A couple points in response to the State Journal piece on Wisconsin Democrats' election concerns. First, kudos to reporter Scott Bauer for managing to elicit a relatively tame quote from Snarlin' Marlin Schneider (D-Wisconsin Rapids).
"Obviously we're all nervous about our own situations," said state Rep. Marlin Schneider, a Democrat who has served in the Legislature since 1970 and now faces two Republican challengers and an Independent. "There is a nasty mood there that has been there since the 2008 election."
In my last correspondence with Schneider, the 68-year-old lawmaker accused "TEA baggers" of throwing candy at Julie Lassa and him, and said Tom Nelson should resign as majority leader.
The opening graph was a little dubious though:
Until recently, Wisconsin seemed to be a Democratic strategist's dream a blue state getting bluer. Its two U.S. senators were well-established liberal Democrats.
It's fair to call Feingold a liberal. But Herb Kohl? I would call him a mainstream Democrat. Very socially liberal (although he supported the Defense of Marriage Act) and middle-of-the-road on fiscal issues. He supported the Bush tax cuts in 2001, supports stricter bankruptcy rules than most liberals and has voiced support for liberalizing Social Security.
Also, although the point of the article was to concentrate on Democratic pessimism (points of optimism could be another story), citing only the worse of polls for Democrats is misleading.
But a poll conducted by St. Norbert College in late March showed Walker leading Tom Barrett, the Milwaukee mayor and Democratic nominee, by 16 percentage points. Walker had roughly $2 million in the bank at the end of 2009, ahead of Barrett's $1.5 million, the latest figures available.
Other polls were done at the same time and other have been conducted since, and they have all showed much narrower margins between the candidates.
And then there was this:
Social reformer Robert La Follette Sr., who was the Progressive Party presidential candidate in 1924, epitomized Wisconsin Republicanism. Former Republican Govs. Lee Dreyfus signed the nation's first statewide gay rights bill in 1982 and Tommy Thompson reformed welfare in the 1990s.
Fighting Bob La Follette was never the epitome of anything but himself. Even when there was room for liberals in the GOP, there was still a strong conservative contingent (the "stalwarts"). And why is Tommy Thompson's welfare reform described as a mark of moderate leadership? I suppose he did something rather than nothing after state Democrats essentially eliminated the old program. However, his plan served as an inspiration for conservative leaders like Newt Gingrich, as well as Democrats who wanted to buff up their fiscally conservative credentials (Clinton).
Anyway, that's my two cents.