So GOP gubernatorial candidate Mark Neumann just released a press release bragging that he has been “strongly endorsed” by Republican U.S. Senator Tom Coburn of Oklahoma.
I’ve always been skeptical of endorsements to begin with. I don’t think they mean anything, especially when they come from a politician from another state. If Tom Coburn walked up to the front door of any house in Wisconsin wearing a name tag that said “Tom Coburn,” the homeowner would hand him a plumber’s wrench and tell him to get to work fixing the toilet.
Furthermore, this may not be all that helpful to Neumann, since one of the knocks against him is that he’s only held a federal office. He’s running to be our governor now – and what that has to do with Tom Coburn of Oklahoma is anyone’s guess.
But I’m more enthralled by the idea that now a mere endorsement simply isn’t enough. Now, you have to be strongly endorsed. Exactly what makes a STRONG endorsement different than a regular one? Did Tom Coburn yell his endorsement really loudly? Did he interrupt a delicious meal in order to make the endorsement? How does one measure such a thing?
So here’s my idea:
In order to make sure we’re not just overstating these endorsements, there should be a way we can get politicians to actually PROVE how “strongly” they feel about other candidates or their own legislation. We set up a TV show on C-Span or WisconsinEye that tests how far politicians are willing to go to prove the intensity of their political will.
For instance, we would only allow politicians to say they “strongly” endorse someone else if they are willing to eat a plate of cow brains. Do you have a congressperson who says they “intensely” oppose cap and trade? Well let’s see if their opposition is intense enough to eat this bowl of centipedes. Would Tom Coburn say he “strongly” endorses Mark Neumann if he had to prove it by running through the Wisconsin capitol wearing a Mark Neumann Speedo? We should find out.
Otherwise, words are just words. Let’s see who’s willing to back them up.