I should mention that over the weekend, I somehow found myself at the Wisconsin Democratic convention here in Madison. I was in the neighborhood, and a couple Dem friends of mine invited me over – so I joined them. And I have to say, the convention attendees couldn’t have been kinder or more hospitable.
A couple of quick notes: the best hospitality room by far was that of Lieutenant Governor candidate Henry Sanders, who had a great local soul/funk band that got the crowd moving. The next day, the relatively unknown Sanders hammered Assembly Majority Leader Tom Nelson in the Wispolitics.com Lt. Gov straw poll, beating Nelson 326 to 167 – and I fully credit his hospitality room band’s Snoop Dogg medley with his strong showing.
I also ran into State Senator Julie Lassa, who, of course, is running for Congressman Dave Obey’s old seat. She immediately remembered a post I wrote five years ago* where I declared her the frontrunner for Obey’s seat when he retired, which made me look pretty good. Unfortunately, there were other portions of that old post on Lassa that I would like to forget, as there are observations in there about her that one should only say when they’re an anonymous blogger (as I was at the time.) So when I go back to blogging anonymously, I’ll keep that in mind.
Anyway, in the spirit of bringing people together, I want to point out an instance over the weekend in which the chairman of the Democratic Party of Wisconsin, Mike Tate, actually made a good point. Tate appeared on the “Up Front With Mike Gousha” television program over the weekend and answered some questions about Democratic candidates in Wisconsin. Gousha asked Tate about congressional candidates Ron Kind and Steve Kagen, and Tate’s answer was enlightening (video here):
GOUSHA: So you think Congressman Ron Kind in the Western part of Wisconsin or Congressman Steve Kagen in Northeastern Wisconsin – you think they’re safe?
TATE (After answering about Kind): Steve Kagen, I think that what’s beneficial to him is that there’s seven or eight Republicans running against him in the primary. He’s been a strong voice for the people of that district, he voted against bailouts, he voted for job creation, and he’s going to run hard on his record.
So in case you’re scoring at home, according to Dem Chairman Mike Tate, being a “strong voice” for your constituents means voting against the TARP bank bailout. (Kagen did vote against TARP, after voting for it on a procedural vote. Kagen also voted for the “stimulus” bill and the health care bill, which may end up proving to be even more politically toxic.)
So, according to Mike Tate, examples of elected officials who failed to be a “strong voice” for their constituents:
Of course, all of these Democratic members of Congress voted for “bailouts.” (Along with some notable Republicans.) And Mike Tate is right – their votes to bail out the misguided CEOs of Wall Street, who brought down the U.S. economy by pushing subprime mortgages, is appalling. Good to see him come to his senses.
* SIDE NOTE: In the post I wrote five years ago, I tried to pick the “Five Best Democrats in Wisconsin.” Not necessarily the ones I agreed with the most, but the ones that, if I were a liberal, I would want speaking on my behalf. In retrospect, some of my picks are still pretty decent, but some are really lame.