Jun 25, 2014

Wisconsin Democrats, Don't Let This One Slip Away

Wisconsin Democratic Party Chair Mike Tate, Scott Walker's
Most Important Ally Besides the Koch Brothers.
Image: Wisconsin Public Television
Update: Someone got to Mike Tate and in the colorful lexicon of politics suggested he is not proceeding correctly. See Democrats go after Walker on John Doe allegations (Craver, The Capital Times), green-lighting the release of a video and press release two days after Tate told Wisconsin reporters that blasting Scott Walker's criminal corruption and Walker's failure on jobs is too complicated for Tate to communicate clearly.

If Wisconsin Democratic Party Chair, Mike Tate, Were Coach of the Packers, He Would Find a Way to Screw-up a Game against a Junior-High School Team That Doesn't Have the Plays Down Yet. He Should Resign and Here's Why

What's the Matter with Kansas? (Thomas Frank, Holt Paperbacks, 2005), Thomas Frank famously asked, eyeing the authoritarian and statist political leanings of working-class Kansans who vote with elitist, big-moneyed interests and religious extremists.

Prairie populism is gone from Kansas, and 700 miles to the northeast in Wisconsin, the Badger state is headed the same way under the direction of the bureaucratic groupthink and grab-a-paycheck electoral strategy encouraged by Mike Tate, Chair of the Democratic Party of Wisconsin, supposed opposition party to Scott Walker, the Republican Party of Wisconsin and the Koch brothers.

Facing Scott Walker and an enemy so rich in political targets, a given opposition political party could metaphorically grab a pistol, close its eyes, fire and hit dead-center, Tate and the Dems keep missing the mark.

Mike Tate and the presumptive Democratic nominee for governor, Mary Burke, have made a strategic calculation to ignore the dirtiest and most spectacular political scandal in state history: John Doe II, right as the story was beginning to penetrate the casual voter in central and northern Wisconsin.

It would distract from jobs and the economy, Mike Tate explains.

"We had volunteers that knocked on over 3,000 doors this past weekend to talk about Mary Burke and Democratic candidates," said Tate. "What we heard at the doors wasn't whether the governor was at the center of criminal scheme. What we heard was that they wanted Wisconsin to get back to work" (Halstad, WPR).

No shit, you better focus on jobs and corruption and the environment and public schools.

Tate and the Democratic Party communications team are as effective as a 1970s television receiving signals through its rabbit-ear antennae.

This does contrast with the Democratic Party of Wisconsin's web site of course where a fund-raising page presently reads, "Wisconsinites are tired of Scott Walker’s legal troubles, controversial proposals and absence from the Governor’s office as he ramps up his Presidential run," but put that aside.

This is the massive Republican implosion, with more to come, that Wisconsin's non-Scott Walker candidate needs.

Tate decided to do "a conference call with reporters" this week and let it be known that the most effective way to hype Walker's terrible record on jobs is to minimize Scott Walker's criminal corruption (Stein, Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel).

Where does the Democratic Party of Wisconsin draw up this strategy?

John Doe coverage is filtered through the Gannett Co. and local broadcast media; most people don't read the news often anyway, but Scott Walker being at the center of a nationwide criminal scandal is a sexy story with legs that reinforces what most people already believe about Scott Walker: He's a crook.

Watergate was awful, but it was also a spectacular news story that took down a president, and brought in a new age of crusading journalism. [If anyone wants a quick history, I recommend Jimmy Breslin's How the Good Guys Finally Won: Notes from an Impeachment Summer.]

A candidate today has to sell the story (one would hope with the help of a political party), expand the narrative of criminal corruption to jobs, water, erosion of public education and giving away and destroying what took generations of Wisconsin families to build.

A couple of questions for Mike Tate?

Do you think Scott Walker's corruption and extremism have caused a net loss of jobs? (Hint, think rejection of $800,000,000 (that's $800 million, lots of zeroes) in federal funds to build labor-intensive railroad infrastructure.)

Do you think the message that 'Scott Walker is not for you, Walker sold out family-supporting jobs to special interests and out-of-state billionaires' has political appeal? (Hint, think single-mother families, rejection of $4.4 billion in federal Medicaid money through 2020 (Bauer, AP), and the underemployed.)

In the 2011-12 recall elections, Scott Walker benefited from the air-dominance of TV spots resulting from the temporary no-contribution-limit-for-recalled-candidates election rule allowing no caps on individual donations, resulting in Scott Walker receiving numerous six-figure individual contributions mostly from out-of-state interests.

Scot Ross, Executive Director of One Wisconsin Now, said in August 2012, "Scott Walker bought the (June 2012 Recall) election with a waterfall of money no other candidate could legally raise."

Turns out Walker did not legally raise the money; he purposely and with malice of forethought broke Wisconsin election laws to win and screw the people of Wisconsin.

"Walker and his allies were able to stay on television non-stop across Wisconsin from late October 2011 until Election Day in June (2012) nearly 225 straight days," notes Ross.

To no one's surprise it turns out the numerous "issue advocacy" groups working for the election of Scott Walker were coordinating with Scott Walker, in apparent violation of Wisconsin campaign finance law, explaining why Walker and other big-moneyed interests do not want law enforcement looking anywhere near Walker's communications to Karl Rove and other Republican operators and big-money donors.

So, John Doe investigators have come upon a nationwide criminal scheme of corruption and a network of dark money centering on Scott Walker and the Republican Party of Wisconsin.

The new and innovative response of the Democratic Party of Wisconsin and its chair, Mike Tate: Look away, nothing to see here.

Several excellent candidates and officeholders have won here in Wisconsin, mostly by ignoring Mike Tate and running progressive campaigns accurately painting a compelling picture of out-of-touch Republicans selling out the Wisconsin people.

As for Mike Tate, I do have constructive suggestions: How about you take your undisclosed salary and contribute it to the political citizens groups, Protect Wood County and Its NeighborsGreen Bay Progressive and Citizens Concerned about the Proposed Penokee Hills Mine. (Facebook, open site)

Then resign gracefully.

1 comment:

  1. mal, terrific post, thank you.

    I understand that Tate has concerns about "going negative." This was a chance to link Gov. Walker to billionaires and Karl Rove. The Tea Party and Dems agree about billionaires and Karl Rove. We expect the Democratic communications professionals to be able to separate us from the GOP without appearing "partisan." No one said it was easy, but it can be done.