One More Time
Waukesha Freeman 11/01/2012, Page A08
One more time
Fight the fatigue and vote
“Once more unto the breach, dear friends, once more,” our friend Shakespeare wrote. Once more unto the breach this Tuesday to vote in an election.
We’re to be forgiven a little election fatigue as the blast of politics blows in our ears. Election Day. Again.
Meanwhile, the consultants are yelling, “Cry ‘Havoc!’ and let slip the dogs of war!” Both Democrats and Republicans are promising a “ground war” of get-out-the-vote efforts unlike any Wisconsin has seen or heard before.
The common joke among political insiders is, “How many robocalls have you been getting?”
Fortunately for me, the bell on my landline was turned off long ago. Instead I received a spam message on Twitter from Vice President Joe Biden asking me to use my influence to encourage everyone to vote early for President Barack Obama.
I’ll get right on that as soon as the president comes up with a serious plan to tackle the $16 trillion national debt, explains who gave the order to let Americans die in Benghazi, fires Attorney General Eric Holder for his role in the Fast and Furious cover-up, and asks Congress to repeal Obamacare.
It’s a wonder that the president is even seeking re-election since unemployment has been consistently over 8 percent, and will probably continue to trend in the wrong direction with the next report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics due Friday. Such is the power of incumbency and celebrity.
As I’ve been telling you, Wisconsin is competitive in the presidential race this time. There is a real possibility that former Gov. Mitt Romney and his running mate, Wisconsin Congressman Paul Ryan, could win our state, and likely the White House with it.
But it will take us all to make one more climb into the breach, though our minds and backs are fatigued from the political wars of the last two years. “Hold hard the breath and bend up every spirit to his full height.”
One more time.
* * *
The one candidate who does not appear to be fatigued is former Gov. Tommy Thompson. He told his Republican supporters that he had one more campaign left in him, and judging by his appearance at a tea party rally in Racine he’s lived up to that promise. Thompson fired up the crowd with his speech, reminding listeners of the Thompson who led Wisconsin in the 1990s.
It’s worth remembering who that governor was. Thompson was a leader in welfare reform, creating the model that was used nationally and considered the biggest success of the Clinton administration. Thompson was a leader in education reform, working with Milwaukee urban Democrats to launch the school choice program. Despite often facing a Democratic Legislature, Thompson was a leader in cutting taxes and controlling spending with his veto power. With that record, Thompson was considered a radical and a reformer.
Times have changed, and the amount of spending that occurred would cause outrage today. But those were the flush 1990s, and there was no appetite for spending cuts then.
His opponent, Congressman Tammy Baldwin of Madison, comes from a political fringe of the Democratic Party that is normally disqualified from seeking higher office. Her Madison left-wing politics would usually invite a Democratic primary election challenger. Such is the power of identity politics in the Democratic Party of Wisconsin, more focused on nominating a lesbian for Senate and less on the policies she supports.
After a long and even nasty campaign, we know the real Baldwin record. We know that she took campaign money from a group that supports Iran while she opposed sanctions aimed at stopping that country from getting a nuclear bomb. We know that Baldwin even opposed a resolution condemning the Iranian president for denying the Holocaust took place.
Domestically, Baldwin was for an even bigger government takeover of health care in this country. She was more extreme than either Congressman Nancy Pelosi or Obama. She supports massive tax increases that would crush small businesses. She supports even more government spending than the president despite the $16 trillion federal debt.
Her politics might play to a Madison crowd, but her real record is not something that Wisconsinites have supported in the past. Even former Sen. Russ Feingold pretended to be fiscally frugal. With Baldwin, there is no such pretense.
She even supported the hostile takeover and occupation of our state Capitol by the left-wing protesters last year.
If Baldwin is elected to the Senate, she will be the most radical senator since the late Sen. Alan Cranston of California, only without the charm.
For all of the jokes about Sen. Herb Kohl being a cipher in Washington, Baldwin will be worse. She will have no influence while misrepresenting Wisconsin and our values.
The Democratic Party owed Wisconsin a better nominee, and Wisconsin deserves a better senator than Baldwin. Fortunately, we can vote for Thompson, a reformer with a real track record Wisconsin can be proud of.
(James Wigderson is a blogger publishing at http://www.wigderson.com and a Waukesha resident. His column runs Thursdays in The Freeman.)