Monday, June 5, 2017

Convention & Post-Convention

Here are my takeaways from the 2017 Democratic Party of Wisconsin Convention:

1) Fairly or unfairly, Bryan Kennedy was seen as the candidate for chair who most closely reminded people of the leadership prior to Martha Laning's. Not everyone felt that way, but enough people did. His connections to prior leadership under which the DPW lost a lot of ground-- not that Laning kept any ground-- weighed on delegates who were there to vote. It's too bad, because with his strong Union support, he could have been really helpful in some unique ways.

2) Andy Gronik running for governor? Sorry, sir. The problem is not that we need to "reject political divisiveness", it's that we are failing to repel and defeat fascism in Wisconsin. You don't make friends with delusional bullies by pandering to their good side. They don't have one.

3) Randy Bryce, a solid Union man, dad, tireless volunteer, and all-around beloved Wisconsinite has declared his candidacy for Paul Ryan's seat. It's pretty red down there, but if anybody can do this, Randy can. He is likely to have help from all over the state.

4) Attendance at the DPW State Convention is still unaffordable for far too many Wisconsinites. Until this format becomes less dependent on people from some of the poorest areas of the state traveling to some of the other parts, paying for hotel rooms and food, etc., especially in a state with declining wages and benefits, a very small pool of Dems will continue to do the choosing for DPW leadership.  This is a problem that extends well beyond Wisconsin. It's a chief complaint about the DNC, too.

5) Dana Wachs for governor? Super nice guy but zzzzzzzz... He's already getting attention from folks that most of us consider responsible for the ground given up to the WI-GOP since 2010.  Watch who endorses whom. And watch who people -- real people not paid by campaigns or affiliated with firms that run campaigns-- are backing.  If you can believe the WPR straw poll, Mahlon Mitchell is at the top of the list with Kathleen Vinehout a close second.

6) Why do I care that Bob Harlow went away to Stanford? I don't. I mean, I'm proud of him, but it's the kind of thing people insist on being used in their introduction when they are 25 and don't yet have other things to run on. Taking a look at his eight-point plan, I do love to envision a world where consumers have any say at all over their insurance payments and medical costs. Can you think of any planet on which his health care reform plan would work, though? Here is is:

"My healthcare plan for Wisconsin provides full coverage for every Wiconsinite at a cost that is never more than 9% of your income. At the same time, it allows you to choose any doctor or specialist in the whole state of Wisconsin for each exam or procedure. It works like this. 
  • You will never pay more than 9% of your income for healthcare. 
  • You can choose any doctor or specialist in the whole state for each exam or procedure. No more expensive insurance companies telling you what you can and can't do. 
  • You pay the difference between the 33rd percentile of bids in your region and the bid you choose capped at 9% of your income. If you choose a bid that is less expensive than the 33rd percentile of bids, you pay nothing. 
  • You do not have to pay anything out of pocket. Simply calculate how much you owe up to 9% of your income, and send a check to the State of Wisconsin." 

7) Like every DPW convention, the chatter about Nation Consulting picks up. I'm worried for the folks who hire them because they have burned more bridges than they will ever let on to clients. There are whole swaths of people who won't touch anything they touch anymore. Get to work, free market.

8) If you can believe the WPR straw poll for Dem candidate for governor right now, Mahlon Mitchell leads the field with Kathleen Vinehout behind him. Mike McCabe and his blue jeans have been angling for a run. Please, don't. Candidates will likely wait as long as possible to declare. The GOP is not going to want to lose Wisconsin because Walker has been such a faithful stooge, and will fight whoever runs with everything they've got.

9) There was a lot of complaining about voting. Yes, people stood in line for hours to vote for the chair race.  And yes, it should be something that can be improved upon in upcoming conventions. Using the same process for voting that a bakery counter uses for donuts does not inspire confidence. Or the current century.

That's it for this year, everybody. Let's all get out and fight for our democracy. And let's hope to God that some good candidates come forward across the board.


  1. Good rundown, and agree that it needs to be easier for out-of-towers to attend and vote on these conventions.

    I didn't see the WPR straw poll, bit I did take part in the straw poll, which Vinehout won convincingly. Wachs was second, but I agree that Wachs and Vinehout need to determine who wants to be Guv, and who wants to be Senator from Western Wis. (my pick is Vinehout for Guv)

    I didn't see anyone around Gronik that wasn't a paid suit. That guy should be funding, not running.

    Lastly, lots of delegates are frustrated and want a candidate who won't let Walker and WISGOP continue to get away with their BS. If the DPW is smart, they'll let Tammy and the big-money funders deal with the Senate race,and they should concentrate their efforts at the state level and for Congress

  2. About Randy Bryce...Just tell me where and when to send the fundraising check for his bid for Paul Ryan's seat!

  3. With respect to the governor's race, there is a compelling reason Paul Soglin would make the strongest candidate, (and by all means I hope many folks get in the Dem primary and bash Scott Walker to a pulp): Soglin has since his work for the Civil Rights and Peace movement, his City Council work, and his work as Mayor spanning the decades since 1973 believes in a core value. The purpose of government is to help peoples' lives. Seems axiomatic, but as we know Scott Walker has a completely different conception. Soglin doesn't need this campaign or a stint in the governor's office, he has accomplished more than any public official I can think of except for La Follette. The reason Bernie Sanders did so well around the state is the same reason Soglin would: A firm conviction that lives matters and people precede and are superior to the state. People are the reason for the establishment of government at all levels.

  4. And he would be strung up as a "Madison liberal" in the same way Burke was. And you might want to check what Soglin's reputation is among communities of color/and or advocates for the homeless, MAL. No, the GOP doesn't care about the homeless, either, but they can and will use his record against him. It's a no from day one.

    1. I live in Madison, and this is an accurate assessment. I don't think Soglin would even be re-elected as Mayor, let alone Governor.

      I like Soglin as an attack dog to expose what a lightweight Walker is, but in,no way should Soglin be the formal candidate to take Scotty out.

  5. 1. Part of the reason Kennedy was tied to the previous regime is because many in the old regime were not shy about their criticism of Laning and the rest of the party.

    2. Lets let anyone who wants to get into the primary and then start winnowing. If Soglin wants to get in, I am all for it. I think he would bring alot to the table in a primary.

    3. We have no chance of winning if one of our criteria is deciding on how the GOP will paint the candidate. WHo cares if they paint him as a "madison liberal". The fact they did that to Mary Burke shows how ridiculous it is.

    4. I am still all in for Harlow. His health care plan might not be single payer but it sure beats Scott Walkers plan.

    5. I care that he went to a great school like Stanford. I still believe we missed a huge chance last election by not highlighting Burkes Harvard MBA against college dropout