Monday, November 2, 2015

Same As It Ever Was

By Jeff Simpson

On the heels of declared Democratic candidates, Mark Struble and Kirk Bangstad, suspendng their campaigns, I heard privately from another declared candidate for the State Assembly, that he was also thinking of suspending his campaign.

It seems that he has been beating his head against the wall trying to get some help from the State Party and even the elected Dems.  It is a daunting task with help and practically impossible without it.  

Having complained before about lack of action or competence within the party, I have been told to make sure and email them and ask questions and bring concerns and they will respond.

I did that to no response from the party.

Apparently they were busy doing something close to nothing, but different than the day before.

Since I have no response from the party and this is an opinion piece, let me offer my opinion.

With the very real threat of a political "consultant" from a firm with Republican ties and who has a track record of losing, taking over the job of Chair of the Democratic Party, many activists(as they have been known to do(see Barrett, Tom - recall election), paniced and felt that Martha Laning was the perfect mix of new Democrat and centrist needed to win.   

Martha Laning is in way over her head(quick tell me the last time you saw her in the news).   

Ms. Laning kept most of the same staff that helped turn Wisconsin from solid blue to dark red for a long time, thus stymying  her ability to get anything new done.  Then when many of them left to the Chris Abele(D -in disguise) campaign, she had the ability to hire her own people.  

She failed at that, as if you look at her staff, you see retread after retread.  It appears if you work on one campaign, you have a job in politics for life, regardless of the outcomes.   If you look at the staff, you will see the resumes loaded with failed races upon anonymous wins.   

We are now a year away from what will probably be the biggest election in our lifetime.  While the Republicans have gerrymandered the state, they have also governed it in an extreme far right way, passing bad policy upon horrible policy for WI.  

 It is also a Presidential year where Democrats typically bring voters to the booth and perform well up and down the ticket(watch the debates and you see no reason why that can not be true again in 2016).  

If we are ever to capture the State Senate, some seats in the Assembly, and possibly a seat or two in the House(I am already counting on a Feingold win), this is THE YEAR.  

Unfortunately it looks like everyone in a position of power in the Democratic party (from the State party, to the local electeds) are perfectly comfortable being safely in the minority, and have no interest in changing that or bringing new ideas into the fold or new people into the legislature.   

It is sad really for people who need insurance, for our children who need a quality education, for our formerly world class educational institutions and many many others in WI.  

At least the Bucks will have a new arena at some point.  

Back to the reality of extremists rule with no opposition party in WI.  At this point I do not now that it is fixable anymore.     

Fighting Bob would be rolling over in his grave!   


  1. This really hit home with me! I ran for 25th Assembly in 2012 which is part of Laning's 9th Senate. I came in a close 2nd out of 4 in the primary. My main opposition was Jim Brey who won with 41% plurality running an anti-Progressive campaign. He had the same backers that Later backed Laning for chair and who also conducted a purge of all things Progressive from the local commitee. One of them, Kerry Trask is also now 6 CD chair. Its interesting to note that Brey has publicly stated that only "die hards that show up at the conventions..." support the Dem platform. I took particular note that he was at the last convention in support of Laning. It should be noted that both Brey and Laning had the support of allegedly Liberal boy mayor and Tate Protege Justin Nickels. After all this there is no way I would bother to attempt another run as any Progressive would have to first fight his way through the jungle of dysfunction and self interest. See:

  2. I think the dems already in office are so busy just keeping track of the many new bills the Republicans are introducing, the many meetings and sessions. No one expected the attacks on civil service, the GAB, the $200M being requested by the DOT, etc.
    . And Republicans hold secret meetings, like on the arena and other issues. I hope the party can get things together. Republicans have a steady flow on funding from the Kochs and other ALEC billionaires, as long as they keep passing the ALEC bills. Democrats lost funding from unions, which Fitz said was the intention of Act 10.

  3. I am a relative newcomer to Wisconsin and the DPW -- coming from Minnesota where there is certainly a more functional political environment -- and I live in a rural community on the "west coast" so I don't have much contact with Madison and that hot house.
    With those qualification, I will share frustration with what seems to be a dysfunctional political environment. But I find no ideas here about how to fix it. Why is it that so many are loudly able shout their dissent and so few are willing to do any work to improve the environment and the party? I'd rather ask how I can help than who should I hate?

    1. It was thought that new leadership after the Tate debacle would fix it. Instead we got a corporatist who likes to hold meetings and listening sessions. No leadership. Just a lot of meetings. If you can inject some ideas from Minnesota Im sure you would be more than welcome but its going to take a couple years again now to change the change.

    2. It reminds me of student government where I went to college. The vast majority of the student senate meetings were dedicated to the minutiae of student government by laws and not voting on concrete action that benefited or even affected the student body at large.

    3. Is the DPW channeling Debbie Wasserman Schultz?

  4. Bernie, I thought you didn't win because few people wanted you to represent us. Harsh, but the truth. Get over it.

    1. That depends on what the definition of "us" is.
      If you think that Jim Brey represents any Democrat then you are not a Democrat.
      If you are not a Democrat then it would seem logical that I do not represent you.
      Considering that this was the Dem primary one might have expected a slightly different outcome.

  5. Actually, I've seen a lot more calls to action under Laning without it being an excuse to ask for money, and that's a definite change and upgrade from the Tate era.

    But if party officials are pushing people out of races (or working behind the scenes for others), that's still not acceptable. And what's going on up North seems very wrong from both sides of that.

    Money matters, but message and presence should matter.more. Especially in red-voting rural Wisconsin

    1. Ive seen the emails and agree they are somewhat better. However, emailing the membership is preaching to the choir. I think this piece is complaining (quite correctly) that there isnt any outreach to the minds we need to change or the non-member de facto Dems or Independents without whom victory remains a delusion.
      My larger point is that Laning's support base here is a case study in dysfunction and what not to do. If this is being elevated to the State level we are pretty much screwed.

  6. This depressing story in the news today. Its obviously not just a Wisconsin problem.