Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Poll shows Walker vulnerable, state turning “bluer”

Polling answers suggest a progressive turn for Wisconsin is possible

The latest Marquette Law School poll shows that Gov. Scott Walker is vulnerable.

When matched up against declared candidate Mary Burke, as well as undeclared (but likely) candidate Kathleen Vinehout, the polling suggests that Walker may be in for the political fight of his life come next fall.

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

CORRECTION: Mary Burke stands for many positive changes for Wisconsin

Criticism of "no promises" pledge shortsighted

I have to correct myself on a blog post I made last week.

I stated that the “No promises” pledge made by Democratic candidate for governor Mary Burke was a bad strategy.

I stand by the idea that making no promises during the campaign may be perplexing. But I must correct myself a bit, and admit an error in my reasoning from the original post.

Progressives United backs Mary Burke for governor

More than three-quarters of members responding throw their support behind her

Progressives United, a liberal advocacy group founded by former Democratic Sen. Russ Feingold, has officially backed Mary Burke for the 2014 race for governor.

“She will work tirelessly to restore the progressive traditions of Wisconsin, create good paying jobs for Wisconsinites, and end the nasty politics of division that have become Scott Walker's trademark,” executive director Cole Leystra said.

The endorsement is significant because Burke is considered to be a moderate by the left, and criticized by the right as being “too wealthy” (and thus, out of touch) to run.

Perhaps hoping to quell those accusations, the organization asked its members directly whether they should support Burke or not. According to the group, more than 75 percent said they wanted to back her in 2014, without waiting for a possible primary challenge.

Progressives United’s vision statement reads:

“Realizing a true democracy in which all Americans are fairly represented in a government free of dominance by wealthy individuals or corporate interests.”

Friday, October 18, 2013

"No promises" promise a risky campaign strategy

EDIT: a Correction to this post has been made. Please view the latest I have written on this topic here.

Burke campaign offers few clues on what she'd do as governor

Now that Mary Burke has tossed her hat in the race for governor, her campaign is understandably facing some criticism.

This is to be expected. Every candidate, for every office ever run for, has strategic choices to make. Not everyone is going to agree with those choices, and it creates a debate on how best to win the office for that candidate...or whether that candidate is the right person to run for office in the first place.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Property tax cut not all it's cracked up to be

Proposal fiscally irresponsible, politically motivated, barely helpful

Gov. Scott Walker unveiled a new plan late last week to give property tax cuts to homeowners across the state.

The plan would create $100 million in tax cuts. On its face, it sounds like a pretty large sum of cash. Broken down further, however, and it amounts to less than a tank of gas for property owners over two years’ time.

Taxpayers would receive an average of $13 the first year in breaks, and $20 in the second year. Much of the first year’s savings would be essentially erased, however, due to the fact that property taxes were expected to go up on average $11 for the typical homeowner anyway.

Plans to enact the tax cut would also damage the state’s already troubled economic picture. If these tax cuts and other work training programs are signed into law, the state’s projected shortfall in the next budget would increase by about $180 million.

It's likely that the property tax cut proposed by Gov. Walker is going to garner bipartisan support. Furthermore, any time that the average homeowner can get a relief on their taxes, it’s a good thing.

But let’s not trump this up as anything more than what it is: this is simply irresponsible budgeting and political maneuvering in order for Scott Walker to look good, just days after a challenger to his gubernatorial campaign stepped forward. Being able to say he "cut property taxes" makes for good campaign material, even if the tax cuts he's lauding are particularly dull.

This hastily written bill needs further fiscal consideration, and the Walker administration needs to re-address its priorities, working to help the people of this state rather than preserve or improve the political image of this governor.

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Grading Scott Walker's WaPo editorial

Editorial by Walker misleads and lies to its audience

Gov. Scott Walker recently penned an op-ed to the Washington Post titled, “What Wisconsin can teach Washington.” In it, Walker describes the calamitous state he supposedly inherited, and how he improved things (in his own mind, at least).

I took a look at the article, printed it out in fact so that I could make notes on the sides. What started off as reading material started to resemble a graded assignment from an educator who wasn’t satisfied with their pupil’s work.

And frankly, how can you blame me? The article that Walker wrote is so riddled with misdirections and statements that are flat-out lies that, by the end of my reading, there was more red ink on the page than black.

That’s never a good sign.

So here’s Scott Walker, graded. Enjoy:

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Mary Burke: a remedy for divisive politics?

The qualities that Burke possesses could fix Wisconsin's partisan atmosphere

I just wanted to add my two cents about the announcement of Mary Burke running for governor. As a progressive, I do have some reservations about her ideology. We have yet to hear where she stands on specific policy issues, although that’s something that’s sure to come about in the campaign.

But I am excited about the potential candidate she can become, for a variety of reasons:
  • She’s a businesswoman with strong knowledge on how jobs are actually created (which can defuse a talking point by the Walker administration, who claims to be pro-jobs);

  • She’s had some political experience, but for the most part isn’t too political;

  • She’s willing to listen to every reasonable idea that reaches her, and more importantly, work for compromise;

  • And she possesses a strong desire to help those who are in need of aid the most.
Those are all qualities that we need in any candidate that stands a chance to win back Wisconsin from Scott Walker (R-Koch Industries). That doesn’t mean we have to be satisfied with Mary Burke, and accept her as the only candidate Democrats have to offer -- indeed, a primary that focuses on the issues and qualities of the candidates, without much mudslinging, could prove to be very beneficial.

But with all of that said, Mary Burke provides a reasonable and desirable replacement for the current governor in office. She’s not only a good candidate for the Democrats -- she’s also a good candidate for Wisconsin, and possibly the remedy we need to bridge a state that has been so heavily divided because of Scott Walker.