Saw JFK at the UW Fieldhouse in 1960 but he was a candidate, not yet elected. Made quite an impression on the young Squire. Shook hands with Nixon. Touched Ronald Reagan (somewhat inappropriately - I stepped on his shoe.) Saw both Bushes in the flesh. So, your faithful blogger is considering witnessing a little history when President Barack Obama visits Madison Tuesday afternoon. I hate crowds but (snark alert) maybe this won't be one.
Heard UW Prof Charles Franklin saying on WIBA radio that the Obama was having it outside on the UW Library Mall so there could be no invidious comparisons with the drop-off in attendance from the Kohl Center during the 2008 campaign.
Wondering if there will be any counter-protest. The tiny group of UW College Republicans plan to leaflet for Republican candidates. Ben Masel is promoting hemp. (Always cutting edge, that guy.) Signs are prohibited -- on safety grounds, of course.
Again, no Russ Feingold. Tom Barrett will be there. Might Barack Obama be a "stimulus" for his campaign? Or will be become "exhausted of defending him?"
Well, Obama did endorse the socialist Bernie Sanders for senator from Vermont. Comrade Nichols' favorite.
Perhaps the President will have a special word for the Professional Left. Will we hear the Raging Grannies?
How wrong can they get?
Let's hop aboard the way-back machine, Mr. Peabody! Let's turn the dial all the way to five months ago. Proving once again that wish is father to the thought, spinning the Tax Day tea party rally on the grounds of the State Capitol is The Capital Times, April 17, 2010:
Despite the determined efforts of organizers and their supporters to inflate the turnout, the crowd that turned out for the rally at the King Street entrance of the Capitol was no bigger than for last year's tax-season protest. Indeed, it filled a smaller space.
And it did so with a lot less energy.
... the mood was far more subdued this year. Maybe it was because they lost the health care fight. Maybe it was the dawning realization that President Obama's stimulus initiatives might just work.
Yeah, that's it. It's because we lost the health care fight. We're down in the dumps. And that realization, just now dawning, that the stimulus "might just work" has got us majorly bummed. ("It's crazy enough it might just work!")
ObamaCare? Americans hate it by a 52 to 40 percent margin, according to RealClearPolitics. The stimulus? Notice how Obama's proposed $50 billion Son of Stimulus died aborning? Obama's performance? Americans disapprove 51 to 45 percent. Two of the featured speakers at that Capitol tea party were Scott Walker, up 9 percentage points over his Democratic opponent for governor, and Ron Johnson, up 8 percentage points over incumbent U.S. Senator Russ Feingold.
Might, maybe, coulda, woulda, shoulda. In their book, Mad as Hell, Scott Rasmussen and Doug Schoen say:
The Tea Party movement is not a flash in the pan, as many have assumed. Nor is it a movement of racist rednecks and ignorant boobs, as its detractors have crudely suggested. To the contrary, it is an authentic grassroots movement of concerned American citizens demanding to be heard by an out-of-touch political establishment. Their concerns are real and their issues are legitimate. Moreover, the new populism is here to stay and it has already changed our politics for the better.
Democrats fear Midwest meltdown
That is the headline over Politico's story on Sunday.
"There's little doubt that the Midwest is the Democrats' toughest region this year," Democratic pollster Tom Jensen of Public Policy Polling wrote on the firm's website Friday, adding that the firm is also finding an enthusiasm gap of about 10 points down from what existed in 2008.
"If the election was today the party would almost certainly lose the Governorships it holds in Iowa, Wisconsin, Illinois, Michigan, Ohio, and Pennsylvania. It's also more than likely at this point to lose the Senate seats it has in Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, and Indiana, miss out on a once promising pick up opportunity in Ohio, and quite possibly lose their seat in Illinois as well. And there are too many House seats the party could lose in the region to count," Jensen noted.
Trains, buses and automobiles
Joel Kotkin, executive editor of NewGeography.com, details how rail mass transit is not the answer in an article that originally appeared in Forbes magazine.
Despite promises that the $8 billion invested in rail lines over the past two decades would lessen L.A.'s traffic congestion and reshape how Angelenos get to work, the sad reality is that there has been no increase in MTA transit ridership since before the rail expansion began in 1985.
Much of the problem, notes Tom Rubin, a former chief financial officers for the MTA's predecessor agency, stems from the shift of funding priorities to trains from the city's more affordable and flexible bus network. Meanwhile, traffic has gotten worse, with delay hours growing from 44 hours a year in 1982 to 70 hours in 2007.
Sadly, this situation is not unique to Los Angeles. In cities across the country where there have been massive investments in light rail--from the Portland area to Dallas and Charlotte, N.C., and a host of others--the percentage of people taking transit has stagnated or even declined. Nationwide, the percentage of people taking transit to work is now lower than it was in 1980.
The Left professoriate
This explains Obama's choice of the one-party UW campus as the setting.
College professors and administrators are donating heavily in the midterm elections and are overwhelmingly supporting Democrats over Republicans.
An analysis of Federal Election Commission data conducted by the Center for Responsive Politics shows that Democrats have raked in more than $400,000 just from employees of the University of California's network of colleges - 86 percent of all donations from UC employees. The employees of only a few universities - mostly in the South - gave predominantly to Republicans. Didn't I tell you?
For the rest of us
For those dissatisfied with the content provided by the "lamestream media," there's a new on-demand television station and multi-platform network that caters specifically to conservative audiences.
The network will feature a variety of original content. Its first series, "Running," follows Tea Party-backed candidates running for public office. Other shows include "Politics and Poker" -- which is just what it sounds like -- and a sitcom about a fictional Senate campaign. The network will also offer old episodes of William F. Buckley's "Firing Line" and Milton Friedman's "Uncommon Knowledge."
Kelsey Grammer is an investor and public face of the network.
What can I say except God Bless
And good luck! Ed Thompson has pancreatic cancer! Sounds like he is having the Whipple procedure that Steve Jobs had.
"Caught in a disaster? You'd better hope you're wearing the Emergency Bra. Simply unsnap the bright red bra, separate the cups, and slip it over your head -- one cup for you, and one for your friend."
They're working on a male version. What would they use? The only thing I could think ... No, wait! Oh, Noooo-oooo!