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Over the weekend, Brian Nemoir, the political director of Wisconsin senatorial candidate Tommy Thompson, distributed a video of his Democratic rival Tammy Baldwin making an appearance at a Wisconsin Capitol Gay Pride Rally. He included the sarcastic comment:

“Clearly, there’s no one better positioned to talk ‘heartland values’ than Tammy.”
Get it?

See, Tammy Baldwin is a lesbian, which means she doesn't share "heartland values" which include only being heterosexual. Never mind that nice Zach Wahls you saw at the Democratic National Convention, whose two moms raised him right in Iowa.

Everyone knows all gay people live in San Francisco, or New York City, or Mykonos.

The Downstate Democrat has more here.

Russ Feingold
Russ Feingold
Baldwin's campaign appears to have been silent on Thompson's tactic thus far, but allies are stepping up. Saturday, Russ Feingold weighed in, posting to his Facebook wall:
In Wisconsin, we reject divisive personal attacks. It's time for Tommy Thompson to both take responsibility for the harmful divisiveness of his campaign and to squarely reject it.
Feingold also posted a link to a Wisconsin Cap Times editorial that said:
The video was circulated on the eve of Baldwin’s speech to the Democratic National Convention. The Thompson camp could not have engaged in a more expressly political act if it had wanted to.

To suggest otherwise is insulting to Baldwin, the LGBT community and the voters of Wisconsin.

The Thompson campaign owes Baldwin an apology. It also owes Wisconsin’s lesbian and gay community — a community that includes Republicans associated with the Log Cabin Republican clubs — a commitment to try not to exploit stereotypes and bigotries.

While they’re at it, the Thompson campaign should make another commitment: to set a higher standard for itself during the remainder of the Senate race.


For what it's worth, Thompson's attempted attack may not even be particularly effective. There's nothing particularly shocking in the video, and nothing particularly unusual about any Democratic politician—straight or gay—making an appearance at a gay pride event. It's pretty standard procedure in most states these days. Response seems to be "So what?" with more than a few mentioning Tammy seems to enjoying herself just fine and what's wrong with that? Others suggest she's demonstrating some admirable rug-cutting skills.

It is, however, pretty clear Nemoir and Thompson's intention is to exploit the outdated canard that LGBT people are the enemies of "family" and "values" and ergo, unfit for public office. This is the sort of backward and outdated thinking that the Republican Party exemplifies.

A petition calling on Thompson to "take responsibility for his campaign and the divisive, personal attacks they’re pushing" at Sum Of Us has already gathered nearly 4,000 signatures. It's here.

Tammy Baldwin is among Daily Kos' Orange to Blue candidate slate, you can contribute to her campaign here and send a worthy Wisconsinite to the Senate this fall.

Originally posted to Milk Men And Women on Mon Sep 10, 2012 at 10:25 AM PDT.

Also republished by Angry Gays, Badger State Progressive, ClassWarfare Newsletter: WallStreet VS Working Class Global Occupy movement, and Progressive Hippie.

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