Badger Blog Alliance

Sic Semper Tyrannis

Monday, September 03, 2007

Wake Me When the Dems Admit They've Lost

Amazing what one election will do huh?

Oh, I'm sure you're thinking of 2006 aren't you? I mean it was 2006 that gave the Democrats the State Senate, that kept Doyle in the Governor's Mansion, and made Mike Tate more than a just guy with a .000 political batting average.

(In reality, Tate is still a guy with a .000 political batting average, but was wise enough to flip an issue tailored to Republican's advantage against them by getting college kids out to vote in an off-year election. Now he's just hoping no one asks him how ACT did its accounting in 2004 here in Wisconsin.)

The GOP got its head handed to it in 2006, gosh darnit, and they are paying for it no doubt.
Too bad the Democrats are still kicking themselves for 2004.

"What?" You say. That was a political lifetime ago. And besides, Democrats won Wisconsin in 2004.

Oh did they?

In actually, while the state's electoral votes went to John Kerry and Russ Feingold was re-elected, the GOP gained seats in the State Legislature. A net gain of one in the Assembly, and a gain of one in the State Senate.

It's the second one that's having the ramifications now. Because the loss of the 32nd State Senate District - the Greater La Crosse area - the Senate Democrats went from having the usually competent Jon Erpenbach of Middleton, Chuck Chvala's true heir, as their leader, to Beloit's Judy Robson.

For lack of a better term; Robson is an idiot. Heck, she's not just an idiot, she's a horrible strategist, a lousy negotiator, and a border-line crack pot.

Oh, she's a nurse too.

Having Robson leading these negotiations over Erpenbach is a godsend to legislative Republicans. Erpanbach's history is in sales (Reality) and he can B.S. with the best of them. It seems the only thing he can't sell is the idea of Retirement to Jim Doyle.

Looking at all this from D.C., it seems a lot of things are going on. The first is Robson's and Erpenbach's money (literally their own money) was poorly spent. The idea that "Healthy Wisconsin" is a political winner for them is poor math. They gleefully keep slapping it down on the table thinking they're putting Mike Huebsch and Scott Fitzgerald in a corner; when all they get in return is blank stares.

Already the writing is on the wall that they've over-played their hand on this one. Their lack of a serious committee hearing and debate on the plan shows it was poorly thought out and muscled through their caucus. They've let it drift in the wind defending "the principle" while the details have been teared apart one by one by Republicans, the media, and conservative think tanks. Finally, they drafted a plan they had to have known the Governor wasn't on board with, but kept pushing it anyway.

What they're left with is an anchor they themselves have placed on the budget conference. One so big, it doesn't just wear down the process; it's left them politically boxed in between having to kill Healthy Wisconsin themselves (something a well-read liberal blogger's now urged). Or even worse; they force their own governor to veto it out of the budget, thus facing the wrath of his own party's political base.

Hell, if nothing, the always reliable liberal barometer that is One Wisconsin Now quit urging for socialized health care on a regular basis last week should say something. All the "Healthy Wisconsin" train has tied left to it are the Alliance of Cities and the diehards like Jack Lohman and the bill's authors.

One only wonders what going on behind closed caucus doors?

Secondly, you can't help but laugh at the countless political opportunities Doyle and the usual flock of patrons at the public trough are handing Democratic conference members to only see Robson fumble the ball over and over again.

Take for example this past week. Doyle spends taxpayer resources flying from metro-center to metro-center posing for holy pictures with local superintendents and demands the budget passed so his trump card - K-12 education - gets money. Robson responds by opening up the next budget conference session with...renewable energy investment.

When asked by the other side about its K-12 plan, the Democrats say "it's being work out." Yeah, behind the scenes. To add another insult to Robson's political IQ; a subset of rogue Republicans are saying "Just pass the school money seperately," giving the impression that members of the party usually charged with trying to burn down schools cares more this time around while Democrats care more about a universal health care plan than the state's school kids.

Opportunity given; opportunity wasted.

Of course, Doyle's own little stunt with the Medicaid monies is nothing new. The only thing that differs this time around is he got caught before any real voting occured.

Expect more scare tactics with a willingly media passing them on to everyone.

Finally, what's going to make this upcoming defeat; and it will be a defeat since it's Democratic demands for a $15 billion program that's really slowing things down, so striking is that it appears from the outside Wisconsin Democrats hold all the cards. They have the Governor's office, the State Senate, the media rooting for passage of something and soon, the usual lot of advocacy and liberal groups demanding more money with their own press machines, and most powerfully -- the potential threat of an Assembly takeover next year.

All of these should be a hand of five aces. Instead, all they've shown so far, is a hand of five jokers.