Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Who's Schooling Whom?

Cory Liebmann thinks that Mark Neumann is falling flat by not doing his homework:
There are several reasons to question Neumann's campaign so far, but I recently discovered a new one. Why isn't Mark Neumann doing even some introductory homework on his primary opponent? Recently, I had occasion to look at open records requests that were sent to Scott Walker's office in 2009. As far as I could tell, none of them came from Neumann, his campaign operatives, or any other professional that he may have hired. Call me crazy, but if your opponent is a government official, shouldn't you have at least sought some kind of public record from his office by now?
Now, I fully recognize that Cory is much better versed in the way of political elections than I am, but I would raise some questions regarding Cory's questions. As I commented on Cory's site, there are more than one way to get information, including reading blogs like his or mine.

But it seems to me that Neumann might be savvier than Cory gives him credit for.

Case in point, Neumann announced yesterday a reform package that he will be including in his platform. JSOnline breaks it down pretty succinctly:

Neumann, a former congressman running as a Republican, unveiled a package Monday that would:

- Limit governors, state senators and state representatives to 12 years in each office. Neumann pledged to serve no more than two terms, or eight years;

- Allow citizens to bring statewide referendums or ballot initiatives to voters;

- Ban -- voluntarily -- fundraising during the budget process. Neumann said he would not raise money from Dec. 1 until the budget is signed and would ask lawmakers to take a similar position;

- Bar donations from employees of a business while they are bidding on state work. The plan would also bar the governor’s appointees from donating to his or her campaign or participating in fundraising efforts;

- Have the Legislature change its rules to post on the Web for at least five days major spending proposals before they are given final approval.

It seems to me that Neumann is subtly hitting Walker in some of the many chinks in Walker's armor.

The term limit is something that Walker has mentioned he would consider implementing, but when it came to following a self-imposed term limit as county executive, Walker conveniently ignored that, and ran when he promised he wouldn't.

Walker has also shown a strong reluctance to heed the will of the people, repeatedly trying to thwart a referendum on a dedicated sales tax, and then ignoring the will of the people when they finally did get their voices heard, by threatening to pass the sales tax that was approved by the voters.

And the two issues regarding fund raising during budget times or accepting campaign donations during the bidding process really flies at Walker's modus operandi.

Neumann's last issue is more of a populist issue than anything that can be tied to Walker, but does tie in to the previous campaign contribution issues to a certain degree.

These five reforms suggested by Neumann could easily paint Walker into a corner, making him chose between trying to explain his opposition to what could be commonsense political stances or explaining why he did not follow the positions he agrees with, even when he had a chance to do so.

Interestingly, it appears that Team Walker is choosing the hypocrisy route, with a twist, as evidenced by his official mouthpiece issuing this statement:

"Much of what Mr. Neumann advocates will effectively hand over the passage of laws to wealthy special interests, not to mention take two consecutive legislative sessions and require a constitutional amendment. These gimmicks are a distraction from the most important issue we should be focused on: how to get Wisconsin working again. Scott Walker has a proven record of changing the way government does business, and for eight years has found creative solutions to budget shortfalls, scaled back government, and done more with less without raising taxes. That's real reform you can feed a family on."
That statement is worthy of another post by itself, as heavily laden with hypocrisy and flat out lies as it is. But I do have to point out that apparently Walker feels that real reform would be too difficult to do. That does go a long way to explaining the last eight years and why Milwaukee County is on the verge of financial and infrastructural collapse.

UPDATED: Caffeinated Politics and Blogging Blue each have interesting points on why Neumann's suggested reform regarding direct legislation is troublesome. I personally would like to see some form of it in place, with proper safety measures in place to keep it from being the monstrosity they have in California.

1 comment:

  1. i don't really disagree with anything that you have said here...they are interesting and good insights as usual.

    my point is less about strategic policy and more about due diligence. if you are running a major statewide campaign and you are facing a public official that has been in his current office for 7 years, why wouldn't you do a well planned open records request or two? You could find something that others have missed or you may find nothing at all...but i don't see why you wouldn't at least check.