Politics Wednesday and some old stuff…
So, I missed a big Barrett fundraiser Monday, which featured a lot of luminaries from Dave Obey on down. I should have gone and I had simply failed to put it into the calendar. On the bright side, I got a full report on it from the person who escaped with a heavy load of leftover craft beer from Red Eye Brewing Company after I agreed to help try to drink it down a bit. Happily, it wasn’t one of their most potent offerings, which can produce hallucinations beginning as quickly as after the second round or so.
Julie Lassa’s campaign for the 7th U.S. Congressional seat held by Dave Obey had a poorly orchestrated rollout and very little has been seen of it since. One party insider suggested to me that perhaps Lassa has been off to some kind of candidate preparatory program with the Dems congressional campaign committee. Maybe – but she’s not the only one who might benefit from some training in proper positioning. I like Julie Lassa, but I’m still waiting see something that tells me this candidacy is going to have some real legs. Failing to do a media market tour with the announcement wasn’t just non-traditional, but a mistake. Maintaining a pretty much content-free website weeks into the game tells me that there are a whole lot of people who have a whole lot to pull together in very little time if her candidacy is going to be credible.
After Democratic Party of Wisconsin Chair Mike Tate chided Republican Sean Duffy for securing an out-of-state campaign manager in a press release, it now looks like Lassa’s campaign may do the same. I don’t have a problem with that at all – but you can’t put an opponent down with something you’re doing yourself and maintain a modicum of intellectual honesty. Here’s the Republican Party of Wisconsin’s press release and I give them points for jumping all over the poorly thrown hanging curveball from Tate for a base hit — even though it took a couple of months for the pitch to make it from the mound to the strike zone:
I HAD to ask Kevin Hermening if he was kicking himself about announcing to run against Sen. Russ Decker in the 29th State Senate district, only to later find out that Dave Obey is retiring and leaving an open seat race for the 7th U.S. Congressional district. He says no. With too many pans in the fire between the family and the business, the state senate race is all he wants to take on and frankly, he’s not overly-confident of even getting past the primary to have a shot at Decker. I think he should be able to do that, but anything can happen in low turnout primaries. Ron Johnson already appears to own the GOP nomination for the U.S. Senate race against Russ Feingold so a fellow like Hermening really needs Neumann to stay in the race on the guv side right up until the September primary to get the elephants out to the polls.
Speaking of state races, Chuck Eno announced his GOP candidacy to run against State Rep. Donna Seidel in the 85th. The announcement release was pretty decent, citing a lot of Chamber of Commerce and MCDEVCO work. The problem is that I’ve been hanging around the Chamber since 1981 and I don’t know this guy. Neither do a lot of other people who have been involved for a long time, so I think we’re reaching back to the 1970s, at least. It would be sort of like me running on my military record or something. Eno had a letter to the editor a few weeks ago which would probably appeal to the religious right, but at this point when I hear the name Eno, I’m still waiting to hear “Toivo”. (This comes from a long tradition of jokes in the Upper Peninsula about a mythical pair of Finnish guys – sort of the like Ole & Lena Norwegian jokes in Minnesota.) When you Google him up, you don’t find much beyond the announcement so a lot of his activity must have been taking place before Al Gore invented the Internet.
Speaking of Al, he and Tipper are apparently splitting up after 40 years. This, of course, brought back memories of “The Kiss” at the 2000 Democratic National Convention a decade ago and it was replayed countless times last week. What’s interesting about it is that Al Gore is known mostly for being a guy with all of the podium presence of a cigar store Indian. This is not completely fair. (I want to stand up with cigar store Indians all across this country.)
In the 1988 presidential campaign on a nasty spring day that felt more like late winter, a couple of us stood behind the platform in the parking lot over by Burger King on Jefferson Street with a pocket full of campaign buttons. (Bored pols do weird things to entertain themselves.) Four Democratic presidential candidates rolled up in succession; Michael Dukakis, Dick Gephardt, Paul Simon and Al Gore. They would emerge from their limousines and we would shake their hands, wearing their buttons as they went up to the stage. Then we’d quickly change buttons as the next candidate pulled up to repeat the process. (I was focused on the U.S. Senate campaign of Tony Earl, which Herb Kohl eventually won to begin his career on The Hill.)
Anyway, Al was as good as any of them. Of course, none of them were good enough to win in November. Reagan’s veep, George H. “Read My Lips” Bush, eventually won his single term in the White House. (Michael Dukakis actually lost to Willie Horton, a guy serving a life sentence in a Massachusetts prison who was let out on a weekend furlough and committed a rape. There was also that ridiculous video of Mike driving a tank…) But I digress. No John Edwards story or anything like that for Al, just yet – but you can bet the National Enquirer is on it.