Terrence Wall. Once, I knew him only by the many "T. Wall Properties" signs planted on newly developed parcels of land all across the fair city of Madison. Lately, however, Mr. Wall has focused his ambitions less on breaking ground and more on breaking into politics.
Despite having come in fourth place in his run for a spot on the Maple Bluff Board of Trustees, Wall now believes that he should be able to unseat beloved U.S. Sen. Russ Feingold, the Wisconsin Democrat. And while I don't doubt that there are some in the state who would like to see that very thing happen, I also believe there are far more people who are rather strongly attached to their outspoken, independent-minded representative.
But I can already imagine the counter offensive to this post: By pointing out what I feel are the negative attributes of the Wall campaign, I am merely validating his viability as a candidate and admitting that he totally scares me.
Right on the first count, flat out wrong on the second.
To the first count, who's to say how much of a chance Wall does or does not have? If there's anything Scott "The Truck" Brown's victory in Massachusetts has taught us, it's that anything is possible (also that if you run a really terrible campaign it won't matter much what the track record of your party has been in that particular seat).
To the second count, you know what actually does scare me? The people who appear to believe that the incredibly wealthy, tax-dodging, anti-choice, pumpkin-loving, Madison-bashing Wall would actually be a better choice to represent our state in Washington.
On the one hand you have Feingold, the lone dissenting voice on the Patriot Act, champion of half-decent campaign finance reform, ardent town hall meeting holder (even in the state's conservative strongholds), defender of civil rights for all. Here's a guy who, more and more, looks like a Democrat in name only, having proved himself time and time again to be more than willing to go against the party's often weak-willed grain to do what he believes is right. Quite frankly, he's one of the few Dems left in the Senate for whom I still have a great deal of respect.
On the other you have Wall, who has so far distinguished himself only as yet another anti-Madison, anti-equal rights crusader who sports the "government sucks please pay me to govern you" attitude so common among the right wing politician these days.
Over at the blog Forward Our Motto, for instance, it's made abundantly clear that Wall isn't so hot on the truth. In a segment of speech just 1 minute and 11 seconds long, Wall appears to make four separate erroneous claims. As part of that, he made attacks against Progressive Dane, a political party unique to our county and not likely to drum up much in the way of interest as a campaign selling point for those voters who don't live around here.
Wall is also apparently banking on a dislike of Madison to get him elected, even though he's called the city home and a lucrative business home base for decades. Of course, he's also tailoring his message to fit the audience, changing his tone depending on how he thinks the people to whom he's speaking will react. In his speech to the Tea Party bonfire in Racine: "So lemme just tell ya for a minute about my background. I grew up in Dane County. I never say Madison ... [laughing]." On his campaign website: "A nearly lifelong resident of Wisconsin, Terrence attended both public and private schools and started his entrepreneurial career at the age of 11 by selling and delivering newspapers in his neighborhood." But over on the website for T. Wall Properties: "Terrence Wall grew up in greater Madison having moved to the state with his family as a young child."
I hate to give campaign advice to a candidate with whom I disagree so strongly on so many political and social issues (Wall is, for instance, anti-choice and supports moves to ban gay marriage), but the man really needs to make up his mind. I know it may seem popular to pick on capitol cities these days, but what good does that really do? Sure there are problems with any house of government, but there are also good things and things with nuance a word I'm not entirely sure even shows up as a blip on the radar screens of too many of our politicians these days.
Wall may also consider that stretching the truth or lying outright are especially terrible choices in the age of the internet and the ability of any Joe schmo to do some quick fact-checking. But then, if you've done nothing of substance to back up your ambitions, I suppose making stuff up might seem like the best option for success.
You might also need to rethink your strategy when you had to donate $250,000 of the $500,000 in campaign funds you recently trumpeted having raised. Heck, when even Dave Blaska thinks you're a lame Republican candidate, you know you're in trouble.
Updates and things worth watching
Ald. Michael Schumacher, after receiving a deluge of angry emails and calls about the proposed ordinance that would have banned bar employees and musicians alike from drinking "on the job," has officially dropped his sponsorship of that proposal. It appears, then, that Mayor Dave may be the only one pushing this, though he did agree to do some rewrites to remove musicians from the list of people who would be legally barred from knocking one back. I don't see that ending all opposition to the ordinance, of course, since it still severely limits the rights of bar and restaurant owners and employees. Sure, no one wants a drunk bartender causing trouble or getting in his car to drive home after a shift, but isn't that already illegal?
Intrepid reporter (and, frankly, invaluable resource) Kristin Czubkowski hit up the Urban Design Commission's Edgewater Hotel discussion late last week and gave us an excellent write-up of what happened. Definitely worth reading for those of us who can't get enough of the subject. Today's Edgewater related issue to watch is the push to amend shoreline ordinances specifically for the redevelopment project.