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Category “2012 Wisconsin Senate Race”

Quote of the Day

Wisconsin junior Sen. Tammy Baldwin (D-Madison) to Politico on why she avoids the press.

I hired a communication director for a reason,” Baldwin said, only after trying to evade a reporter twice by talking to a staffer and just before hopping on a subway car to whisk her away from the crowd of media. “It’s just like in signing on to bills, I have legislative staff because I expect them to advise me.”

Is “I hired a communication director for a reason,” the new “Would you like me to re-read you my statement?”

Well, she’s been in a cocoon created by the Madison-area press which has gushed over her since her state legislative days.  How else was she supposed to act when faced with real questions about public policy?

I mean, it’s not like she faced any of that during her election to the Senate in last year’s campaign?

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This Means Tammy’s a “No” on Rice, Right?

There’s good oppo, and then there’s good oppo which comes back to bite you in the ass politically.

We’re about to see the latter.

The Washington Free Beacon reports that likely Secretary of State Designate and current U.S Ambassador to the United Nations Susan Rice has substantial investments in companies that deal with Iran. As we well know from the just completed U.S. Senate race here in Wisconsin, our newest junior Senator has some (apparent) major league issues with those who have investments in companies that do business with Iran.

Rice has the highest net worth of executive branch members, with a fortune estimated between $24 to $44 million, according to the Center for Responsive Politics. A Free Beacon analysis of Rice’s portfolio shows thousands of dollars invested in at least three separate companies cited by lawmakers on Capitol Hill for doing business in Iran’s oil and gas sector.

The revelation of these investments could pose a problem for Rice if she is tapped by President Barack Obama to replace Clinton. Among the responsibilities of the next secretary of state will be a showdown with Iran over its nuclear enrichment program.

“That Susan Rice invested in companies doing business in Iran shows either the Obama administration’s lack of seriousness regarding Iran or Rice’s own immorality,” said Michael Rubin, a former Pentagon adviser on Iran and Iraq. “Either way, her actions undercut her ability to demand our allies unity on Iran.”

The companies in question appear to have conducted business with Tehran well after Western governments began to urge divestment from the rogue nation, which has continued to enrich uranium near levels needed to build a nuclear bomb.

Financial disclosures reveal that Rice has had $50,001-$100,000 in Royal Dutch Shell, a longtime purchaser of Iranian crude oil.

Royal Dutch Shell currently owes Iran nearly $1 billion in back payments for crude oil that it purchased before Western economic sanctions crippled Tehran’s ability to process oil payments, Reuters reported.

For comparison, yes, Royal Dutch Shell was one of the seven firms the Tammy Baldwin campaign for Senate when apoplectic on against Tommy Thompson for holding. However, Tommy held on $17,000, which is anywhere from three to six times fewer than what Rice appears to be hold.

Hell, the entire former Thompson Iranian portfolio (just under $50,000) was less than Rice’s Royal Dutch Shell holdings alone.

So, of course comes the obvious question to Baldwin: IF Iranian investments were bad when Tommy did it, how is it different when the potential next Secretary of State is doing it? And if so, does that mean you will vote against her confirmation if the President nominates her?

I’m sure Dan Bice will jump right on that one…

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Cartoon of the Day

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A Sign of How State Senate Races are Going?

Possibly, or it’s just a jump in salary?

Only time and the ballot box in November will tell.

The Milwaukee County Board’s new lobbyist is Jamie Kuhn, a legislative assistant at the state Capitol for 12 years.

Kuhn takes the job of director of intergovernmental relations, a post that has been vacant for more than three months following the retirement of Roy de la Rosa from the position.

“Jamie brings exceptional insights and invaluable relationships from her experience in state government that will benefit Milwaukee County and translate into real results,” County Board Chairwoman Marina Dimitrijevic said Monday.

Kuhn will be paid about $88,000 in her county job.

Kuhn was chief of staff to state Senate Majority Leader Mark Miller (D-Monona). She worked on his staff since 2000.

Traditionally, when you’re the top staffer of a legislative body, you like being the top staffer of a legislative body.  With it comes power, respect, and all the other “perks” of the job.

You don’t leave unless you’re either bored or trying to cash in all the power you’ve accumulated.  That traditionally means the lobbyist route.  Another reason folks leave is that they think they’re about to be ousted from power.

Is that what’s happening here?  Is Kuhn abandoning ship because that 17-16 majority she leads is about to disappear?

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White House Signals Baldwin Campaign Already D.O.A

In a word: OUCH.

At a press briefing on Thursday in Washington, D.C., Jay Carney, President Barack Obama’s press secretary, was asked if the president planned on campaigning for Tammy Baldwin.

Baldwin is a Democrat congresswoman now running for the U.S. Senate seat held by U.S. Sen. Herb Kohl (D-Wis.). If elected, she would be the first openly gay person elected to the Senate.

Here was Carney’s answer:

“I have no campaign announcements, scheduling announcements to make on behalf of the president. The president himself has an election, as you know, in a few short months. But I have no campaign announcements to make.”

Carney was then asked if he had anything to say about the significance of Baldwin’s candidacy.

Said Carney: “Well, I think it is very significant. I think that what is most significant is that someone qualified, like Ms. Baldwin, is running for that office and would make an excellent senator if elected.”

TRANSLATION:  Um…we haven’t had the President visit Wisconsin in 190 days (and counting).  Do you really want us to go into a situation where the President is connected to a likely loser?  Hey, we know the gay groups and the gay money wants a Baldwin win, but look at the polling.  She’s done for.

Meanwhile, “Con Art Critic” over at Ace of Spades has already called it for Tommy.  It’s a tad early to do that in my opinion.

I would have waiting until the middle of September.

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CBSNews/NYT/QC Poll – Tommy over Tammy by 6

It’s on page 4, and the headline being generated in “Obama leads Romney by only 2 in Wisconsin, Welcome to Swing State Status,” but another day, another poll showing the former governor leading the Madison congresswoman.

Here’s a screen grab, shrunken to fit:

As you can see, this is post-primary bounce, but it fits into the zone of other Dem-leaning polling outfit numbers.  I’m told this poll has a +4 D tilt, which frankly isn’t the Wisconsin voting public anymore.

Pollsters really need to start basing their measurements on 2000 and 2004 again when doing Wisconsin.  2008 was the anomaly.

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Today’s #Headdesk Moment of the Day…

…Is brought to us by two individuals.  John Kraus, long-time Democratic campaign communications flack and Charles Franklin, UW-Madison political scientist and polling expert now at Marquette University Law School as a visiting scholar.

In a press release on Friday meant to discredit the 11 point lead Rasmussen had given former Gov. Tommy Thompson, Kraus unleashed a hilarious and unhinged screed against the pollster who once upon a time with his dad helped start ESPN. (Look it up.)

As part of that screed, Kraus found lengthy quotes from folks like Nate Silver, a smear job on Rasmussen from the Washington Post printed in 2010, and a host of others.  One of those “others” quoted is Prof. Charles Franklin, as so:

Political Scientist: Rasmussen Produces Republican Results. Reported Politico, “He polls less favorably for Democrats, and that’s why he’s become a lightning rod,” said Charles Franklin, a University of Wisconsin political scientist who studies polling. “It’s clear that his results are typically more Republican than the other person’s results.” [Politico, 1/2/10]

Pollster.com: Rasmussen Most Favorable McCain Pollster in 2008. According to a 2008 Pollster.com article by Charles Franklin, “The poll most favorable to McCain is Rasmussen’s Tracking poll at just less than -3 points.” [Pollster.com, 8/24/08]

Fast forward to today, when Franklin himself released his own poll on the state’s U.S. Senate match-up.  His findings — a 9 point lead for Tommy Thompson.

Marquette University Law School today released a poll conducted August 16-19, which demonstrates Thompson leads Baldwin by 10 points with registered voters. The poll findings in a head-to-head matchup:


Thompson 50
Baldwin 40


Thompson 50
Baldwin 49

That makes Franklin’s findings in-line with Rasmussen’s by a point or two in the statistical noise.  Only Dem-leaning PPP makes it even “close,” and that’s with Thompson with a 5-point lead.

So after all that noise and more polling proving Thompson is  up early (and by a big margin), the Baldwin folks didn’t bother to release a statement on the Marquette Law poll.

Maybe they’re going to let DPW attack Franklin again, since it worked so well the last time.

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Cartoon of the Day

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Doing Tammy’s Job For Her

Joe, Darrin, and Chad ought to be proud of themselves.

While they’ve cased the landscape with nuclear mushroom clouds as far as ad-weary Wisconsin voters can see on their television sets and radios, all Tammy Baldwin’s had to do is run ads about her grandparents and how she seems completely inocculous, when in fact she’s one of the most liberal, socialist-leaning representatives this state has ever sent to Congress.

But hey…eyes on the prize, right guys?

With Republicans engaged in a bitter primary fight, Democratic Congresswoman Tammy Baldwin has a lead over all her potential GOP rivals in Wisconsin’s U.S. Senate race.

The latest Rasmussen Reports telephone survey of Likely Wisconsin Voters shows Baldwin receiving 45% to 48% of the vote regardless of which Republican she is matched against. She leads by margins ranging from three to ten points.

The most competitive Republican at the moment is Eric Hovde, a wealthy political newcomer who has been advertising heavily in his primary battle. He trails Baldwin by just three points (45% to 42%). Former GOP Congressman Mark Neumann trails by six (48% to 42%), former Governor Tommy Thompson is seven points behind Baldwin (48% to 41%). The weakest showing comes from Wisconsin State Assembly Speaker Jeff Fitzgerald who is behind by double digits (47% to 37%).

This poll also takes away the one talking point Team Tommy had going for it apparently — the one they could trounce Tammy with ease — that’s a lot of damage inflicted, self or otherwise.

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The Senate Endorsement Vote Post-Mortem

Alright, the vote was held. No one got the endorsement and a jerk-wad French Horn player from out of state who wasn’t there put his two cents in because he can’t help himself.

Good to know.

Here’s my take on things as they stand.

Winner – Jeff Fitzgerald

A couple of weeks ago, the talk was his campaign was looking for a way to bow out gracefully due to its anemic fund raising.  The “win” in the final round of the endorsement vote will add some much-needed life to the campaign.  Hopefully he makes the best of it.

Going in, the smart money was on Fitzgerald going out first.  The turning point was his speech.

“Fitz” captured the room when he told the story of the first weekend of the Capitol Siege. There, he told the crowd his biggest sense of unease wasn’t the protesters, wasn’t the chanting, and wasn’t even the death threats.  To him, it was the weekend just after the 14 state senators fled to Illinois and he let his caucus go home for that weekend knowing he had the votes on Friday to pass Act 10, but wasn’t sure they’d still be there when they came back on Monday or Tuesday.

He said something akin to “I had no idea if what was surrounding us in Madison was going to be awaiting for them back home; outside their homes, their places of business and so on.  It was you who gave them the strength of their convictions.  You who told them to stand firm.  You who conferred to them they were doing the right thing.”

That vote was as much yours, as it was theirs.”

After that, he had the assembled crowd and the undecideds.

Christian Schneider of NRO / WPRI and I both believed during the tabulation of the 1st ballot that Fitz’s speech got him a spot in the 2nd ballot.  Little did we think it would get him past Tommy in the 1st ballot and put him squarely in the driver’s seat on deciding who was driving  the “Not-Tommy / Not-Neumann” car to a no endorsement vote.

Minor Winner — Tommy Thompson

This is long game, but a more viable Fitzgerald gives steam to the regular conventional wisdom of the overall race — the more non-Tommy candidates in the race, the more that helps Tommy.

It’s just a simple restatement of the race dynamic.

Push – The Endorsement Process

Giving the gaming of the system and behind-the-scenes bull of these events, you want to start saying a “Pox on All Your Houses!” to all these campaigns.  But, I’m sure the state GOP isn’t complaining for the cash for its coffers all those bused in delegates and last-minute attendees.

Minor Loser –  Eric Hovde

Hovde’s speech was a lackluster one which felt more like a college lecture than a convention speech.  He’s new to the game, he’s got time to get re-adjusted and refocused.   Overall it’s a blip on the radar and he’s got more than enough time to recover.

Plus, reality gives them the perfect way to spin what happened — After all, in 2010, the first once bounced in the state convention Lt. Governor’s vote was Rebecca Kleefisch.

Minor Lose to “Danger Ahead” — Tommy Thompson

Was yesterday just a minor bruising of the ego, or the start of the dam bursting on support of his candidacy. Time will tell.

Loser – Waukesha County GOP Chairman Don Taylor

Something tells me the “Dean of County Chairs” will have a lot of explaining to do about why he was constantly sending over 55 to 60% of Waukesha Co. delegates to Mark Neumann.

Big Loser — Mark Neumann

When you try to game the system, you game it to win.  Team Neumann clearly miscalculated that going into the vote thinking they could pick off the undecideds.  Fitzgerald’s speech ended that theory pretty quickly.

Also, the 2nd ballot couldn’t have turned out worse for them, as he only picked up around 200 or so more delegates than he did in the 1st ballot.  This meant his support — bused in or negotiated behind the scenes — was also his ceiling.  I heard some folks say Neumann’s campaign is starting to remind them of Darrow 2004, where his pleading and over-playing to the base got annoying very quick.

Add in how much the base is still peeved at him for 2010, and the margin for error is exceptionally small for Neumann.

Other Losers — Erick Erickson, the Red State Community, and Jim DeMint

When you claim openly and loudly that one guy is cheating, you damn well have the proof.  Erickson’s post reeked of being a misdirection from the Neumann folks (it was, but no one would go on the record to confirm it) to say the Thompson folks were trying to game the system when they clearly were doing it themselves.

Will Erick (who I consider a friend) ever admit doing just that, or admit he was wrong?  Hardly, it’s not good for business at Red State.

Finally, groups like the Club for Growth, Sen. Jim DeMint, Red State, and others out in DC have bought into a dog and pony show by Neumann’s campaign that he’s [quote] the true conservative in the race [unquote] to decide who best to rally folks against Tommy Thompson.  Yesterday’s vote clearly showed they were sold a cheap bill of goods as not only did Neumann (gaming the system) beat Thompson in the endorsement vote, but Fitzgerald did as well in the 1st ballot.

If Fitzgerald plays their cards right, he make some hay trying to break up Neumann’s attempted monopoly in “non-establishment groups” in DC.

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