I was taking to a co-worker yesterday who is gay and very active in the LA Gay Community and is a big supporter of President Obama and the Democratic Party about Tammy Baldwin. My co-worker is from Illinois and he loves Tammy Baldwin but he doesn't believe she will win the Senate seat in Wisconsin being vacated by retiring Democratic Senator, Herb Kohl. I asked him why he thinks Tommy Thompson will win. He said that between a liberal, feminist lesbian versus the longest-serving governor in Wisconsin with a lot of name recognition, it's very clear who the people of Wisconsin will vote for. He knows that Wisconsin is a Democratic state but with Paul Ryan being on the ticket and the people of Wisconsin probably facing election fatigue, especially after the recalls, there may not be much hope for Baldwin he believes. But I don't plan on giving up on this seat. Not for one moment. I believe that the fat lady hasn't sung yet and that Tammy Baldwin, despite being behind Thompson in the polls, can pull of an upset victory. If we are to upgrade the Senate, the Daily Kos community must be as engaged in this race as we are in Massachusetts, Connecticut, Hawaii, Nevada and other tough races around the country. Sure, Tommy Thompson is the longest-serving governor and has a lot of name recognition. On the surface, he looks like a sure winner but once you take a closer look at him and remember his short-lived run for President, Thompson is a candidate with several flaws that the state GOP knows about and will do whatever they can to help Thompson easily skate to victory. Lets examine Tommy Thompson a little more and who he really serves.
First off, where Tommy's views veer right, they really veer right. As Joan McCarter pointed out that Tommy Thompson is the author of the constitutional amendment to outlaw abortion even in the cases of rape, incest and when a mother's life is in danger. He authored the amendment for the 2000 GOP platform but I guess it didn't make the final round. You can read her past diary here:
Then again, is it any surprise that the former Secretary of Health under George W. Bush would be in favor of passing an amendment that made abortion illegal in general? Especially in the most severe cases? If I were Tammy Baldwin, I would hit Tommy pretty hard on this issue since the War On Women is a big issue this election cycle.
Another thing I've heard from Kos members from the Badger State is Tommy Thompson doesn't like to answer questions and will probably try to weasel his way out of a serious debate with Baldwin. He's already pulling a Romney and refusing to show his tax returns from his time in the private sector. Again, I reference Joan McCarter to make my point:
So Thompson thinks he can win based on name recognition and thinks he can win without answering any serious questions. Well I say lets keep the pressure on Thompson over his tax returns. The longer he refuses to show them, the more suspicious he looks.
We can also hit Tommy with some hard questions about his support for Obamacare. The Club Of Growth which is infamous for taking out moderate Republicans in primary challenges and replacing them with extreme right wing Republicans does not like or trust Tommy Thompson because of his past support of Obamacare. Now according to this piece from Milwaukee-Wisconsin Journal Sentinel, they used PolitFact (who's accuracy can be very questionable) showed that Thompson supported parts of Obamacare and opposed some of the other parts of the health care bill. Now which parts of the bill does he support and doesn't support? That's a good question that should be brought into the debate.
We do know that he supported the Individual Mandate:
Now The Club Of Growth did not endorse Thompson in the primary. Their man was Mark Neumann who may have won the nominee had the tea party base not been split between him and conservative millionaire, Eric Hovde however PPP showed that Hovde was ahead of Neumann in the final stretch. In fact, Thompson eked out his victory while Hovde came in second place. Had the Club Of Growth abandoned Mark Neumann's campaign and endorsed Hovde, he would be the one going up against Baldwin. Take a look at the PolitiFact post about Thompson's support. He sounds like he goes from supporting it, to waffling on the issue to plan old flip flopping on the issue:
And what do Tommy's former primary opponents have to say about Tommy Thompson?
Eric Hovde on Tommy Thompson:
I'm not sure if the Club Of Growth will spend any money on this race. I doubt they would and I don't think they even need to spend money on this race. They're banking on Thompson's name recognition to help him win but the Club Of Growth's past remarks and objections to Thompson and his support of Obamacare could come back to haunt all of them. The Club Of Growth made a huge mistake backing Mark Neumann. Especially with him making past homophobic remarks stated here:
Here's the best one of the bunch from Neumann:
“If I was elected God for a day, homosexuality wouldn’t be permitted, but nobody’s electing me God.”You kind have to wonder what the Club Of Growth was thinking backing him. This guy was so borderline Rick Santorum and they put him against an openly gay candidate? Did they really believe that Neumann's past comments wouldn't come back to haunt him and make him look like a gay hating bully? I mean backing Eric Hovde wouldn't have helped either. Lets not forget that this guy who had this to say about media's coverage on the jobs crisis:
Republican U.S. Senate candidate Eric Hovde of Wisconsin made national headlines in June 2012 for saying he "prayed" that reporters would stop writing "sob" stories about people who, in an example he used, "couldn't get their food stamps or this or that."
You can watch his whole speech here:
So Hovde and Neumann split the tea party vote. If was part of an extreme right wing organization, I would've gotten behind Hovde. He at least could fund his own campaign. Neumann on the other hand was abysmal at fundraising. I'm starting to wonder if the tea Party and The Club Of Growth are catching on to us progressives rooting for them to pick their most bat shit candidate but Thompson does have party unity. But Baldwin can use The Club Of Growth and Hovde's own words against Thompson in the campaign ahead.
Also, according to this diary, Tommy Thompson wouldn't be the Senator from Wisconsin. He would be the representative of ALEC:
Now take a look at the the Mother Jones article itself:
This section of the article really caught my eye:
Thompson professed his love for ALEC back in 2002. Today, the national organization is a lightning rod in American politics. A fierce advocate of free markets, privatization, and downsizing government, ALEC brings together dues-paying corporations and thousands of state lawmakers, most of them Republicans, to craft "model legislation" for use in state legislatures. Critics slam as ALEC a pro-business "bill mill" and a speed-dating service for big business and state lawmakers looking for ideas to take back home.So the Club Of Growth and the Tea Party may not be heavily invested in this race but ALEC sure is.
This year, ALEC has faced an onslaught of criticism from liberal groups for peddling "discriminatory" voter ID bills and the "Stand Your Ground" gun legislation brought to national attention by the Trayvon Martin killing in central Florida. Facing pressure from ALEC's well-organized critics, four nonprofit groups and 32 corporations, among them McDonald's, Procter and Gamble, and Walmart, announced plans to sever ties with ALEC. And in April, the good-government group Common Cause filed a complaint with the Internal Revenue Service alleging ALEC violates its tax-exempt status by lobbying state governments.
Now we see who Thompson is. An extremist in the War On Women and RINO to the Club Of Growth and the Tea Party. Despite screwing up their chances of electing a real conservative darling, the Republican base is settled on Thompson. They are going to try and behave now because they know Thompson gets cross over support from Democrats and Independents. Baldwin has time to make a name for herself in this race and to really show off Tommy Thompson for what he is: a slave to the Tea Party. If Tommy Thompson actually thinks he can campaign on his name recognition while quietly appealing the tea party base, he's dead wrong. No way in hell can he appeal to the extremists and then vote the way he wants once elected. He trapped himself in a position that will make him look both as extreme and disingenuous as Mitt Romney. Plus, he will only contribute to continued Republican obstruction in the Senate. Paul Ryan being on the tickets may help put Wisconsin in play but if you tend to listen more to Nate Silver like I do, Obama's chances of winning the Badger State look pretty good:
So Baldwin will need Obama's mojo to help her win. It will take Obama convincing voters that Tammy Baldwin, a true fighter of the middle class and strong supporter of bringing green energy jobs to Wisconsin, will be a great ally for him in the Senate. Thompson may have the name recognition but he needs those tea baggers to help carry him to victory. Baldwin may not be as well known as Thompson but she has all the ammunition needs. The question Baldwin must ask the people of Wisconsin, "Do you want someone who will bring jobs to Wisconsin or do you want someone who will cave to the extremists? Barack Obama helped save jobs here in Wisconsin. Elect me and I will continue to work with the President to save jobs here in Wisconsin." Like Shelley Berkley in Nevada, Baldwin will need to align herself with Obama. Tim Kaine in Virginia made that choice early on and it's going to help him win in November.
So lets get the good people of the Badger State to say No to tea party pandering and GOP obstruction and say Yes saving and creating jobs in Wisconsin. A vote for Baldwin is a vote for the middle class. Lets help her in her path to victory:
She's already raised over half a million dollars on Act Blue!