Starting to sound familiar?

Neumann was unwilling to be pinned down on where he would like to cut.-- Baraboo news story headlined,"Gubernatorial candidate Neumann seeks reduced state budget"

There's already a $2-billion projected deficit. Neumann has proposed tax breaks for the rich and corporations that would add another $1 billion to the deficit.

And he is "unwilling to be pinned down" about how he'd balance the budget.

Do you think he and Scott Walker can get away with this all the way to the election?

On Balanced Budgets, Or, Hey, Rand, Why Not Show Your Cards Now?

Those who are regular visitors to this space know that I post stories across the country, and to do that I have to follow stories from a number of states.

Because I post at Kentucky’s Hillbilly Report, I’ve been paying particular attention to the Rand Paul campaign, and the news from the Bluegrass State (via “The Rush Limbaugh Show”) is that Paul’s planning to write his own balanced budget proposal for the Federal Government.

But there’s a catch.

He doesn’t plan on doing it until after the election.

Well, now, why in the world would a guy who’s running for office based on his really good ideas want to hold back the best one?

That’s not a bad question, and if we make the effort we can probably figure out the most likely answers.

Klauser declares primary campaign over

The filing deadline for candidates is still a month away, but Big Jim Klauser says the primary election campaign, at least on the Republican side, has gone on long enough.  Calling for Mark Neumann to drop out of the governor's race, Klauser, according to WISN-TV in Milwaukee, explained his reasoning: 

Klauser said voters have had time to decide on a candidate and it's time for Republicans to stop attacking each other.

Actually, even the Republicans haven't had time to decide on a candidate. That's why we have campaigns and elections, not just party conventions and back room deals.

Fighting Bob LaFollette would be outraged. (And he was a Republican, too.)

Meet the new boss, same as the old boss

"When you have a half-dozen people calling themselves tea party candidates, you need to get them in a room, and some of them need to be willing to drop out so the tea party candidate can win. That's one of the frustrating things about this movement: It's supposed to be something other than politics as usual, but some of these folks are only looking out for themselves, and not for the country." -- Judson Phillips, founder of the national group Tea Party Nation, in Washington Post.

Get everybody in a room and pick a candidate? Now that would be a real change from politics as usual.

Walker's lost oppo research book found

If Scott Walker's campaign is wondering where it left its opposition research book on Mark Neumann, I think i can be of help.

Try Deb Jordahl's house.

She's on Neumann's case on a daily basis.  Today, she's busy writing of sins Neumann committed in 1996 -- like telling the truth about the federal deficit under Reagan and Clinton.

It seems likely she's had a little research help.

Folkbum interprets the post.

On deficit, Walker & Neumann have nothing to say

Back in days of old, circa 2002, it came to the attention of Wisconsin citizens and news media that the popular former governor, one Tommy Thompson, who had resigned and gone to Washington, had left a huge state budget deficit behind.

The free-spending Thompson and a Republican-controlled legislature had dug a deep hole. When Gov. Jim Doyle took office in 2003, the state had a $3.2-billion deficit.

During the 2002 campaign, the focus was on the deficit, projected then for $2.8-billion, and what the candidates were going to do to fill the hole, the deepest in state history.

I remember burning the midnight oil to meet a Journal Sentinel deadline for a plan explaining, in detail, how my candidate would solve the problem. The proposals from the candidates were given front page coverage and analyzed and critiqued in editorial and opinion colummns.

On another occasion, in a pre-primary debate between the three Democratic candidates for governor on Wisconsin Public Television, the moderator basically said, "There's a $2.8-billion deficit. What are you going to do about it?" and walked off, leaving Kathleen Falk, Jim Doyle, and Tom Barrett to spend the next hour answering the question.

Contrast that with the 2010 race so far, with a $2-billion deficit projected for the next incoming governor.

The Republican candidates, Scott Walker and Mark Neumann, have proposed to fix things by cutting taxes for corporations and the richest taxpayers, which would cost a billion dollars and increase the deficit, to about $3-billion. What would they do or cut to balance the budget? We don't know and they won't tell.

Walker-Neumann-Bush Tax Cuts for the Wealthy

Beware of campaigns 'leaking' poll numbers

Beware of campaigns bearing polls.

Just when you thought there was nothing more unreliable than a Rasmussen poll, Scott Walker's campaign issues a memo saying Walker's 20 points ahead in the primary. Other private polls have it much closer, almost a dead heat.

Of course, the one-page memo tells nothing else about the poll results, the question that was asked, or even the cross-tabs on the head-to-head it touts.

Let's hope against hope that the news media does not start reporting this sort of unsubstantiated spin from the campaigns themselves.

What Wisconsin needs is a reliable, independent poll done by a media outlet or some other public interest group that has no axe to grind and doesn't favor any candidate. Many other states, from Iowa to California, have them, but Wisconsin is left at the mercy of anyone who can type a press release.

In 20 years of working on campaigns, I can't recall ever leaking or issuing a poll done for the campaign, despite media inquiries.

Turncoat Klauser turns Walker hatchet man

Jim Klauser, the man behind Tommy Thompson's gubernatorial throne back in the glory days, apparently still fancies himself in a the role of kingmaker, although his record this cycle is dismal.

Klauser was an early backer of Mark Neumann for governor, when others in the party were supporting Scott Walker. But Republicans didn't follow Herr Klauser's lead.  After it looked like Walker was building a big lead over Neumann, Klauser left what seemed like a sinking ship and joined Walker's campaign.

Now the tide's flowing the other way. Despite the best efforts of Klauser and the rest of the GOP's establishment, Neumann has pulled even with Walker and has a good chance of winning the nomination.  That old Klauser magic once again appears overrated.

It's too late for Klauser to jump ship again and scurry over to the Neumann campaign. Instead, he's written a curious letter to Neumann urging him to drop out of the race.

What do you think the odds are that Neumann will take that advice? Caesar might have taken some advice from Brutus, but that was before, not after Brutus stabbed him in the back.

Klauser's day has come and gone.

Ron Johnson picks abusers over victims

Ron Johnson, the US Senate candidate without a platform, has almost no record of being an activist on issues, except for a couple of Tea Party speeches.

But the one thing that inspired him to speak up and testify was a bill to extend the statute of llimitations on the sexual abuse of children.

Dan Bice reports that Johnson is not a Catholic but "a big backer" of Catholic schools (his children attended), and was worried about the impact a change in the law could have on other groups who employ child molesters, too, not just the church. Lutheran Johnson was serving at the time on the Green Bay Catholic Diocese's finance council, however.

Compare Johnson's theoretical concerns with the impact that defeat of the bill will have on some real life victims in Wisconsin.

The Child Victims Act (which Johnson testified against, and which died last session) would allow Wisconsin victims of Father Lawrence Murphy to seek justice.

According to the New York Times, “Father Murphy, who died in 1998, admitted to a psychologist hired by the Archdiocese of Milwaukee that he had molested 34 children when he worked at St.

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