers’ plight against tyranny — because trying to beat up Scott Walker is probably the most important issue facing the state’s Fourth District.
  • Isthmus enumerated how June was an awful month for the governor, pulling from the same boring talking points they’ve been using since he first ran for the office.
  • Dave Zweifel mocks the governor’s latest fundraising email, and, without a hint of irony, steamrolls him for demonizing his predecessor.

It’s not that they’re going after the opposition that bothers me. It’s been my purpose to go after Mary Burke and everything she stands for because she and her ideas are bad news for the state, and hopefully with some useful insight based on new information. Instead, the governor’s detractors are finding minutiae to belittle, just for the sake of belittlement.

This is how Democrats operate, but they have the audacity to bemoan a perceived failure to compromise on the governor’s part.

This behavior explains the flash-in-the-pan coverage of the John Doe II data dump: Any news about Scott Walker can be spun into bad news. David Blaska wrote yesterday an extensive outline of how national outlets had to walk back their hurried and excited headlines, only after, I can assume, changing their trousers from the initial over-excitement.

Yes, voter fraud is a problem in Wisconsin. It’s time for Democrats to grow up and take the politics out of real issues.

La Crosse Republicans: Captains of Community

[Julian Bradley] led La Crosse County Republicans on a yearlong mission of volunteerism. We rang bells for the Salvation Army, plunged into frigid waters at the Polar Plunge, worked at the La Crosse Community Thanksgiving Dinner and cleaned up neighborhoods on Neighbors Day.

-From my La Crosse Tribune column published today

Republicans in La Crosse County, especially under the leadership of Chairman Julian Bradley, are inventing a whole new dimension for grassroots activism, which I explain in my Tribune column this month.

Mr. Bradley’s activist ideal arose from his less-than-privileged upbringing and a commitment that political parties should be forces for good in their communities rather than just electioneers – a sentiment passed down to him by his mom, a Democrat. When Mr. Bradley approached then- and current chair Vicki Burke, she turned down his offer to do a joint event for the community.

But “Bradley found a willing partner in former La Crosse Democratic chairman Andrew Londre, who responded to one of Bradley’s tweets proposing the idea,” I write. The two sponsored a Toys for Tots toy collection site, which in 2012 was among the most successful sites in La Crosse County.

This year, the “Together for Tots” toy drive is back and the news is even more encouraging:

This year the pair revisited Together for Tots. The site collected toys at a respectable rate…then just the other day, a truck arrived. It was a semi truck, loaded down with $6,000 in toys, a donation by Blain’s Farm and Fleet.

But a bipartisan toy drive, even if the other party isn’t officially onboard, is just the start. La Crosse Republicans also rang bells for the Salvation Army this past weekend. The bell ringing drive is organized by activist Pam Johnson, who underwent breast cancer surgery just last week. WXOW took notice. Ms. Johnson was a top volunteer statewide during the recall of Gov. Walker.

GOPers in God’s Country rang bells in 2012 also, becoming the top getters for the weekend they participated. In 2013 they dove into icy water for the Polar Plunge to support the Special Olympics (while bezombied lefties instead protested Gov. Walker at one of the organization’s events). They helped clean up neighborhoods for disabled and elderly homeowners for Neighbors Day. They volunteered at the La Crosse Community Thanksgiving Dinner, which provides free dinners to all comers and delivers meals to those who can’t venture out (this year the Dinner delivered 1,600 meals).

Yours truly will be joining the Dinner’s planning committee as a result of my experience this year and a decade of experience in commercial kitchens.

Mr. Bradley and Mr. Londre are both using their influence in their respective roles as political leaders to encourage others to follow La Crosse’s lead. The former, the 3rd District GOP vice chair and member of the state party’s executive committee, is spreading the word. The latter, part of the Young Elected Officials Network and a La Crosse County supervisor, is doing the same.

Politics as usual can wait until the first of the year. During the holiday season, helping out those in need is a win-win.

I should note that I’m the secretary of the La Crosse County Republican Party and a frequent participant in these charitable efforts.

Wisconsin Democrats soil themselves in shutdown fight

Opening Remarks

Federal government employees who rely on their paychecks to feed their families deserve a salary…I will not be donating or forgoing my salary.

-Rep. Gwen Moore statement

It appears the government shutdown has brought out the worst in Wisconsin Democrats who represent our state in Congress, especially Milwaukee’s own Rep. Gwen Moore who refused to give up or donate even part of her salary. In doing so she’d be joining the state’s entire delegation to Washington. Yes, Mrs. Moore is the only one to refuse, which drew protesters to her office demanding her resignation.

The entire Democrat delegation should answer for its votes, though. Mark Pocan, Ron Kind, and Mrs. Moore all voted against continuing funding for WIC and FEMA, two programs Democrats themselves often point to as important lifelines to those in need. When the opportunity was put to them to fund the Women’s, Infant’s, and Children’s nutrition program and Federal Emergency Management Agency (at the onset of hurricane season no less), Democrats walked in lockstep to stand up for…

Their party line. They voted no. Mr. Kind even asked followers through his Facebook page, “Wondering how this Tea Party shutdown is affecting your neighbors? Take a look at this story from WEAU and share it with your friends. The time to find a solution is now.” Mr. Kind, the solution was put in front of you and you voted nay in a trance with your fellow Democrats.

Republican Rep. Sean Duffy laid into the Democrats for their lockstep vote on the WIC funding:

I hear a passionate speech from the gentlelady from Connecticut, and I hear my friends across the isle applauding? We’re here to provide funding for nine million women and children. We’re here to provide funding for people who need help and aid, and when we’re here to do the work of the people, you applaud and say no, I don’t want that money to go to them? That’s wrong.

The article points out that, “The bill passed the Republican controlled House 222-183. Like similar individual spending bills, it is expected to die in the Democratic controlled Senate…The House of Representatives also passed a funding bill for the Federal Emergency Management Agency. It too passed the House, but is likely to get no support in the Senate.” The Senate is controlled by Democrats.

The swagger with which the Democrats strolled into this shutdown has been matched only by their brazen disregard for the intelligence of the average American, who is taking notice of the hypocrisy. Refusing a conference committee to work out differences over Obamacare, shutting elderly veterans out of open-air parks and memorials, and shamelessly voting against funding that they would’ve supported just eight days ago reveals the true mire of moral bankruptcy into which today’s Democrat Party has sunk.

As if shoving Vietnam veterans out of their own memorial wasn’t sufficiently shocking, now the Obama Administration has shuttered the Amber Alert website. You know, the one that helps find missing children whose lives are very well at risk? Fortunately if a kidnapper is spotted, Michelle Obama’s “Let’s Move” campaign website is still up, so we’ll have ample access to the first lady’s fitness tips so we can chase the criminal on foot. In flyover country, which site is considered by most to be essential?

Apparently the only thing that’s truly essential in this shutdown is the imperative for Democrats and Obama to walk in lockstep in ensuring Americans suffer as much as possible for their refusal to give even an inch on Obamacare.

Quote of the Day

“I will venture to assert that no combination of designing men under heaven will be capable of making a government unpopular which is in its principles a wise and good one.”
-Alexander Hamilton

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