Asking Walker the wrong questions

When Steve Walters was reporting for the Journal Sentinel's Madison bureau, a lot of Democrats thought he just put Tommy Thompson's news releases -- or Jim Klauser's memos -- right in the newspaper, without bothering to edit them or ask anyone for an opposing viewpoint.

So it was a pleasant surprise when Walters, now a producer at Wisconsin Eye and a WisPolitics columnist, said he has a few questions for Scott Walker about his tax cutting plans if he's elected governor.

Unfortunately, Walters is asking the wrong questions:

By “employers,” Scott, do you mean all Wisconsin businesses? (Scott? Sounds a little chummy, ain'a?)

Specifically, will you recommend cutting -- or even abolishing -- the $700 million corporate income tax?

Scott, would you freeze property taxes only on homes, or also on other types of property (manufacturing, commercial, farmland, utilities)?

Interesting questions, perhaps, but irrelevant to a large extent. Walker has already said quite clearly what he wants to do.

Walker takes Neumann's advice

“He [Scott Walker] either has to come up on TV and spend his money to match us or he doesn’t and he allows our message to sink in." -- Mark Neumann to WisPolitics on Monday.

Walker placed a TV buy Tuesday, to start Thursday in every market except Miilwaukee.

And Neumann, who's been on TV already in every market but Milwaukee, starts in that market on Friday.


Surgery on Clean Energy Jobs Bill to make it even more pro-nuclear; could be fatal

The Inside Baseball Report, which may be more than you want to know about this subject:

Rumors are rampant in the Capitol about a new version of the Clean Energy Jobs Act now being prepared for rollout sometime in the next week.

It's being done in private, as usual, so it's impossible to say exactly what will be in the substitute version or omnibus amendment being drafted.

But if you're part of the Carbon Free Nuclear Free coalition that's been fighting against relaxing the laws on new nuclear reactors, this is guaranteed not to be good news.

Pro-nuclear forces do not have a majority in the legislature. On its own merits, the nuclear section of the bill would never pass.

But it is tied to some positive renewable energy policies that many nuclear opponents want to see passed. They seem willing to swallow hard and support the bill, even though they oppose expanding nuclear power.

The bill is in much the same status that the health care bill is in Congress. There are no Republican votes for it, so Democrats must round up enough votes to pass it themselves. With narrow majorities in each house, it only takes two defecting Democrats to derail the bill -- or to get a concession.

Who's killing the Milwaukee County bus system? Not I, lies Scott Walker

Milwaukee bus ridership declined 9% last year to the lowest level in 35 years, the Journal Sentinel reports:

Milwaukee County Executive Scott Walker blamed the economy.

Pointing to high city unemployment, Walker said in a voice-mail message, "If people don't have jobs . . .  it makes it less likely that they're going to be riding the bus to and from work. . . .  We've maintained our routes, and our fares are compatible with other metro systems, and the bottom line is that you've got to get more people working."

David Riemer, Walker's opponent in 2004, said the system was in a death spiral, as service cuts and fare increases result in fewer riders, which hurts revenue, which causes Walker to cut more routes and raise fares again.

Walker is notorious for blaming all of his problems on someone else and never taking responsibility.

He doesn't believe in public transportation; he once said the solution to transportation problems is for everyone to drive a car.

Walker's brown bag full of baloney

Bad timing for Scott Walker's latest gimmick, a brown bag campaign to highlight what a frugal guy he is. 

Walker says he'll be holding brown bag lunches with regular folks all across Wisconsin to hear what's on their minds and talk about his campaign.

 However, if you want to be part of the  roundtable discussion with Jeb Bush and Walker at the Pfister Hotel this afternoon, it's cost you $5,000. For that you get a photo, too -- and Walker might actually listen to you.

Tonight's real brown bagger will be a $10 event sponsored by the Democratic Party at Ouzo Cafe.

UPDATE: The Democratic Party has launched a new website,

"Newly aggressive" Barrett is just what the campaign doctor ordered

Anyone who's been subjected to my two-minute drill on the fine art of political campaigns and message has heard this: Campaigns are all about drawing distinctions.

Voters ultimately have to choose between candidates. A candidate's job is to make it clear what the differences are, to give people a reason to vote for him/her instead of someone else.

It's that simple. But it seems to be very hard for many candidates to execute.

All too often, the candidate's "message" -- which is nothing more than telling people why they should vote for you -- is something another candidate could also say.

Mark Neumann's for jobs. Tom Barrett's for jobs, jobs, jobs, jobs, jobs. Scott Walker's for even more jobs. So if you think jobs is the issue, who you gonna vote for? You need to hear some distinctions.

So I welcome the "newly aggressive" Tom Barrett who showed up this week on the stump, as described by the Journal Sentinel:

In his most pointed comments to date in his race for governor, Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett contrasted the city's help in turning around the Menomonee Valley with Milwaukee County Executive Scott Walker's handling of the vacant county-owned Park East Corridor.

Where Is Wisconsin on The Occupation

With the notable exception of Rep. Gwen Moore (D-Milwaukee), one wonders if the Democratic members of the Wisconsin congressional delegation care much for the plight of the Palestinians. Are they human?

The Occupation - Written and performed by Johnny Punish in honor of Rachel Corrie (April 10, 1979 - March 16, 2003), human rights activist murdered in cold blood by the state of Israel. Why?

THE OCCUPATION - Palestine Oppression - Johnny Punish

Shocking new poll results: Political TV advertising doesn't work

Rasmussen Reports, under fire for some questionable poll numbers that keep showing Republicans doing too well, insists its methodology is fine when it comes to measuring favorability and unfavoraability of candidates -- which also are a measurement of name recognition. Here's something we overlooked in their Feb. 18 poll:

The poll was done on Feb. 17. We have no idea who paid for it, which makes it even a little more suspect. But, be that as it may, here's the thing:

On Feb. 17, Rassmussen asked favorable/unfavorable ratings on the two Republican candidates for US Senate (the two who are actually running, not the guy supposedly thinking about it. They found that Terrence Wall's favorable-unfavorable numbers were 34-35, with 31% having no opinion.

The numbers for David Westlake, the other GOP candidate, were almost identical, and within the margin of error, at 33-31, with 36% having no opinion.

But Wall had been on statewide television for nine days before the survey was taken. And Westlake, who's an unknown who has not run any television, is equal with him?  Not likely.  TV doesn't necessarily work miracles overnight, but there should be a measurable difference, especially when one candidate's the only one on the air.

So: Hold page one, we've got a scoop buried in the numbers. Political television advertising doesn't work.

Wait'll that gets around. Candidates will be back to making speeches on the street corner, like Fighting Bob LaFollette (pictured) used to do. And campaigns will be really cheap.


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