Thursday, April 26, 2012

Who Does Walker Want To Face In The Recall?

As the gentle reader is well aware, we here in Wisconsin have been to Hell and are trying to climb our way back up.

Scott Walker has, in fifteen months, undone a century and a half of proud tradition, vibrant success and and exalted status.  He's sold us out to his special interest/corporate/fascist supporters, destroyed our education system, attacked the rights of workers, of women, of children, of the elderly, of the disabled, of the poor and just about everyone but the privileged elite class, commonly referred to as the 1%.

But even the dark cloud of Walker's maleficent reign, there is a silver lining.  Four of them, in fact.

Those four silver linings are the four candidates that have stood up, shouted "Enough!" and have put themselves out there to run for the honor of being the state's champion and being the one to unseat the malicious and avaricious Walker:
  • Kathleen Falk: The former Dane County Executive led her county to unprecedented and unmatched success in job growth and prosperity, even in the height of the Great Recession.  
  • Kathleen Vinehout: One of the heroic Fab 14, the Wisconsin Democratic Senators who left friends and family behind in the beginning of the Republican onslaught in order to buy the people time to raise up as one and protest the evils being forced upon us, often illegally.
  • Doug LaFallotte: The Secretary of State who helped in our struggle against the unnecessary and the unwarranted Act 10, the bill aimed at busting the unions and the middle class.
  • Tom Barrett: The man who's serves as state legislator, U.S. Congressman and most recently, just overwhelmingly won his third term as Mayor of the City of Milwaukee.
Not only are we fortunate to have these four superstars standing up for Wisconsin, but we are fortunate that no matter who wins the primary in less than two weeks, we will all gather behind the winner and propel her or him to the governor's office and start the long arduous task of taking our state back completely and healing the wounds that Walker and his Republican cohorts in crime have done.

But who should be that champion is of contention, among both the left and the right.

On the left, each candidate has their base group of supporters, but many people have either remained neutral or have at least not revealed their intentions publicly.  There has been some disagreements on who is the best candidate, but these, for the most part, end with an agreement to disagree and a pledge to support whoever does win the primary.

For what it's worth, I've already publicly thrown my support for Kathleen Falk.

On Sunday, I saw this article come out of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, in which Walker opined on who would be the stronger candidate against him:
Walker said he believes Falk is the weaker candidate. 
Belling, who hosts an afternoon show on WISN-AM (1130), pressed Walker on Thursday to "come clean" and "be honest" as to why his campaign was running ads critical of Barrett but not Falk. Go here (starting at 30 minutes) to hear the full interview. 
"Do you acknowledge that, that Falk's the weaker opponent?" Belling asked. 
"Let me explain why I think she is," Walker said. "Because she has clearly staked herself out as being in the pocket of the public employee unions. That has not clearly been attached to Tom Barrett." 
Walker, who holds an edge over the two top Democrats in recent polling, accused the Milwaukee mayor has been "falling over himself" at union functions. But Walker focused his sharpest criticism at Falk and what he believes are his political problems. 
"I think her weakness was coming out early and acknowledging that she - and doing not just acknowledging -  that she signed a pledge saying she’d veto any budget that did not include a full repeal of our reforms," Walker said.
That took me aback.  What in the world would make Walker come out and say that he felt more vulnerable to Barrett than to Falk?  Was he, for one of the extremely rare times in his life, being completely candid and honest with the people?  After all, it is undeniable that Barrett holds a commanding lead over Falk in most of the polls when they are stacked against each other.  However, when they are individually stacked against Walker, they both do equally well.

In support of Walker's statements and the what the polls say, most of Walker's attacks, as well as the myriad of third party smear ads, have been against Barrett.  But I have noticed a definite uptick in the attacks on Falk.

All of this made me wonder if Walker wasn't using some psych ops and reverse psychology to get the Dems to put up a candidate he felt he could beat more easily.

I then started to ponder who Walker would want to face in the general election on June 5.

The obvious answer to that would be Gladys Huber, the clueless, retreaded fake Democrat that the Republicans are running because, you know, they're so very concerned about election integrity.

However, old Gladys isn't even worth the pixels I've already wasted on her. There is no way she will win.  Oh, sure, there will be some of those integrity-challenged Republicans that will cross over and vote for her, but she will be just another black mark of shame on the Republicans and nothing more.

At the risk of angering and alienating some of my friends here in Wisconsin, it's also a pretty save bet that neither Vinehout nor LaFollette will be the candidate.  They don't have the name power, the financial backing or the support that would make them strong contenders in such a short race.  If there was more time, Vinehout might have been able to make it more competitive.  But there isn't and so she won't.

That leaves Falk and Barrett.

Which would Walker really rather end up facing?

The best way to look at it is how do they stack up in regards to the issues and their vulnerabilities.

Kathleen Falk
Walker already said that he thinks Falk is more vulnerable because of her pledge to restore collective bargaining by making it a budget issue and threatening to veto any budget that does not contain this.  This admittedly has been a turn off to many people. I believe that is a reflection of how mamsy-pamsy the Democrats have become where assertively pushing for the restoration of these civil rights is considered "too extreme."  

But all one has to do is consider the fact that Falk has received the endorsements of not only all of the major unions, but also of women's rights groups, minority rights groups and environmentalists to see that she is very much more than a one-issue candidate.  And she is pushing that fact in her latest ad, which is why Walker has stepped up his attacks against her.

Barrett, despite his claims of being a friend of the unions, has not gained their support, with the exception of less than a handful of the smaller ones.  But that is far from his biggest problem.  Walker has already been hammering him on using the "tools" of Act 10, although to be honest, he had little choice, given the severe cuts in shared revenue that Walker imposed.  It's akin to blackmailers trying to frame a bank robbery on the guy on whom they placed a bomb collar which they could remotely detonate.  

But Barrett is also going to have to explain why he was trying to get the unions to give up these same rights even before Act 10 was made into law.  Likewise, he's going to have to be able to explain why he wrote to the state, asking them to take Act 10 even further than what it was.

Tom Barrett
Related to the labor issues is the jobs issues.  As noted above, Falk is able to point out that during the height of the Great Recession, she was able to lead Dane County to prosperity while Walker, who was county executive for Milwaukee County, was losing jobs even before the recession hit, due to his austerity measures.

During the 2010 elections, Walker was successfully able to pin Barrett with the results of Walker's own failings and Barrett was not very successful in fighting that line of attack.  If Barrett has found a way around that this time, I haven't seen it.  In fact, Walker is already trying to spin the numbers to again blame Barrett for his own shortcomings.

Regarding Walker's War on Women, Falk is also less vulnerable.  Falk has been a strong advocate for women's rights and has gained the endorsement of EMILY's List and Women's Campaign Fund.  Barrett on the other hand could be attacked by Walker based on his opposition to and defeat of mandatory paid sick leave, a law that was brought about by public support and a petition drive spearheaded by 9 to 5.

Unless these two campaigns, most notably Barrett's, figures out a way to respond to each of these vulnerabilities, they will have to hope solely on the people to be able to carry them on their disgust of the current status of this once great state.  And when faced against the well-moneyed machine of Walker, greased with the money of the Koch Brothers, the Bradley Foundation and other uber-conservative groups, we need a candidate that will be able to fight and just not get bowled over.

There is simply to much at stake to not have everything in place and every possibility planned for.  Simply running on name recognition or some empty platitudes will prove to be a gross underestimation of the opponent, and I don't us to go through this or something even worse, again.


  1. Falk desperately needs to get up to Northern Wisconsin BEFORE the primary.

  2. I agree that Tom Barrett is in a bind with his partial support of Act 10. How does he then urn around and say he opposes it? It becomes an unwieldy complex answer.

    Also, Barrett and Walker both come from Milwaukee area and Walker cuts into Barrett's base there -- as he did in 2010 when Barrett lost by 5 points to Walker.

    But Falk is charging people up while the Barrett campaign is throwing cold water on us, led by Dave "Get off my lawn" Obey.

    Go Falk!

  3. One thing I absolutely agree with is that LaFollette and Vinehout don't stand a chance. I think at least one of them should back out for the good of the state. Just my thoughts.

    1. It's too late now, they're both on the ballot. The time to back out was before filing papers to get on the ballot. With the "real" dem vote split among 4 candidates, a Huber victory is not outside of the realm of possibility.

    2. That would be the case if it weren't for Arthur Kohl-Riggs. His primary challenge to Walker should keep most republicans on their own side of the fence on May 8.

    3. It should keep some on their own side of the fence but I wouldn't say most. The only votes that Arthur KR will get is presumably from crossover voters, but given the hotly contested Dem primary, I doubt there will be much D-to-R crossover.

  4. Falk has been to Northern Wisconsin; I don't know how many times it's been, but she has been up there.

  5. I heard Vinehout today on WPR and she sounds very smart. I don't know why, but listening her to talk about the Kenosha schools, I started to cry. I thought, "This is what almost all our elected officials used to be like, smart, hardworking and good."

  6. What a contrast in Wisconsin between the intelligent and clear thinker politician like Ms. Vinehout and the republicans' politician's politician & policy "wonk" Paul Ryan!

    1. I think the difference is honesty. One person is taking an agenda and trying to make his policies fit that agenda. He then thinks up spin to convince people of his version of things.

      Vinehout seems to be looking at different aspects of government, education, health care, stimulus funding and saying "What will work? What do we want? How we can we achieve this?" She has no special interest agenda and so she doesn't have to spin anything.

    2. You might want to reconsider. Vinehout made the same pledge that Falk did, only to rescind it within days. That's not being honest.

    3. I haven't decided yet who I am going to vote for.

  7. I'm thinking this -- Barrett for governor, Falk for a strong secretary of the DNR where she can put her environmental bona fides to work.

    The comparison between economic growth and activity in Dane Co. (seat of state govt and UW-Madison) and the City of Milwaukee (hemmed in by Washington, Ozaukee, and Waukesha Counties with their well-known antipathy to Milwaukee and its [shh, majority poor and non-white] population is inapt at best. Add to Milwaukee (City) the burden of having been part of Scott Walker's Milwaukee County for several years, and the fact of any progress is a good sign.

    I don't know if Falk would do DNR -- but she'd be good in that role.

  8. It seems to have escaped Andy's notice that Barrett kicked Walker's ass in Milwaukee County, where voters know both candidates the best, 62-38, in 2010. I have a hard time imagining Falk rolling up that kind of margin here.

  9. Xoff is correct. Walker was curshed in Milw. Co. in 2010.

    I believe Walker was basically asking his base to go out and vote for Falk.

    1. The race will not be won or lost in Milwaukee County. Barrett should've done much better in Milwaukee, but blew it when he tried to take over MPS.

    2. Barrett would have done even better -- than two-thirds of the ballots! -- in Milwaukee with more turnout by Dems, but WEAC refused to endorse the Dem candidate for governor in 2010, capper.

      Put the blame where it belongs: WEAC and other unions that did not stand with Dems when we needed to defeat Walker. There is a karma in what followed for WEAC, but it had impact on us all. So I still will stand with the teachers, although not with their union leaders.

    3. Barrett will do better in Dane Co. than Falk will do in MKE Co. Hence Milwaukee will be the reason Barrett beats Falk.

      Moreover, as our Lt. Gov Candidate pointed out during the rallies, Mallon Mitchell admonished the demonstrators, saying that 39 percent of union members actually voted for Walker in 2010.

      “Will we make the same mistake twice?” Mitchell asked.

      “No,” the crowd responded.


  10. I don't care for Falk..I also don't care for her bashing of Barrett...I'm voting for Vinehout...I heard her talk..met her on the capital square...she's down to earth with good ideas..only doesn't have the money backing as Faulk or a Teamster local 695..I'm a little pissed that our national supports Falk without asking us...Vinehout would make a wonderful governor but no one knows about please do some research before jumping on the bigger bandwagon...

    1. I did my research, months ago. Where have you been?

      BTW, when was the last time you voted on an endorsement? Betcha the answer is never.

  11. Kathleen Falk Tour Event
    April 27th, 6:30pm
    Old Town Bar and Restaurant
    2215 E 2nd St
    Superior , WI

    Kathleen Falk Tour Event
    May 5th, 3:00pm
    Weitkamp Park
    648 O'Neil Road
    Hudson, WI

    Kathleen Falk Tour Event
    May 5th, 7:00pm
    Hickory Hills Golf Course
    E4080 Hickory Road
    Eau Claire, WI

    Kathleen Falk Tour Event
    May 6th, 9:00am
    Democratic Party Office
    29 W Davenport St.
    Rhinelander, WI

    Kathleen Falk Tour Event
    May 6th, 11:00am
    Wausau Labor Temple
    318 S. 3rd Ave
    Wausau, WI

  12. I'm also less than enthralled the Falk and my union also worked out a deal without asking us. But it's things like that which makes Falk by far the candidate Walker would like to face (and yes, that's what that Walker/ Belling interview was about- stochastic terrorism to 262 trailer trash, ballot box style).

    But Walker isn't going to get his wish. I honestly think Falk is more likely to finish 3rd than first, for the reasons that Anonymous 2:18pm brings up (Vinehout is your better "Not Barrett" pick). Don't get me wrong, if Falk somehow wins on May 8, I'm totally behind her (and everyone else better be, too), but the actions of her and her supporters have guaranteed that I won't vote for her on May 8.

    1. When was the last time you voted on an endorsement?

  13. Anonymous 2:18, thank you for your thoughts -- but please, do more research on Vinehout, too, if women's reproductive rights are at all in your priorities, as they are in the Democratic party platform.

    However, Vinehout has voted with Republicans regarding women's reproductive rights. I like a lot about her except that -- but that's a high priority for me, as it ought to be for any Democrat.

    1. I don't know about 2:18, but I consider myself to be independent and will vote for the person I like the best out of the Democrats.

    2. Of course you will and ought to do so, Anonymous 10:04. And if your priorities do not include women's reproductive rights, that is your right -- to put lower priority of my rights.

  14. I am a proud union member, marched in Madison last Feb, Mar. I was effected by ACT 10,and 32,I fear of what Walker wil do to the WRS if not defeated. I urge all Dems, Progs, and indy's to look at the big picture. I can understand and agree a 12% contrb. to my healthcare is reasonable. I can make a logical argument on why a 5+% contrb. to my pension does not save the tax payers a dime, but, in order to win in June I will eat that argument, and fight for work place safety, hours, conditions of employment, I will fight for clean air, strong education, voting rights, the end of corp. hand outs, womens rights.etc,etc. Barrett can beat Walker, we must unite around him, labor, middleclass, teachers, city workers alike! We must be pragmatic, Falk, while I to like her,she will not get the support of those who don't understand collective bargaining, she made her bed early, she won't be able to get over that with those voters,,,Barrett can. This recall is NOT just about ACT 10!! It's everything he has done to date and will do if he survives this recall. We need to vote smart,if we do we will win!

    1. If you think that Falk is only about Act 10, then you do not know of which you speak.

      If you think Barrett cares about the unions, women or education in the glowing way you limn, you know not of which you speak. Look at the news and then rethink your stance.

  15. I don't get the problems with Falk (other than the "Pledge" which admittedly was a bonehead move by her supporters).

    Is it because she's all business and not a bubbly female? She's smart, she's in this for the right reasons and she can beat Walker if we, the people, vote. I'll support whoever wins but I'm voting for Falk in the primary.

    1. I totally agree with you about Falk. I don't get the "problem" with her either. I have also suspected it is the business-like manner or something like that. I don't know.

  16. I don't think Falk is only about ACT 10, but when she says she will veto the budget if Act 10 is not repealed, well then the other side has too much fodder against her. If she wins the primary, she wins my support. I'v met Barrett and he does support labor, and collective bargaining. Barrett didn't get the support of Milw. Fire and Police because Walker promised them open residency! Barrett had no choice but to ask for concessions in health and pensions,when Barrett said Act 10 didn't go far enough he was referring to the exclusion of police and fire in the health and pension contribs. Those two entities are the biggest draw on muni. budgets. Those are the facts.

    1. Reread my article please. Then explain his actions. Until then, I'll maintain my skepticism.

      He was asking for this before there was an Act 10.

    2. Furthermore, putting it in the budget is the only way to make the Republicans address the issue. Otherwise, the can just let the thing sit and rot. I don't think restoring what was stolen is extreme at all.

      Why do you?

    3. Tieing it to the budget shows lack of legislative experience on Falk's part -- and lack of understanding, which we state employees have, of the chaos that ensues when the state budget is months late. Those of us in state employ, capper, know this and do not want to have to deal with it again under Falk. So this is not a winning message with employees of the state's largest employer, the state itself.

  17. Your article is spot on! You answered your question on Act 10, muni budgets have been loosing shared revenue for years, as I said, there isn't alot of flexability in these budgets, the paid sick days issue, is one I'm torn on. As I live in and like Milwaukee, I can see the negitive impact this could have. I also agree on restoring what was stolen, however, I also believe me paying 12% for my healthcare is far less than what my neihbor pays, and my plan is better! Good for me right?(I support universal healthcare) I believe we need to attract the support of those voters. And I can tell you Falk will not get the support of the people of the northwoods when she so clearly sides with the unions (teachers).Let me say again, I agree with your points, however we are so very divided in this state and I believe Falk,like it or not, underscores that divide. Damn,,I'm I one of those mamby pamby Dems you speak of?

    1. Actually, in 2006, Falk got more voters north of Hwy 29 than Barrett did in 2010. And there were less people voting in 2006, meaning her percentage was way higher than Barrett's.

      And why should the employees, private or public, be forced to support the lavish lifestyle of insurance CEO's.

      Like I said, Barrett better come up with better answers if he expects different results, if he wins the nomination.

  18. Capper- I wouldn't use that comparison. Falk underperformed Doyle by 5-6% statewide, which enabled D-B Van Hollen to become Attorney General.

    On the other hand, Barrett was only 1% behind Russ Feingold, who carries a whole lot more oomph with me as a standard-bearer than Jim Doyle. And you know this Capper, and you trying to say otherwise just makes you look lame.

    Stay on Walker, stay off Falk, and you'll be just fine.

    1. Yeah, well, this might come as a surprise to you, but I've been paying a bit of attention to the goings on in Milwaukee. Barrett lost mostly because of Milwaukee. Even though he had a 62-38 advantage over Walker, it would have been higher if he hadn't tried to take over the schools, and then fail doing so.

      And if you might not have noticed, what I wrote about the way Walker would attack Barrett is already coming true. I'm still waiting for Barrett to respond. Surely, he must have known it was coming.

    2. Nope, Barrett would have won had turnout been better -- turnout discouraged by the teachers'union's refusal to endorse the Dem candidate for governor in 2010.

      And Mary Bell (and Marty Beil) are screwing it up again this time. I try to fault them as the union leaders and not the union members, but it is the job of members to rein in leaders who do not represent them. Some members started to do so last week, but too late.

      I always have been pro-union, but I begin to see why some are not that I would expect to be pro-union. WEAC is going to suffer for this, sadly, at a time when it most needs to win support.

    3. Yup, they chose not to back him because of his decision to try to take over the school system. Look into where he got the idea from...

  19. Seriously, isn't anyone polling the Northwoods to find this out?

  20. Excellent post. I certainly love this website. Thanks!
    payday loans
    my website > payday loans