Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Darling: This is the Best Budget Ever!

Now that Republicans finally realize that they face serious consequences via the coming recalls, they have been trying their best to back track on some elements of their radical agenda. The latest chapter of this came on Friday when Republican legislators announced that they would reduce some of Scott Walker's immoral cuts to education. However their announcement proves to be little more than a token as it still will leave schools with $1.7 billion less than they have now.

It was in this anti-education context that career politician Senator Alberta Darling spoke these classic words: "This is the best budget I've seen since I entered the Legislature."

Alberta Darling has been in the state legislature for over 20 years and she clearly has grown much more extreme and much more out-of-touch with each one of them. Her recent comment about this disaster of a budget makes that much crystal clear.

So this is the "best budget" that she has ever seen?

  • The aforementioned $1.7 billion cut to education
  • While still too many Wisconsinites struggle with unemployment, Republicans have decided to cut unemployment benefits by $56 million a year.
  • Drastically cutting aid for local transit and funds for local road repair, but at the same time diverting $35 million in sales tax money to their political boosters in the state road building industry.
  • Endangering future dollars for local transit by shifting funding from the transportation fund to the state's main account.
  • Cutting $500 million from BadgerCare over the next 2 years and leaving many Wisconsinites in perilous circumstances and without proper health care.
  • Low- and middle-income people would lose tax credits worth about $49.4 million over two years. This while they are giving away the store to people in Alberta Darling's tax bracket and to their campaign funders in big biz?
  • Alberta Darling: "This is the best budget I've seen since I entered the Legislature."

    Yes Alberta, but exactly who is it "best" for?

    Sunday, May 22, 2011

    Vote "Fraud" Starts in the State Senate

    Just in case you missed the latest antics of the tyrannical majority in the Wisconsin State Senate: Vote fraud chapter.

    Tuesday, May 17, 2011

    Not a good time for Ryan to run...for anything

    As soon as U.S. Senator Herb Kohl announced that he wouldn't be running for reelection, Republicans began stumbling all over themselves to find someone to run for the seat. In a surprise to absolutely no one, the first name that they trotted out was Congressman Paul Ryan (R-Wall Street). However this morning Ryan has said that he will not run for Senator Kohl's seat. That decision is understandable given all of the blow back that he has received after announcing his latest attack on Medicare.

    Shortly after announcing his attack on Medicare, Paul Ryan faced stiff opposition from some very informed constituents at some of his public appearances. As Ryan's anti-Medicare plan was branded as the national Republican plan other congressional Republicans started feeling the heat at appearances back home.

    Now everyone seems to be distancing themselves from Paul Ryan's latest attack on Medicare. Newt Gingrich commented on it Sunday suggesting that it was tantamount to "right-wing social engineering." But he certainly isn't the first because Republicans have been distancing themselves from Ryan's attack on Medicare for weeks now. Consider some of the following:

    But there is some good news for Paul Ryan, former South Carolina Governor Mark Sanford came down from the Appalachian trail long enough to endorse Ryan's plan. But even he admitted that actually trying to pass a Ryan-style attack on Medicare would probably translate into his party losing seats in Congress.

    Again, given the reaction to his attack on Medicare, it is probably a good thing that Paul Ryan decided that now is not the right time to run for higher office. On the other hand, when 84% oppose his radical agenda, now might not even be an easy time for him to run for reelection to his current seat.

    Wednesday, May 04, 2011

    New Gaps in Enthusiasm and in Momentum

    Leading up to the November election last year we continuously heard about the enthusiasm gap that favored Republicans in that election. We unfortunately found out after the election results that the analysis was mostly true. Considering that it was only a handful of months ago, it is nothing short of remarkable at how both enthusiasm and momentum have completely and totally reversed.

    Last night Steve Doyle picked up a state assembly seat in a special election in western Wisconsin. This was a seat that was held by Republicans for some 16 years and only opened after its former occupant Mike Huebsch was tapped for a high position in the Walker administration. Doyle's victory last night was convincing (by 8%) and more importantly it happened in a part of the state that has often served as a political bell weather.

    The Steve Doyle win makes total sense when you consider the rapid and major shift in Western Wisconsin voting between the November elections and the supreme court election last month. The major swing in April helped turn what should have been a slam dunk win for Prosser into one of the closest statewide elections in recent memory. Kloppenburg gained 18 net points over Tom Barrett's November results.

    Given all of this information it should be no surprise that state Senator Dan Kapanke appears to be in big trouble. The recall petition against him was the first to be filed and it was done with lighting speed. Initial signs seem even more ominous when you couple that with an early poll showing Kapanke losing to a generic Democrat 55-41%.

    There is also much to be learned by comparing the recall efforts by Democrats vs. state Republicans. So far Democrats have filed six recall petitions compared to Republicans' three. The petitions filed against Republican senators happened with lightning fast speed and often included 40%-50% more signatures than were needed. In the three recall petitions that Republicans have turned in they have taken much longer and turned in much less signatures.

    The vast majority of the recall efforts against the Republicans was handled by a small army of passionately engaged Wisconsinites while the Republicans relied heavily on out-of-state paid circulators. The Republicans must have been pretty hard up for help because several of those people have questionable backgrounds. Given the low quality of out-of-state paid circulators that Republicans had to hire, it is not really a surprise that we are seeing reports of dead people signing their recall petitions.

    The bottom line in all of this is that there are new gaps in both enthusiasm and in momentum and Republicans are now on the losing end of both. The only thing to still be determined is if these new gaps will translate into recall election victories.