Today, Professor of Nothing Mike McCabe of the Wisconsin Democracy Campaign bemoans how the University of Wisconsin System is losing its “Progressive” tradition.  Having already demonstrated his lack of understanding of campaigns, law, and the U.S. Constitution, McCabe is now determined to embarrass himself in another venue – higher education.  One would think that McCabe would lay low after being completely obliterated in public by Wisconsin Supreme Court justice David Prosser, but he seems hell bent on further discrediting himself.

This is actually the first time we’ve heard from McCabe since he declared the U.S. Supreme Court’s campaign finance decision (in Citizens United vs. FEC) to be as bad as the famous Dred Scott decision, which codified segregation in the U.S. for the next 100 years.  Certainly, blacks who were attacked with fire hoses and police dogs during desegregation share a kinship with McCabe, since having to watch a few extra campaign commercials seems to be just as oppressive.  (It is likely that McCabe’s legal expertise led him to invoke Dred Scott merely because it was a case that he had heard of.)

But now, McCabe is chafing because a professor at the UW (Ken Goldstein) has dared to do the unthinkable – he actually has been conducting research that conflicts with the storyline the WDC has been trying to sell to its contributors.  Goldstein has demonstrated that in cases where negative advertising occurs, voters not only know more about the candidates, they actually show up at the polls in greater numbers.  Naturally, McCabe sees this as a threat, since it would mean he’s for less informed voters that vote more infrequently.  (Which, as it turns out, he is.)

Rather than defending his own indefensible positions, McCabe lashes out the only way he knows how – by saying the UW is “as owned as our politicians.”  He says:

But instead of challenging the status quo and engineering new reforms and working with public officials to make those reforms a reality, most of the political scientists on campus are missing in action. Some of the most prominent among them are apologists for the way things are and throw their weight around on behalf of the very forces that have corrupted our politics and sullied Wisconsin’s once-proud reputation.

The UW System has 6,032 professors.  ONE PROFESSOR conducts a study that conflicts with McCabe’s fairy tale, and suddenly the whole system is corrupt?  (Goldstein is likely thankful people think he single-handedly has enough influence to undo 150 years of Progressive tradition at the UW.) Perhaps all the other faculty members should run their rigorous scientific studies by scholar Mike McCabe to determine whether they’re corrupt or not.  (Of course, how “corrupt” you are is 100% proportional to how much you stray from the “Progressive” tradition of the UW – i.e., how conservative you are.  If the UW keeps cranking out liberal studies, then there’s nothing to see, keep moving.  That’s academic rigor for which the UW should strive.)

Of course, nobody knows research like McCabe, whose bogus “reports” would be laughed out of any community college in America.  Maybe next, McCabe can poke his nose into the UW Medical School to start telling them which of their medical research methods are acceptable in the “Progressive” tradition.

Since it’s always fun to take a trip down memory lane, let’s take a look at some of McCabe’s greatest hits:

  • He bemoans the influence of lobbyists, yet he himself is a registered lobbyist.
  • He complains about how organizations that don’t disclose their funding sources attempt to change state law, yet he doesn’t disclose his own donors, and travels around the state in favor of things like single payer health care.
  • He complains about the negativity in campaign advertising, yet openly dreams about poisoning Wisconsin Supreme Court justices.
  • He believes there’s too much money in campaigns, until there’s not enough money, since nobody will know who the candidates are.

This is just a small sampling of the WDC’s incomprehensible recent history.  I’m sure UW professors, who mostly have Ph.Ds, enjoy being lectured on research ethics by a failed former Assembly candidate who will take any position that fits his storyline at any given time.