Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Keeping Kleefisch from debate unhealthy for democracy

Know much about Rebecca Kleefisch? You're not alone. The Republican nominee for lieutenant governor is relatively unknown through much of the state, save for Milwaukee where she once worked as a news anchor for that broadcasting area. Other than that, Kleefisch is a stranger, and even more unknown are her policy positions.

You would think that the Walker-Kleefisch campaign would want to expose her ideals and vision for the state a little more. But the campaign is purposely keeping her from engaging in any debate with her Democratic counterpart, Tom Nelson.

Why is that? Kleefisch has been described by many as being very similar ideologically to Sarah Palin. If voters in the state make that connection, it's likely that the Walker-Kleefisch campaign would lose some points among some independents and moderates in Wisconsin.

Kleefisch describes herself as 100 percent pro-life -- even in cases of rape or incest -- and anti-gay rights. But on other issues, it's entirely impossible to discern her views. At her personal campaign website, clicking on "Issues" will only reroute you to Scott Walker's campaign page.

But what stances we do see Kleefisch making, earlier during her primary campaign, are astonishing. Kleefisch believes that one of the qualifications for governor ought to be that he be a Christian man. Those are her words, not mine -- "My qualifications for governor are a Christian man." No need for that separation of church and state thing -- it's outdated anyway.

That the Walker-Kleefisch campaign wants to hide the second half of their ticket is quite intriguing. They know that Kleefisch's views might strike a chord with many moderate voters, and most mainstream Wisconsinites. Running on those views may sink their campaign in no time.

So the best solution? Make something up...like it's the other guys' faults! The Walker-Kleefisch campaign has said that they wouldn't allow Tom Nelson the opportunity to debate Kleefisch because of the ads the Democrats have been running against the GOP campaign:

According to the campaign, the reason why Kleefisch won't debate Nelson is because..."Nelson and Democratic gubernatorial candidate Tom Barrett are only interested in running away from their records and using false television ads to distort the record of Republican gubernatorial candidate Scott Walker."

That statement is subjective and depends upon how you look at each advertisement. But even if it were factual, wouldn't it make more sense for Kleefisch to embarrass Nelson by confronting him about it in, say...a debate? Wouldn't it behoove Kleefisch to set the record straight in as many public settings as she possibly could, including debates with Nelson? And why, if the Walker-Kleefisch campaign is so adamant against keeping their lieutenant governor nominee from debates, is Walker himself debating Barrett?

Keeping Kleefisch from debating isn't something the GOP is doing on principle -- it's a deliberate move that's meant to keep the extreme conservative from gaining notoriety among the public. Keeping one-half of a gubernatorial ticket from the public's eye is a form of stealth politics, of keeping the people purposely ignorant on who could become Wisconsin's next governor, should Walker be unable to serve his term out if elected.

The people of Wisconsin deserve to hear from the people they're planning to vote for. That's why Rebecca Kleefisch ought to come out from the shadows and show Wisconsin who she truly is -- though it's understandable why Scott Walker doesn't want that to happen.

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