Thursday, March 30, 2017

Hey WisDems, stop obsessing about money!

I saw that Tim Cullen dropped out of being a candidate for Governor in 2018. It's too bad, because I like Tim and thought Ringside Seat was a very good read.

But Cullen's argument that he couldn't raise enough money, and that's why he's dropping out? That's a pathetic excuse, and whatever consultant hotshot told him that should be fired from all Dem campaigns.

Any Dem lucky enough to win the Dem primary in 2018 will have plenty of money to run against Scott Walker, because there are thousands of Wisconsinites waiting to rally around a candidate and donate. Sure, Walker will have a ton of money (unless he becomes toxic), but any Dem will have enough to compete.

So memo to DPW hacks and prospective candidates- STOP CHASING MONEY! It'll be there, so worry about making Walker be disqualified for a third term.


  1. Speaking political truth to the DPW is like shouting at the cold in January. They do not listen.

  2. The way I read the story, it was that he didn't WANT to spend 3-4 hrs/day dialing for dollars. It sucks, but that's the bare minimum if you want to run for frickin ASSEMBLY in anything but a deep-blue or uncontested seat.
    This should not be news to somebody with Cullen's experience. Feels like he wanted to get out for some other reason (bad poll, he's 73, etc?) and took this as an opportunity to try and make one last point about campaign finance.

    1. That's sad but likely true. And as you mention, Cullen would know that as well as anyone.

      The other option is to run a Bernie Sanders-like barnstorming campaign, and impress people enough to make them want to donate on their own.

      Either way, it seems very odd/lame for Cullen to pull this act.

  3. My observation of Wisconsin Dem politics looks like Cullen wouldn't be much different than what Mary Burke was about. The same money-oriented neoliberal thing where you're told to buy into voting against the GOP (duh!), but not being FOR a progressive agenda.

    Scott Walker described Cullen as being the only "reasonable" Dem, though he "wasn't one of us." Why not find--with the DPW's approval, of course--a real progressive Dem to campaign against Walker in 2018?!

    Yes, there would be plenty of small donations (based on the Sanders model), along with a a big grassroots base to find the interest to have the votes to defeat the GOP opponent.

    This largely depends on what the DPW lets us do at the local level: please help us!

  4. I noticed on the sample ballot that Ziegler is running unopposed for her Supreme Court seat. Looks like we're not even trying anymore.

    A candidate with a little background, a strong personality and a good government platform could win this thing.

    The transportation problem alone should carry some water. Might consider talking about water some too.

    I'm starting to think it's going to take a recession to move this state back to some semblance of balance.

    1. You are correct Jeff. And maybe directly opposing corporatism and corruption isn't a bad plan either, if you're a Dem.

      That in itself should be enough. But yes, a recession in the next 12 months would be the slap in the face for enough rurals to realize "This really isn't working out." Sadly, it seems to take the bad stuff directly affecting some people for them to do the right thing.

      But Dems should be laying the groundwork by pointing out the many economic failures and ways that this selfish defunding is wrecking their community.

  5. WisDems just hired a field staff a year earlier than normal. Pretty sure the staff is paid with money raised, not with good intentions. I wouldn't call them hacks, I call them young field organizers who desperately want to kick Walker out of office and keep Senator Baldwin in office. Yes, we need a great candidate who can fire up the base, but we also live with the reality of Walker's billionaires flooding the airwaves with misleading ads.

    1. That's nice, but 20-something kids only follow orders from the head honchos and the consultants (aka "hacks"). Unless the DPW will change course and use those kids to listen to the people, and learn from it.

      Door knocking won't win in the sticks, nor will it break through the hours of GOPperganda that is drummed out to the sticks. The goal should be to get a message out to the sticks in places where people will notice (i.e, billboards, local radio, EARLY message-based ads). That seems more important for the next 12-15 months to lay the groundwork to the point where lying ads from Koch and Hendricks fall flat as they try to polish the turd of Walker.

      Bottom line- the DPW must stop following the money to develop its message and strategy. A great message and strategy inspires people to give money to support it.

    2. As you know, Jake, I'm generally with you on this. I'm happy to hear that Wisconsin Dems want to get the ball rolling.

      But they don't seem to realize they've been fighting from behind for years when it comes to that message. The Reagan Era mantra of "Government is the problem" stands effectively unchallenged and all by itself closes off huge portions of the voting population to Democrats. The alchemy the Republicans performed in this is frankly amazing - they've built a government on the premise that government itself is toxic. That core assumption needs to be attacked. The LP and RP are simply different shades of the same Dark Ages economic theory where all reward goes to the guy in the castle because he's got the force to back it up. To look at a nation where so many have so little and suggest that the root problem is a lack of competition is laughable; government needs to stop weighting the scales for the people who've already won, but nobody is out there making that point stick.

      The Republican ideology, such as it is, stands alone. That has to change if we're going to run a campaign on something beyond "Vote for us. Republicans stink."

      We've mentioned the phrase "Good Government" a couple times here. There's a good response in that notion for when we get attacked - "I'm not about more government. I'm reaching for good government."

      But then you'd better damn well be able to follow that up with some specific plans.
      - to stabilize funding for transportation
      - to keep filth and lead out of our water
      - to leverage the UW system as an economic engine
      - to direct economic development funds to industries that are actually developing
      - to make people's interactions with the government as easy as possible
      - to empower rather than handicap the watchdogs (steal Trump's drain the swamp then actually do it)
      - to really boost Wisconsin families' income we've got to get out there and make opportunities. We've spent the last 6 years playing not to lose. Courage people - we have to reach for it. Good Government can be an aid in this process. The artisan cheese industry is a good example. The biotech and information technology that have spun out of the UW are good examples. We need to show people that it can and does work.

      I'm murky at best here on Sunday morning, but the struggle is to try and lay in a course of bricks to start building that message. The intellectual structure is out there, but it needs to brought to the people in a way that makes sense and speaks to their needs.

  6. The messaging needs to start NOW. The Guv is bought and owned by his big corporate bosses. (This is throwing the big "union" bosses back at them.) Sen Cullen validated this in saying the race is going to be difficult because The Guv will out raise anyone. The Guv is bought. Next Dems need to pound on "get the money out of politics." In almost every jurisdiction, move to amend passed by over 70%. This is an issue that has wide support.

    1. Well said. It should be part of a central Dem message of "Scott Walker doesn't care about you," and "Scott Walker doesn't work for you."

      Why is this hard for the DPW to figure out, and it needs to be said NOW, before this budget collapses, so the average low-info type knows where to point the finger