|Hard not to beat, if that last box wasn't worth bonus checks.|
Unsolicited political commentary o' the day:
I am glad to hear that Planned Parenthood of Wisconsin endorsed Mary Burke. The endorsement is not surprising as she seems very strong on reproductive health, an area where many are skeptical of Vinehout's record, even though she has made it very clear that she supports "safe, legal, and rare" abortion and full access to birth control. It's also good to know that this issue will be a major player in the gubernatorial race next year, given the disgusting legislation we've seen from the current administration. The announcement comes on the very day that Senate President Mike Ellis shut down Senate debate over this session's attempts to further restrict women's rights to make health care decisions - warranting a threat from Sen. Jon Erpenbach that "all out hell" will break loose if they try to push this legislation forward without even allowing time for public hearings. Given the fact that this endorsement also comes on the heels of Governor Ultrasound's failure to stump up support for anti-woman, anti-worker candidate Ken Cuccinelli in Virginia, I think it's safe to say that when Scott "Mandatory Ultrasound" Walker supports your candidate, women will come out in droves to vote against that person, no matter how crazy the other candidate may be.
Social media is all abuzz over these early endorsements, much like we saw in the recall primary when WEAC's premature endorsement of Kathleen Falk set off a firestorm of fury. Russ Feingold's anti-big-money-in-politics organization, Progressives United, polled its mailing list and reported that over 75% of the 3000+ people who voted wanted them to endorse Mary Burke, so they did. But the real tension seems to surround the matter of the Democratic Party of Wisconsin's support of Burke, which is seen as heavy-handed, premature, and in violation of their own bylaws (the Party's not supposed to endorse a candidate before the primary, and contrary to popular belief, Vinehout's not Burke's only opposition: as of Oct. 25, there are already 3 Dems registered to get on the ballot for the Aug. 12, 2014 primary election, and a Republican named Steve Evans plans to force a primary against Walker). I guess what I want to say about the Dem endorsement (which they annoyingly refuse to admit is an endorsement) is this: what do you expect? I'm one of those "I'm not a card-carrying Dem, I just vote for those guys" voters and I have a long list of issues with the party, its insularity, and its messaging. But really. What do you expect them to do? There's only one serious candidate in the race right now and that is Mary Burke. Of course they're going to support her. If we're going to have a serious primary, let's get serious about it.
If Vinehout wants to hop on board the endorsement train, she needs to enter the race sooner rather than later. It still feels like posturing to me - this waiting until Burke has things so solidly lined up and then saying "oh, I didn't stand a chance against the party machine. The train was already moving so fast I couldn't hop on." She should be getting pledges from everyone who says they'll support her; will you knock on doors in Green Bay? Will you make phone calls? What do you mean, exactly, when you say 100%? Because it's easy to say you like her more than Burke. But what are you willing to do about that? Voters looking to learn more about Vinehout have ample opportunity to do so. She's doing grassrootsy meet'n'greets all over, including one tonight in Oregon at the Firefly that will stream live here at 6pm. Check her out. Decide for yourself if you think she'd be a good candidate. And kudos to the Oregon Area Progressives for hosting.
I myself would like to see Vinehout enter the race and am likely to vote for her if she does, because I think she really gets it about the effort to privatize public schools and I have not been satisfied at all with Burke's generic and reformy appeals to "public/private partnerships" and "accountability" etc (though total kudos to AVID/TOPS. Great program). But she needs to outline her education agenda in a crystal clear way to get my vote. I think it will come down to this issue for me. But if she wins the primary, and I'm still not satisfied, well, then I just do what I can to try to influence and share and push and shape and fight the corporatist agenda, same as now, and support her in the general election. No brainer. Hey hey. Ho ho.
And here's the other thing: I'm not convinced that money is the only thing progressive candidates need to win.
Neither Burke nor Vinehout can dream of matching the funds that will pour in to Walker from the gabillionaires already reaping returns on their record-breaking, John-Doe-instigating first-term investments. We can't beat that money, no matter how many scandals emerge or how many Walker cronies are found guilty of doing his bidding. Messaging is what will win. Everyday Wisconsinites need to be able to see past the propaganda and have access to the hard facts about how cuts to education, health care, and worker rights are ruining regular people's lives all over the state. Facts. We need to get past the spin and to the heart of the values that connect us.
This is the message I want to see: Wisconsinites are good people, who deserve to be treated well by their elected officials. They deserve to be represented by these people, who should put their needs before the needs and desires of people and groups who gave them campaign contributions. Wisconsin workers are not thugs or users or losers or fools. They are decent, hard-working people, who deserve to restore their trust in the social contract. They work hard and deserve living-wage jobs and they shouldn't fear that the tax money they gladly pay to support our excellent schools will be stolen out from under them.
Sending the message "our candidate/s stink and can't win" (unhappy lefties) or "you guys are idiots and should just trust us on this" / "we have the candidate who is going to win the game"* (Dems) is not really a winning strategy in my opinion. We have two smart women whose names and ideas need to be shared with the rest of the state. Let's spend our time getting to know the candidates and connecting to our communities. And let's win in 2014.
--- end rant ---
* Note: "We have the candidate" is an actual quote from the 3-page double-sided letter I got from the Dems last week. "You guys are idiots" is an anecdotal paraphrase in response to the circular banter I've seen between lefties and Dem operatives of late.
|I get the critique that voting for the lesser of two evils is always a bad vote. I make that critique, all the time. I vote third party quite frequently. I'm not a partisan person. But here's the thing: our public schools are under direct attack by the people who are financing the Walker "Reign of Error" (to borrow Diane Ravitch's term - and she's coming to Madison Nov.14 by the way). I want the candidate who will vote to keep our schools strong. If a child gets raped and needs an abortion, I don't want her to get raped again by the state that imposes a mandatory vaginal ultrasound on her. I want a candidate who will not recklessly endanger the welfare of Wisconsinites by rejecting our own money and forcing thousands off of BadgerCare. |
I don't expect to see my "dream candidate" in this race.
But my nightmare candidate already holds the office.
In short, I will vote, 3 times out of 3, for the person on the ballot who is NOT Scott Walker.