Club for Growth of what?

Anyone see anything contradictory or perhaps ironic about an organization calling itself the Club for Growth running radio ads in Racine criticizing local Dems Sen. John Lehman and Rep. Cory Mason for their support of rail projects in southeastern Wisconsin. The ads highlight the high-speed rail line from Milwaukee to Madison and the proposed KRM commuter rail system.

The club is for growth of corporate wealth and growth of bank accounts of the wealthy, but not anything that might actually boost the region's economy. 

Afterthought: It's also for the growth of the number of right-wing Republicans in public office, of course. Or is that too obvious to mention?

Can you say 'arms dealer?'

Neil Shively, retired Capitol bureau chief of the old Milwaukee Sentinel, writes a "Where are they now?" piece for WisPolitics.com every now and then. Recently featured was ex-US Sen. Robert Kasten. Shively treats him kindly:

Bob Kasten is still in Washington, however -- and in New York City, and Egypt and the Middle East. And he's still a major player, though now in the field of defense contracting using lessons he learned in the Senate. Heard of Oshkosh Corp.'s bonanza with billions in defense contracts? Well, Kasten helped stimulate deals for Oshkosh with foreign nations, such as Egypt.

“My business is not so much a lobbying business. When I was in the Senate, I was chairman of the sub-committee on foreign operations, security and economics,” he said, offering the path to his business today. “We (the U.S.) give large numbers of military and economic aid … $1 billion to Egypt, for example.“So I work for U.S. businesses and try to help them sell to Egypt and other countries in the Middle East,” he said.

What does that business sound like to you?

No brown bags at Ruth's Chris

The Associated Press pops Scott Walker's brown bag campaign, reporting on the expensive meals his campaign has paid for while he pretends to carry his lunch.

More on Walker's campaign eating habits.

One more thing: If someone lights one of Walker's brown bags on fire, leaves it on your porch and rings the doorbell, don't stomp on it. You know what it's filled with.

No one wants to build a nuclear plant here? Then why change the law?

The party line from people trying to pass the Clean Energy Jobs Act is that there's no reason to worry about the changes that would make it much easier to build a new nuclear reactor in Wisconsin.

No one wants to do that anytime soon, they say, so it's not a big deal.

Sen. Spencer Black, D-Madison, co-chair the Assembly clean energy committee. "stressed this week that the state only has a de facto moratorium on nuclear power anyway, since new plants could be built if they are deemed cost-effective and are supported by a federally approved site to store nuclear waste," WisPolitics reported. "But Black said reducing those standards won't spark a wave of new plants since Wisconsin's energy production is currently outpacing demand.

"Black added that by investing in energy efficiency, the state could push off the need for more power plants -- nuclear or otherwise -- for decades."

State Sen. Jeff Plale (D-South Milwaukee), co-chair of teh Senate committee working on the bill -- and a nuclear advocate -- also downplays the nuclear changes.

"The likelihood of a nuclear power plant being built in Wisconsin any time soon is virtually nil," he told WisPolitics.

McCoshen leads the Lobbyist Crusade to put one of their own in the Senate

"Is there any group of people held in lower regard than lobbyists? Car salesmen? Journalists? Here's one possibility: Lobbyists who are thinking about becoming politicians."-- Dan Bice column in the Journal Sentinel,Dec. 6, 2007.

Bice was writing about Bill McCoshen, left, but it could have been about Tommy Thompson, who's thinking about coming back through the revolving door to run for office again.

Bill McCoshen's all over the news these days, talking like the unofficial spokesman for the might-be, could-be but maybe-not Tommy Thompson campaign for US Senate.

McCoshen also took time this week to trash the state's (and Democrat Jim Doyle's) record on job creation, in an appearance in Beloit where he relied on data from the conservative (read Republican) Wisconsin Policy Research Institute. "Forward may be the state motto, but it's going backward," McCoshen said. Cute.

Some people watching and reading the news may be wondering just who this McCoshen guy is.

An open secret

527 contributions: Wisconsin donors gave secretive 527 groups more than $1.5 million in 2009, a record for a non-election year. The Wisconsin Democracy Campaign also finds that Dem 527s pulled in about two-thirds of the overall money given to the organizations, continuing a trend that began in 2006.-- WisPolitics report.

Even the Wisconsin Democracy Campaign (WDC) didn't call 527s "secretive," though. Maybe that's because 527s are required to report all of their contributions, which is where the WDC report came from.

Latest from We Prop up Republican Idealogues

Quick early observations on the latest WPRI poll, which -- surprise! -- finds good news for Republicans. Tommy Thompson, who's not running, is winning the Senate race, and Scott Walker, who is running, is ahead for governor, they say.

Since the University of Wisconsin has severed ties with this project, maybe Ken Golstein could team up with the Rasmussen folks and save us having to read this drivel quite so often.

A couple of points to ponder:

-- We've eliminated the question of whether the Journal Sentinel will continue to report this as if it means something. The paper, whose managing editor leans the same was WPRI does, has swallowed it hook, line, and sinker. (WisPolitics at least acknowledged the questions that have been raised about the group's polling.)

-- According to WPRI, it only took a few weeks of mediocre TV spots for Neumann to get ahead of Walker everywhere but Walker's home media market of Milwaukee. No wonder Walker went on the air yesterday -- everywhere but Milwaukee.

-- Bad news for Terrence Wall.

Bloody but unbowed (i.e. shameless), WPRI polls again

Just days from embarrassing national media exposure questioning its ethics and credibility, WPRI is back with another poll, coming your way soon.

WPRI is the Wisconsin Policy Research Institute, although some suggest it is We Push Republican Ideas, like school choice, which didn't look as good in the last poll as the numbers WPRI decided to emphasize made it appear.

WPRI says it's a non-partisan think tank, but its roster is filled with refugees from previous Republican administrations and campaigns, including a lot of Tommy Thompson sycophants -- Jim Klauser, Ave Bie, Gerald Whitburn, Rick Graber, etc. etc.

the new poll, of course, will include questions on the races for governor and US Senate. You might wonder why a non-partisan think tank even cares about politics. Or you might not. You might wonder what the spin will be, and that would be an appropriate question.

Anyway, here's your invitation. See you there?

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