Christian Schneider

Author, Columnist

The Gay Marriage “Smoking Gun”

Back in August, we profiled Dan Mielke, who is running against Sean Duffy for the Republican nomination to take on long-time Democratic Congressman Dave Obey in 2010.  When we last left Mielke, he was discussing his qualifications for office:

Mr. Duffy is “more of a polished, celebrity-style politician,” Mr. Mielke said. “I’ve got a beard, and I’ve worked my whole life.”

With the issue of whether Mielke has a beard being settled, he’s now moved on to what he believes to be the “smoking gun” that’s going to take Duffy down: the issue of gay marriage.  Over the weekend, Mielke posted the following video (unironically titled “Sean Duffy Exposed), which purports to be “evidence” that Duffy supports gays settlin’ down:

UPDATE: The original video was removed from YouTube for copyright infringement, as it included video from the original movie.  It has been replaced by this interesting Mielke campaign video, in which he describes the scenes himself:

You need to a flashplayer enabled browser to view this YouTube video

Now you may watch that and say, “that just looks like a guy being supportive of one of his gay friends.”  And I think you’d be right.  It seems to be a stretch to expect people to watch that video and come away with the impression that Duffy is somehow the Adam Lambert of Wisconsin politics.

In fact, Mielke may be accomplishing the opposite of his intention with this video.  He might actually be strengthening Duffy’s position in the general election. (And make no mistake, Duffy is going to win this primary – despite being beardless.)

First of all, it seems that public opinion is going to eventually shift over to being in favor of some sort of legal recognition of same-sex unions.  A recent WPRI poll found:

“42% of people 18 to 35 favored legalizing gay marriage, compared to 24% of 36-to-64-year-olds and 15% of those 65 and older. Civil unions, but not marriage, were favored by 29% in the younger group, 33% in the middle group and 34% in the older group. But 40% of the older group opposed either possibility, compared to 36% of 36-to-64-year-olds and just 28% of adults 35 and younger.”

As the older voters move on and younger voters show up more reliably at the polls, it seems likely that policies will eventually change at is applies to gay marriage.

But even beyond that – Mielke’s message is essentially “Sean Duffy is fair and open-minded.”  And that’s the kind of endorsement that Duffy couldn’t pay enough money for in the general election.  It’s almost as if Mielke is on his payroll.  Maybe Mielke’s next move is to accuse Duffy of being too critical of the failed stimulus plan – or to hammer Duffy for being opposed to higher taxes.  (In a bizarre section of his website, Mielke actually does criticize Duffy’s position on abortion.  Apparently, properly recognizing that Congress can’t just pass a bill making abortion illegal makes Duffy a “RINO.”)

I’ve always thought that this is the next step in competitive campaigns – getting paper candidates to run for office that make the frontrunner look better.  If you’re running a serious campaign, why not pay some guy to run against you and serve as your foil?  It would actually be good practice for Congress, where Representatives spend all night in an empty chamber having fake “debates” with each other for the benefit of the C-Span cameras.  (These usually involve two members of the same party asking each other questions like “Congressman, how is it possible that you can be so insightful about health care?”)

On a final note, I think it’s pretty classless that Mielke would use clips of Duffy’s wife to attack Duffy.  That is all.


  1. And once again, the GOP shows that it can’t be taken seriously. Of all the issues that face us in Washington today, Gay Marriage is the one that is being chosen as the important issue to debate? That is pathetic.

  2. Christian Schneider

    November 30, 2009 at 5:07 pm

    Let’s not get crazy. This is one fringe, virtually unknown candidate trying to use it as a wedge issue against a strong frontrunner. This is hardly evidence of a trend in the national GOP.

  3. The author does spin well for Sean, but generally missed the issue. Mielke is just pointing out a contradiction in Sean’s campaign. Sean says he is against Gay marriage, with 58% of America. However, he puts his time and energy into supporting the gay marriage agenda. Sean is being the typical politician in saying one thing and doing another.

  4. One salient point that Mielke either doesn’t get (because he has bragged for years about not owning a TV) or is lying about is that the movie in question is a *mockumentary*. Anybody who has seen This Is Spinal Tap knows what I am talking about. Also the wedding scene itself was not done in a Church, did not use a real minister or judge and was fake from beginning to end – in other words, no gay wedding even took place.

    Mielke’s guilt by association argument is a bit like saying Kevin Costner hates Native Americans because he shot one in a cowboy movie. The thing is, Duffy played an even more passive role than that. Duffy did not star as the groom, he and his wife Rachel were background ensemble players.

    It’s sad commentary on Mielke’s character that a man who is supposedly an ordained Christian minister has to stoop to attacking Duffy’s wife and distorting the facts about a little-known B-flick in order to promote his failing candidacy.

  5. I read Dan Mielke’s e-mail. It went into my deleted folder so fast, it would make your head spin.

    My conclusion is that since Dan Mielke can’t lay a glove on Dave Obey, he has decided to take the gloves off against his GOP primary opponent. This e-mail is just the latest example of behavior by Mielke, tantamount to political spousal abuse. Historically, scorched earth policies never work out for the betterment of anyone, but Mielke doesn’t care. It’s always all about Dan, nothing else matters.

    Mielke calls himself a Christian. I find nothing Christian about Dan Mielke’s actions during this campaign. Mielke is acting more like an Ayatollah in the Church of Get Dan Elected To Any Public Office.

    Sean Duffy is a practicing attorney that was elected to the office of district attorney. Dan Mielke doesn’t own a TV and lives in a house made of old tires. You can do the math from there, as to who is better suited to represent 600,000+ people in Congress.

  6. I didn’t know pop-culture was that important?

    The video whether 10 years old or 70 years old I think is still a fact why was Sean even in it? I saw some clips of it–fact of fiction its poking fun of traditional marriage.

    Personally I think Duffy is back peddling on the issue and Mielke is just and idiot.

    Let them both fail!


    In his attack against Sean Duffy for appearing in a fictional film, Dan Mielke, a vegetable grower from Rudoplph Wisconsin, has made a fool of the greatest Republican of the 20th Century, Ronald Reagan. President Reagan’s last movie was “The Killers” from 1964 in which he played Jack Browning, a criminal and mastermind of an armored car heist and was seen striking fellow actress Angie Dickinson. Does Dan Mielke believe that Ronald Reagan was unqualified for public office because he appeared in this film? Does Dan Mielke beleive that Ronald Reagan supported violence against women? Does Dan Mileke believe that Ronald Reagan was in fact a criminal?

    I for one am sick and tired of Dan Mielke degrading the greatest Republican President of the 20th Century because of the movies he appeared in.

  8. First, Sean Duffy was not elected first time around as District Attorney. He was appointed by Scott McCallum and has never had an opponent since. Secondly, Dan Mielke is much more that a paper candidate as proven by his campaig against Dave Obey and previous batle at the cunty level. Mielke garnered rougly 40 percent of the vote district wide in a year where Republican candidates got cremed. He does have the qualifications to successfully campaign and one of those is good judgement. Mielke is pointing out the fact that good judgement does count. Duffy may be able to rationalize to some his antics on Real World” as youthful exhuberance but nothing can explain the gay marriage video.

  9. Any Wausau Voter

    December 8, 2009 at 9:03 pm

    98% of the people that voted for Ted “Dan Mielke” Kaczynski in the last election were actually voting AGAINST Dave Obey and NOT for the unabomber. A monkey would have “garnered” 40% of the vote, possibly more.

    “Good judgment?” LMAO. Beyond his initial unappealing qualities, he has a history of poor conduct, failed jobs and lost elections. Reject!

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