Sunday, September 1, 2013

Democratic infighting over Mary Burke is overblown

Leftists and moderates should focus on the bigger picture, and not quibble over the party's methods

To Burke, or not to Burke. That is the question.

Well, not really. No one is being forced to support Mary Burke as a candidate for governor at this point, and any notions that suggest otherwise are overblown accounts of what the Democratic Party of Wisconsin is really doing.

The infighting among Democrats in Wisconsin about Mary Burke has less to do with her policy positions and more to do with how she’s becoming a candidate.

Mary Burke is considering a run for governor
To be sure, there are definitely some party members who find her views to be wrong for them personally, with several going so far as to say that they couldn’t support her candidacy were she the eventual nominee for the party.

While they may say that now, it’s hard to imagine any Democrats, who are so ardently against current Gov. Scott Walker, sitting on their hands in 2014 if Burke wins the nomination. She may have some moderate viewpoints, but her overall character far surpasses the current governor’s extreme tone, and she’d be a much more preferable option to these holdouts than another four years of Walker.

The real criticism of Burke as a potential candidate, however, is not what she’s said or done, but rather what actions the party has taken in supposedly propping her up as a frontrunner.

Some have described Burke’s interactions with party insiders as “back door dealings,” bringing forth disturbing imagery of smoke-filled rooms and party bosses strategizing ways to keep her the frontrunner and edging out all other possible contenders.

Whether or not one agrees with Burke as a candidate, this description of her is not wholly correct. While it may seem like the party is trying to accommodate Burke more so than any other potential candidates, the reality is that Burke is the most serious person considering a run at this time.

Until another candidate steps forward, making their potential candidacy understood as clearly as Burke has, the actions of the Democratic Party of Wisconsin shouldn’t be construed as preferential treatment.

The leftists and the moderates in the party need to reconcile their differences. Starting such infighting so early, over the idea that the party is allegedly pushing one candidate more than any other, shouldn’t deter the overall goal of ousting Scott Walker from office.

If there’s a primary, Burke will have to win it; if there isn’t, it won’t be due to the party preventing one from happening.

Anyone who is a Democrat can run for the nomination, and the DPW can’t stop candidates from forcing Burke (or anyone else) from facing challengers before the general election.

Let’s end the infighting, stop with the conspiracy theories, and focus on the issues that matter more than anything else: where Burke or other candidates stand, where the party stands, and whether each potential nominee would be a suitable fit for office accordingly.

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