Establishment Candidate Key to Baldwin Win

Brief critique and comparison between GOP strategy/nominees in 2010 and 2012.

The Nov. 6 election has been analyzed to death, but lost in the post-mortem is a bright spot for conservatives that’s gone largely uncovered. President Obama won the Electoral College handily, but did not get the mandate he wanted based on popular vote.  However, there was a mandate for Governor Walker and the GOP-controlled legislature. 

The Red Tsunami of 2010 brought about a new breed of conservatives who went to Madison and began to work immediately.  Instead of constituents’ requests falling on deaf ears, Wisconsinites saw a new relationship between themselves and their legislators.  The people asked and the legislature delivered collective bargaining reform, concealed-carry, voter ID, an end to state funding of Planned Parenthood, along with numerous changes to state law showing the rest of the country that we are, indeed, open for business.

The June 5 recall results were an affirmation of their achievements and Nov. 6 was a mandate for them to carry on with their work. 

For those still baffled by Tommy Thompson’s loss to Tammy Baldwin in the US Senate race, there is a real lesson to be learned.

Near the end of a hard-fought primary season, the establishment broke for Tommy Thompson in a big way and we were assured of two things:  1) Tommy Thompson was the only one who could definitely beat Tammy Baldwin, and 2) No matter who won the nomination, the money would be there.  On Aug. 14 it was clear that many bought into this and Tommy Thompson was nominated.

Hindsight is 20/20, but both assertions were horribly wrong.  Although not finalized, the numbers show that Mitt Romney received about 30,000 more votes that Tommy Thompson and Thompson only fared .5 percent better against Baldwin than Romney did against Obama.  We all know that by the end of the primary, and again shortly before the general election, the Thompson campaign was out of money.  Lack of money wasn’t the only reason he lost.

If not just money, then what was wrong with Tommy Thompson as our nominee?  I believe he ran for the right reasons—with sincere concerns about the fiscal cliff and the impact of Obamacare.  The real problem was that the 80s and 90s establishment stepped in for him during the last days before the primary.  Maybe they bought the arguments that he was unbeatable and that he’d be well-funded, but I can’t help but wonder if they also had a sense of indebtedness to Tommy Thompson for what he did as governor and for the careers he helped to launch.

By backing Thompson, the establishment ignored the types of legislators we sent to Washington (and Madison) for the first time in 2010 and disregarded the strides we made in 2010 toward unapologetic, Constitutional conservatism. We ended up with Tammy Baldwin.

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Bren November 15, 2012 at 01:27 AM
I would have described it as stepping in gum but your analogy works too! ; )
Bren November 15, 2012 at 01:32 AM
This is a dated and fortunately marginal viewpoint.
Jay Sykes November 15, 2012 at 01:44 AM
Bren... just my own brand of neo-utilitarian linguistic pragmatism. I'll leave the challenges in exploration of thought to Lyle Ruble, Brian Carlson and Nick Poulos. It's sure fun to read through the smoke and flames.
Lyle Ruble November 15, 2012 at 01:59 AM
@WPN1488....You are stereotyping Senator Elect Baldwin based strictly on her sexual preference and judging her unsuitable to serve as our Senator. Senators Kohl and Feingold are both Jewish and they represent an even smaller group when you take into consideration the size of the Jewish population in Wisconsin. Singling out specific stereotypes and assigning them certain characteristics, is fortunately something that the majority of the electorate doesn't share.
AWD November 15, 2012 at 02:14 AM
CowDung November 15, 2012 at 03:55 AM
Lyle: Don't worry--I do not own any firearms and don't have any plans to do so. I do strongly support the right to own weapons and carry though. I grew up in a rural area with no local police jurisdiction. Fortunately crime wasn't an issue for us at the time, but I can recognize that there are situations where one would be better off providing their own security rather than relying on the police...
Steve ® November 15, 2012 at 04:18 AM
I do and plan to fire at ready this weekend. I will think of Lyle every pull of the trigger.
Steve ® November 15, 2012 at 04:23 AM
By message you mean the lies and millions spent tarnishing his career. Good job.
sparky November 15, 2012 at 06:12 AM
Is she one of those Irish travelers you read about every 5 or 6 years going from town to town?
Terry November 15, 2012 at 01:08 PM
I disagree Lyle, I do think another candidate, or perhaps a better run campaign, would have resulted in a different outcome. I think the voting record of this state, mostly, shows a healthy fear of the extreme ends of the political spectrum. Wisconsin voters distrust both the far left, and the far right, preferring something in the middle. There is little doubt that Baldwin falls into the far left category. Thompson, and his campaign, allowed her to set the agenda and tone of this election. He let her sell herself to the voters as the moderate candidate. To hear her commercials, you would have thought that she was the fiscal conservative. I don't think that this state is conservative. But its not liberal either. For the most part, its somewhere in between, and that's why it seems almost schizophrenic at times with how it votes. And that's why I think this was a winnable seat, with a better candidate and/or campaign. Oh, once last aside. Whoever thought it was a good idea to run that horrible Thompson commercial with him riding a Harley and trying to look tough, needs to never work in politics again. Can't really sell yourself as a Schwarzenegger tough guy when you are probably closer to Jerry Lewis.
Walker November 15, 2012 at 01:23 PM
Voter ID was the hottest topic of legislation in the field of elections in 2011, with legislation introduced in 34 states. Hello ALEC. http://www.ncsl.org/legislatures-elections/elections/voter-id-2011-legislation.aspx
Bob McBride November 15, 2012 at 01:24 PM
Pretty much a no-brainer, actually. One of the following was enough of a factor to make the outcome inevitable. 1) With Obama as the presidential candidate, you get unusually large democratic turnout from constituencies that historically don't turn out in such numbers. It's not racist, it's a fact. You can go back and examine turnout in total from 2008 from predominantly black communities across the nation overall and compare them to previous races. 2012's numbers probably follow suit. If you up the number of Democrats voting, Democrats win. Simple as that. 2) It's Tommy. He's not an appealing candidate on, frankly, any level. He's got a history here of running (or threatening to) run in just about any race that'll garner him some attention. His command of the English language is horrible. He sounds like the guy you rent cottages from up in Herman's Landing. On a good day, he looks like 40 miles of bad backwoods macadam. He came off as darn near brain damaged in the debates. Frankly, all Tammy had to do was show up and not look nuts to win.
Lyle Ruble November 15, 2012 at 01:36 PM
@Bob McBride....Spot on. If I remember correctly you predicted this last spring.
Randy1949 November 15, 2012 at 05:25 PM
On the subject of County Stadium, does anyone have a long enough memory to remember how that site was originally discussed for the proposed Bradley Center gift? That was nixed by Bud Selig on the grounds that another sports arena next to his precious stadium would hurt his business. That meant the County had to find land downtown for the Bradley Center, at extra cost. So Bud had some real chutzpah sticking his hand out to the taxpayers for his spiffy new stadium some ten or fifteen years later. They count on us not remembering these things.
Randy1949 November 15, 2012 at 05:50 PM
@Bob McBride -- Did you delete a comment? My memory goes as far back as when the only cable company in the metro Milwaukee area was RVS. I don't know about the horse-races in the various communities to finally get their cable, though.
CowDung November 15, 2012 at 05:50 PM
I believe Walker was in the state assembly at the time. I can't seem to find voting records for individuals, but he may have voted in favor of the 0.1% stadium tax...
Bob McBride November 15, 2012 at 05:51 PM
Bud's a saint. He singlehandedly (really?) brought baseball back to Milwaukee at enormous personal and financial risk (really??) for no other reason than his love of the game (really???). Next to, perhaps, Vince Lombardi, Bud is Wisconsin's most beloved non-playing sports figure of all time (really?????). Why else would there be giant statue in his honor at Miller Park? If you've got a really long memory you might remember, as well, the whole cable franchise horse race and stories about grand pianos being bestowed upon certain individuals by TWC (which I believe was just Warner Cable back then) at the time. One of the more peculiar incentives I can recall.
Bob McBride November 15, 2012 at 06:00 PM
Randy, yes I did. I felt the need to add a tribute to Bud in the post, so did that and reposted. Maybe they were RVS back then. I remember the piano gifting because the sister of a girl I was dating at the time was working for Dennis Conta, who I think was working as a consultant and on behalf of one of the companies vying for the contract.
Randy1949 November 15, 2012 at 06:03 PM
@Bob McBride -- There's the comment. I will add that my memory goes as far back as RVS Cable struggling to get their studio and their tower built. And then it was several years after that before my area got wired for cable. It was still RVS at the time, and I forget the acquisitions and name changes since. No grand pianos were involved.
Randy1949 November 15, 2012 at 06:09 PM
@Bob McBride -- It was indeed RVS at the very beginning, named after Richard V. Steffen, the owner (along with his wife Lois). They got the tower and the studio built and began wiring communities. And yeah, there was a lot of behind the scenes politics but no pianos. They were on a shoe-string at the beginning.
Bob McBride November 15, 2012 at 06:58 PM
I'm going to have to dig around on this. I don't think the pianos necessarily came from the winning bidder at the time.....I'll see what I can find.
Bob McBride November 15, 2012 at 07:13 PM
This is what I remember, basically... http://www.putnampit.com/milwaukeepress/Warner.htm If you read down through it, you get to this: The next week, Ald. Kevin O’Connor denied receiving an $1,800 campaign contribution from Warner, but he did acknowledge he got “about a grand a piece” from Warner’s registered lobbyists Robert Friebert and John Finerty. Now, based on the time this was occurring, it would have been right around the end of my drinking career so it's entirely possible I mistook, or someone I hung with at the time heard and mistook "about a grand a piece" for "a grand piano". It certainly wouldn't have been the oddest mistake I made at that point in time.
Jay Sykes November 15, 2012 at 07:33 PM
I remember in the early days of cable, individual communities around Milwaukee had various different providers/channel line-ups. The seven North Shore communities combined and let a single build-out contract to Viacom. My girlfriend in Elm Grove had a different channel line-up and cable company.
Randy1949 November 15, 2012 at 08:13 PM
Google RVS Cablevision. You will find a lot of references to municipalities in this area. To the best of my recollection, the authorization for their tower happened in 1978, which I dimly recall because I was at the Town meeting. After that, I don't know how it went. We didn't get cable here until about 1982 or 1984.
CowDung November 15, 2012 at 08:19 PM
I wonder if it was the same guy that had Dukakis do the photo op in the tank.
Bob McBride November 15, 2012 at 10:38 PM
I'm not disputing your account, Randy. It's more the circus around that particular awarding of the city contract that I remember.
Terry November 15, 2012 at 11:07 PM
Indeed Cowdung.. The comparison is spot on.
DICK STEINBERG November 15, 2012 at 11:46 PM
Randy1949 November 16, 2012 at 01:39 AM
There was a bit of a circus in 1978 with the building of that tower, and I'm kind of proud of the part I played in helping it go ahead. I think it was Tosa that got cable first, although don't hold me to that. The technology has changed since then. There are no more antennas on that tower -- just satellite dishes.
TOM November 16, 2012 at 12:02 PM
This entire election was a farce would have had an entirly different outcome had VOTER ID been in place and inforced.


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