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.

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.

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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.”

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.


LISTEN:


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.

The Conservative Grassroots Strikes Back

The only thing scarier to Democrats than a robust conservative grassroots is, I don’t know, mandatory school prayer. Or maybe Scott Walker serving as governor indefinitely.

Democrats’ Get Out the Vote efforts are a peacock-sized feather in their caps. They’re notorious for organizing and rallying people behind their cause — so much so that their last presidential candidate started his career in politics by doing just that. In the movement to recall Governor Walker in 2012, there were rumors of unionistas not just crashing in to help register voters, but also to actually establish residence in the state and vote. It was unprecedented and, thankfully, pointless. Meanwhile, as the Governor held on to the office, his detractors literally cried on the steps of the capital that democracy had died, as if Big Labor had no role in funding and organizing the anti-Walker junta.

The left has a knack for unity. Sometimes the kooks are allowed to roam around for a while so the Party bigwigs can get the real work done without significant distraction. Ultimately the party narrative prevails. Case in point was Brett Hulsey’s absurd candidacy, one that Mary Burke never really bothered to acknowledge. It was fun while it lasted, but even his bizarre and inept supporters will likely gather around Ms. Burke in November, and without having to choke down bile while doing so.

There are degrees of liberals, some of which we’ve chronicled here: The Sinicki Democrats (the morons), the Democrat High-Brow (the high-minded thinkers whose politics can’t survive in reality), the Ranting Loons and Assorted Boneheads (the kooks, like Brett Hulsey), each alongside the party faithful, the varying strains of progressives, and the cornucopia of single-issue bleeding-hearts.

Sometimes they disagree on the minutiae, and most would probably hate being lumped into the Democrat category. They cry about unions and the imagined travesties committed by big business against the workin’ man — but it’s all platitudinal nonsense designed by the Party Elite to help win votes. Reducing voters to demographic characteristics has been the left’s successful strategy since at least the ’60s. Placating a bloc of voters with the promise of benefits financed by the other guys takes less energy than telling the stories of freedom and prosperity, a yarn the right has to get more efficient at spinning. Despite their political divisions, they all get behind not being Republicans, and they mostly get behind the Democrat Party.

In the case of their nominee for governor, she is nothing but a product of the establishment, invented by Mike Tate and DPW powers-that-be to produce someone whose background and supposed credentials have the potential to remove her from political squabbling and position herself as a fixer to clean up the mess. That’s a very business-y notion: the consultant who rides in to clean house and fix what’s broken because she hasn’t had a stake in it before. But that’s a farce — she did serve in Jim Doyle’s cabinet, and her professional history is in direct conflict in the policies she now pretends to support, as we’ve extensively reported. Her candidacy is the Buckley Rule in effect, only for their party: Elect the most viable liberal candidate.

The GOP suffers from a different affliction. Nationally, the grassroots/establishment conflict is a mess. Politicians like Paul Ryan who were once darlings of the tea party movement were eviscerated for playing the political game and not supporting policies that are manifestly pointless when the president has veto power. But locally, the governor is a very functional figurehead with whom candidates take great pains to associate themselves. Gov. Walker’s policies are the template any other state could use. He is at once the de facto party leader in Wisconsin and also the poster child of the kind of politics the anti-establishment right-wing worships.

For Wisconsin, whose politically schizophrenic identity elevates both Democrats and Republicans to major offices simultaneously, that’s important.

The story of a robust conservative grassroots ruins the image of white guy fat cats that Democrats are desperate to portray, but it’s one that’s been unfolding over the last months and years. In the race for Secretary of State, Julian Bradley’s aggressive campaign has inspired thousands of voters who eagerly support his reform-minded agenda and pragmatic brand of politics. The “no government” raison d’être trumpeted by libertarian-leaning conservatives could have been an issue in that race, supported by his opponent Gary Bies. But that’s unrealistic and, ultimately, stupid. The Bradley brand was able to present a common-sense solution for a complicated problem that appeased most of the right, as yesterday’s vote tallies have proven.

But his victory was also the result of a tireless ground game whose epicenter is the La Crosse GOP, where a network of volunteers and a very specific communications strategy has made that group one of the most powerful local Republican organizations in the state — and not just for Mr. Bradley.

Even this site gets a surprising amount of traction and notice in the blabbosphere.

There is a very alive conservative grassroots movement and that terrifies Democrats. Or perhaps they refuse to believe it — my recent favorite example being some boob in the comments who’s convinced we take money from some group to say mean things about Mary Burke. Sorry, no.

Conservatism is an idea accessible to everyone. Its principles take some understanding and explaining, especially for those who’ve only listened to their professors and Jon Stewart their whole lives. And it’s blossoming in Wisconsin thanks to high-profile people who are clearly enunciating a vision for the state guided by conservative philosophy. That will greatly threaten the liberal mission of buying votes with political promises and feelgoodery.

Surely the cards are stacked against us, but we don’t have to make it easy for the Burke campaign, Mike Tate and the DPW, and the screeching hoards of incredulous goons who always seem to win by just not being Republicans and without offering real vision. In Wisconsin, conservatives are going to win the ground game, and reach people who are paying attention — the ones who know better than to believe the bilious lies touted by the left.

It’s time. Game on.