September 2, 2011

An Isthmus writer finds it "startling" to see an attack ad against Tommy Thompson so long before the primaries for the Herb Kohl Senate seat.

Here's the ad:



Judith Davidoff writes:
[T]he ultraconservative Club for Growth... has made it a habit in recent years to oppose moderate Republicans.... [but] Thompson has not officially entered the race and the Republican primary is still a year away.

"I think it is pretty remarkable," says Barry Burden, a political science professor at UW-Madison. "It tells me something is at stake here. Conservatives in the party are really concerned about Tommy winning the election. They are trying to head off his really owning the nomination at this point, and I think that's why they're in so early."
I remember back in 2010, when people thought Thompson would challenge Russ Feingold. I video-recorded the speech he made to the Tea Party crowd, when he said he would not. He said "I told my family... that it's time for new voices and new faces." He declined the hard work of unseating the longtime incumbent, and Ron Johnson stepped up to that task. Now, it's a year later and nobody's gotten any younger, yet Thompson sees himself as the man for the Senate. What happened to the need for "new voices and new faces"? Why are old faces good? Because now it's a shot at a vacant seat?

The 2012 GOP primaries are about defining conservatism, and the Club for Growth ad has its idea of what the conservative message should be, and it's not Tommy Thompson. Let Thompson present a crisp version of his definition.

On the other side of the equation, the Democrats have to define liberalism, and if Isthmus is genuinely worried about candidates swinging too far to the extreme and losing the moderate voters in our passionately purple state, they ought to handwring about Tammy Baldwin. (But they won't.)

72 comments:

MadisonMan said...

And as long as I'm saying what I don't like, I don't like ads that say what we don't need. It smacks of someone with no ideas about what is needed and you're just doing a lot of handwaving.

Ann Althouse said...

Oh, I think they know what we need, and also that it's implied in the ad. Repeal Obamacare, cut taxes and spending, etc. etc.

Also, everyone says it's the attack ads that work.

Carol_Herman said...

Wow. Imagine using obama to defeat Tommy Thompson. Whose major claim to fame is that he is a mensh.

Maybe, the ad will backfire?

I'm not so sure that if you look at this one ... the democraps aren't hoping to see Obamacare knocked out of contention by the Supreme's. At least!

You think the democraps have fond memories of hillary care? REALLY?

Sometimes what you SEE is NOT a reflection of what's been sampled by the "focus groups."

My guess is that Tommy Thompson polls well. And, Herbert Kohl doesn't. Didn't. And, won't.

Remember this: The "bent willy" was focused grouped BEFORE you saw Bill Clinton's fighting stance. (How so? Well, he got a fighting cvhance when this was polled.)

Everything, these days, gets polled.

Even new boxes packaging sugar cereals.

traditionalguy said...

Good ad.

It shows that Thompson is for the days long gone by, and not for the crisis we find ourselves in now.

Carol_Herman said...

Feingold, on the other hand, ran.

Sometimes, that's how politicians learn the truth, ya know?

While over in Brooklyn/Queens, Weiner's seat is up for grabs. And, if you're following this one ... The "seat" was picked for an insider ... who is running into trouble. Imagine that, if you will.

People can sometimes fool the best ad agencies. Sometimes an item flops.

And, sometimes, you can't spend enough money to win. Because voters can get very ornery. Cross 'em. And, find out.

garage mahal said...

Mark Neumann has said if he was elected God for a day, homosexuality wouldn't be permitted. I don't know of any Tammy Baldwin positions that are more extreme than that.

This sounds pretty quaint for a Republican these days:

"I really tried to get people to work together. Since when is that a sin?"

A. Shmendrik said...

I think he still owns it. In 1985 or 1986 when I heard that he was running for Governor, I thought he was an unpolished hick, running on ego. Then he wins, and wins and wins and wins. There is something about him, which I admit I do not understand, which is naturally appreciated by Wisconsin voters. Short of photos of him in a south beltline motel with the proverbial teenage girl, it's his.

chickenlittle said...
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FedkaTheConvict said...

Tommy Thompson will NOT win the nomination. Conservatives will remember that Thompson was a big spender; it was under him that the state's structural deficits started.

The Tea Party will determine who the Republican candidate will be and they wouldn't go for Thomspon; Ted Kanavas and Tim Sullivan have fair chances.

Who is Tim Sullivan? He's the former CEO of Bucyrus International which was recently acquired by Caterpillar so he's casting around for something else to do. And before he's dismissed remember that no one had ever heard of Ron Johnson until his speech at a Tea Party rally. As a successful businessman, Sullivan has as good a chance as other more established names.

Carol_Herman said...

Another thing.

There will be people who are voting in Wisconsin who were born on, near, before, or just after 1940.

Seems to me this ad is trying to paint these people in a bad light.

Oddly enough at one time age alone gave you respect.

And, I don't think these things really change.

I can see how this ad fails.

Maybe, it's obama who should worry? I'd imagine he feels bad that Pelosi isn't the democrap's darth vader. Or hillary.

Seems to me somethings not polling all that well ... over in those focus groups Bill Clinton took for granted.

You know, I'd even go so far to bet that some of today's old timers ... were the people who said they wouldn't trust anyone over 30. That was then.

This is now. And, that's just not true anymore.

This ad is gonna turn off a whole crowd of people who still have birthdays.

Calypso Facto said...

[T]he ultraconservative Club for Growth...

Does Davidoff mean the Libertarian-minded Club for Growth? She is ably showing her complete ignorance of anything outside of communist ideology. But I'm sure "ultraconservative" sounds the dog-whistle to alert her lefty readers to the dangerous association and start them yapping.

FedkaTheConvict said...

Thompson is a "go along to get along," back-slapping, deal-making, big spending Republican. By choosing Ron Johnson the WI voters indicated their preference for a principled conservative. That's not likely to change next year.

MadisonMan said...

as other more established names.

You say more established names, I read ancient has-been crones.

wv: herge. Tintin is ALIVE!

FedkaTheConvict said...

I just read the article and this is the kiss of death:

""The Republican Party that Tommy Thompson belongs to is not the Republican Party that is running Wisconsin," he says. Burden notes Thompson supported inner-city high-speed rail, cooperated with public unions and, in recent years, backed President Barack Obama's health care plan. "

For the last few years Thompson has been a health care lobbyist in D.C. Repealing Obamacare will be the litmus test and he'll fail.

garage mahal said...

Does Davidoff mean the Libertarian-minded Club for Growth? She is ably showing her complete ignorance of anything outside of communist ideology.

So you have to be a communist to think the Club for Growth, who does seem to endorse the more hard right wing conservative candidates, is ultra conservative?

The proof in the pudding is whether they endorse actual libertarian candidates over Republican candidates.

FedkaTheConvict said...

I'm surprised the Koch brothers haven't been mentioned yet.

MadisonMan said...

If the Democrats nominate someone from the far left, and Republicans nominate someone from the far right, what is a squishy cynical middle-of-the-roader like me supposed to do?

Calypso Facto said...

garage: what's the Club for Growth's position on abortion? On school prayer? On gay marriage? What would you expect an "ultraconservative's" position on these issues to be?

MarkG said...

Oh my. That was so "ultraconservative," I think I'm going to faint.

Maguro said...

The proof in the pudding is whether they endorse actual libertarian candidates over Republican candidates.

Well, they're not endorsing Tommy Thompson and he's a Republican. Happy now?

Henry said...

I am no fan of the Club for Growth after their vile attacks on Lincoln Chaffee in the 2006 Rhode Island Republican primary.

I got a few of their robocalls. Oddly, for an organization named Club for Growth, the wedge issue they picked to hyperventilate about was abortion.

Thanks to them, Chaffee burned through his campaign funds in the primary (and, I suspect, got burned out on campaigning) and lost to the apparatchik democrat Sheldon Whitehouse.

roesch-voltaire said...

Former Rep Chuck Hagel nails it with this comment:

"I think the Republican Party is captive to political movements that are very ideological, that are very narrow. I've never seen so much intolerance as I see today in American politics."

Henry said...

Former Rep Chuck Hagel needs to get out more.

Henry said...

wv: herge. Tintin is ALIVE!

:)

Maguro said...

If the Republicans have lost moderate independents like Chuck Hagel and roesch-voltaire, they're truly fucked, aren't they?

Why can't they be reasonable like the Democrats????!!!!???

edutcher said...

"[T]he ultraconservative Club for Growth"

To the Lefties, there's no such thing as a Conservative. They're all "ultraconservative" and "rightwing".

Call a Lefty ultraliberal or leftwing and he screams, "Hate speech!!! McCarthyism!!!".

garage mahal said...

What would you expect an "ultraconservative's" position on these issues to be?

No on abortion, yes on school prayer, and no on gay marriage.

They are backing Neumann though, that was sort of my point. Neumann lines up on all three - he at one time supported a constitutional amendment for school prayer.

Where does the Club for Growth line up on those issues?

Mitochondri-Allie said...

Who needs the Democrats when you have the Club for Growth?

Pogo said...

Has the Isthmus, or any MSM venue, described a candidate or organization as ultraliberal?

NPR 7/10: "NPR’s librarian Katie Daugert came up with 8 examples of groups or people being described as "ultra-liberal" in the last 5 years. In 2 cases, the term was used by NPR staffers; other uses were by guests or commentators.

By contrast, the term "ultra-conservative" appeared on air 42 times in the last 5 years. NPR staffers used it 17 times, and others used it 24 times.
"

Fred Barnes: " How often, if ever, have you heard or read the term "ultraliberal"? I don't think I ever have heard or read it. You will see and hear the term "ultraconservative" a lot, but not "ultraliberal"--even though there are plenty of ultraliberals. Another widely used labeling term is "activist." If people are working to block a shopping center from being built or campaigning against Wal-Mart, they are called "activists." Of course, what the term "activist" means is liberal. While conservatives are called conservatives by the media, liberals are "activists." For years, we have seen something similar with regard to debates over judicial nominees. The Federalist Society, with which many conservative judicial nominees tend to be associated, always is referred to as the conservative Federalist Society, as if that is part of its name. Yet, the groups opposing conservative nominees are rarely, if ever, labeled as liberal--giving the impression that they, unlike the Federalist Society, are somehow objective."

Pogo said...

Whenever I read an article and come across the term "ultraconservative ", I know the author of the piece is a leftist moron, and there is no point in reading further.

I would learn more reading the ingredients in Shredded Wheat, or the instructions for a pair of scissors.

gadfly said...

@Henry:

Lincoln Chafee is a typical New England Liberal. Reading "Lincoln Chafee on Issues" leads me to cheer on the Club for Growth folks. Liberals from both parties are disappointing and will screw the country.

Calypso Facto said...

Where does the Club for Growth line up on those issues?

It DOESN'T specifically line up on either side of any of them. That's the point. It supports candidates who believe in limited government and fiscal restraint.

"The primary tactic of the separate Club for Growth PAC is to provide financial support from Club members to viable candidates to Congress who believe in pro-growth policies, limited government, low taxes and economic freedom"

As I see it, the Club endorses Neumann for his FISCAL conservatism because Thompson has no credibility there. As for endorsing a truly Libertarian candidate, they'd rather have a win than ideological purity.

garage mahal said...

As for endorsing a truly Libertarian candidate, they'd rather have a win than ideological purity.

Which was my point. Not a truly Libertarian org. Minor quibble ;)

Kenneth said...
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Henry said...

@gadfly -- In Rhode Island Lincoln Chaffee was as conservative as you're going to get. He's independent and honest. Thanks to small tent, outside interest politics, we have the truly unexceptional and knee-jerk democrat Sheldon Whitehouse in his place.

ALH said...

Billy Lueders has the same story today in our paper. Strange coincidence. Is there a formal link between him and the Isthmus?

Kenneth said...

"Has the Isthmus, or any MSM venue, described a candidate or organization as ultraliberal?"

Ultra-liberal is an expression regularly used by Isthmus' David Blaska.

Steve Koch said...

Club for Growth charter (no mention of abortion, gay marriage, or any other social issue):

Our Mission is Economic Freedom

Club for Growth is a national network of thousands of pro-growth Americans, from all walks of life, who believe that prosperity and opportunity come through economic freedom. We work to promote public policies that encourage a high growth economy and a swift return to America's founding principles primarily through legislative involvement, issue advocacy, research, training and educational activity.

The primary tactic of the separate Club for Growth PAC is to provide financial support from Club members to viable candidates to Congress who believe in pro-growth policies, limited government, low taxes and economic freedom, both in Republican primaries and general elections.

Club for Growth Policy Goals:

Reduce income tax rates
Death tax repeal
Limited government through limited spending and budget reform, including a Balanced Budget Amendment to the United States Constitution
Social Security reform with personal retirement accounts for younger workers
Expanding trade freedom (free trade)
End abusive lawsuits through medical malpractice and tort reform
Replacing the current tax code (flat tax, fair tax)
School choice
Regulatory reform and deregulation

frank said...

It is amazing the number of "thinkers" on this blog that can't see past their own nose. TT--the most popular politician of either party in the history of Wisconsin [next to 'Fightin' Bob LaFolette], so popular that his only opposition was the teacher's union--remember them--that TT will have coatails for the Republican presidental nominee and for Gov Walker, if needed. Yet our "thinkers" here are willing to turn control of the US Senate by WI electing a Dane County Congress person, or is it Congresswomyn?

Tim said...

"...2012 GOP primaries are about defining conservatism..."

Oh. And here I was, thinking they were about electing nominees for the general elections.

Calypso Facto said...

Which was my point. Not a truly Libertarian org. Minor quibble ;)

I'll grant you that, while noting the moved goal post from my original "not an ultraconservative organization".

wv: bydropit. Ok, I will.

Carol_Herman said...

For every example of an attack ad that works, there's the other side of the coin.

This attack ad works against Herbert Kohl.

How do I know that? I watched the ad, and I saw that it insulted everyone born before and after 1940.

I thought it said Tommy Thompson's "too darn old." Which reminds me that George HW Bush said that to Ronald Reagan. In 1980.

And, in this ad? The calendar flips to 1940.

Of course, you've got obama ... As if Obama is working the hustings for Tommy Thompson. Nope.

If you wanted an "attack ad" that worked ... you needed either John Kerry or John McCain. Saying something nice about Tommy Thompson.

Here? Ya got fear!

Fear goes to Herbert Kohl.

You know, the other "rule" you gotta put to rest is "Nice Guys Don't Win."

Yes, they do.

Hey, from long ago, I even remember Jackie Gleason. And, I remember thinking "Jackie" wasn't even masculine enough to tag onto a successful guy.

But ... "AWAY WE GO" ... Jackie Gleason nailed it. For a fat guy.

"AWAY WE GO" would be a better ad.

Carol_Herman said...

Tommy Thompson doesn't have to worry.

I'm surprised the ad didn't say "And, he knows Russ Feingold."

I guess it's too late for Russ Feingold, huh?

To win, just takes a smidget above 50%. I don't think obama's the "go to guy" in any event.

Not only does this ad fail on its demerits, it fails because it calls attention to Tommy Thompson who is run AHEAD.

By the way, when a player "punts" ... where does the ball go?

FedkaTheConvict said...

WTF?

Dark Eden said...

What are the qualifications for the use of the term Ultraconservative? How does an Ultraconservative differ from a run of the mill conservative? Is an Arch Conservative more conservative? Arch or Ultra? How does Far Right figure in? Is Ultra Conservative further right than the Extreme Right Wing?

Has this media person ever used Ultra to describe anything left wing? Ultraliberal? Is Obama an ultraliberal and if not who is?

Carol_Herman said...

Ultra-conservative? Far-right?

Use all the terms you like. Problem is some terms don't win.

And, by the way ... when an ad is terrible ... there's nothing wrong with trying to find other options.

This ad's BAD!

It's even bad because not a day goes by that people aren't dealing with "obama sez" something or other. And, even Drudge runs his face in his center-photo column.

If anybody paid money for that ad ... they wasted it!

And, IF Tommy Thompson doesn't look good enough to win the republican nomination slot ... Then the GOP has gone to the dogs.

Kenneth Burns said...

Quick comment about this from the original post: "if Isthmus is genuinely worried about candidates swinging too far to the extreme..."

Isthmus isn't in the business of worrying about candidates. Isthmus doesn't take political positions.

garage mahal said...

Is Obama an ultraliberal and if not who is?

Just have to laugh when I read stuff like this.

Carol_Herman said...

Well, it's a good game to say our journalists don't take political positions ...

But that would be a LIE.

We've been living with lies for much too long.

Though who owns the labeling box, now?

Left's gone. And, the GOP candidates that get elected tend to be moderates.

Let alone in da' House, where newcomers didn't get such good seating ... and, Boehner's the one with the re-election money ... It's hard to say we're actually seeing anyting BUT the 50% in the middle line. Even if this was tug-a-rope ... It's still the middle.

While what I saw in our last cycle ... is that Chris Cristie dodn't fair that well. He came out here and promoted Meg Whitman. She lost to "The moonbeam." It's almost unbelievable ...

But the first people who left California, left when the jobs dried up. Most journeyed to Texas.

But how come ... when you go back to the 2010 races ... IF Chris Christie is supposed to be "electable," how come the folk he backed didn't?

While Tommy Thompson has a shot at making it into the senate. (Where you'd get Mitch McConnell changing offices with Harry Reid.) Meaning? The dynamics will remain the same.

And, Isthmus will still have a job writing about something. Where he gets paid.

Politics is a strange world. Not quite up to the world of comedy. You're dead if the audience, there, doesn't laugh.

And, then? IF you win, you reach backstage and you said "you killed 'em."

AJ Lynch said...

If The Isthmus does not take political positions and Obama is not an ultra-liberal then this must be Bizarro World.

sorepaw said...
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sorepaw said...
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geokstr said...

garage mahal said...
Is Obama an ultraliberal and if not who is?

Just have to laugh when I read stuff like this.


Let's see:

- Birth father-avowed communist
- Birth mother-socialist
- Grandparents who raised him-Marxist
- His mentor as a teenager-card carrying member of the CPUSA
- Bill Ayers, instrumental to his rise-domestic terrorist/murderer who still calls himself a communist
- Bernadine Dohrn - truly sick nutcase wife of Ayers - communist
- In his own book, says he sought the radicals and Marxist professors in college
- An admirer and devotee of Marxist Saul Alinsky and his tactics of "organizing", which Alinsky used as a euphemism for "revolution"
- taught Alinsky methods to ACORN
- spent several years as a "community organizer"
- most liberal voting record in US Senate ahead of even avowed socialist Bernie Sanders
- vowed to "fundamentally transform" the US
- believes the constitution is fatally flawed because it won't allow him to spread the wealth
- etc, etc, ad nauseum

Yeah, you're right, just another run of the mill moderate Democrat.

garage mahal said...

Let's see:

- Birth father-avowed communist


Zzzzzzzzzzzzzz. What a dope.

chickenlittle said...
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chickenlittle said...
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garage mahal said...

Whenever eh? You must be able to name several right off the top of your head, such as it is these days.

I'll take one though, chicky!

Carol_Herman said...

Narcissists don't belong to any other club, but their own!

Obama? Ambitious.

Obama: Aware of the open door that belongs to Affirmative Action. Fits right in!

And, then there are the FAILURES! Bob Dole was a man with experience. Couldn't win against Bill Clinton, whose willy is bent.

Hillary's no asset to her husband. Yet he keeps her on. I wonder why? He didn't particularly like her political philosophy. He carted her around to give Americans a MISDIRECTION! So, they wouldn't look at the Astroturf. And, have to discuss how easy it is for a guy to get laid.

Gennifer Flowers. As weird a choice as Monica. But a guy has "needs." And, she didn't require foreplay.

Do you see a pattern?

The democraps OBVIOUSLY made a great choice! The GOP picked McCain. So, it's just as obvious that the GOP made a poor choice.

Who pushed obama? First of all, he was easy furniture to get behind ... John Kerry wasn't. Even though his wife's rich.

If money doesn't solve all the problems? Maybe, Mitt's got some, too.

The American people are angry.

But they don't blame communists. We're not in the 1950's anymore. And, Joseph McCarthy died at Walter Reed Hospital while wearing a straight jacket.

The "labeling box" doesn't fit on Tweet.

The young are gonna look for candidates where they feel comfortable. And, laugh all you want, the schlemiel doesn't scare them.

The republicans should only be this lucky.

garage mahal said...

Disprove it, racebaiter.

Disprove *it*? There are like 18 uber winger theories there.

What are you on?

chickenlittle said...
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chickenlittle said...
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garage mahal said...

You mean Trooper? I didn't call him a racist. I stand 100% by what I said though. He jokes about it all the time.

Any others I called a racist, but didn't? Who is the racebaiter, asshole?

Kenneth Burns said...

@chickenlittle Isthmus writers may take positions, liberal, conservative, other, but institutionally speaking, Isthmus doesn't take positions the way many papers do. I've been on staff since 2005.

Calypso Facto said...

Isthmus writers may take positions, liberal, conservative, other...

Got that, chicklit? The Isthmus, per se, is not to be judged as political just because all of its writers (save Blaska) continually preach leftist ideology to the capital choir.

I read it weekly until this year, when I became so sick of the constant yellow journalism that, even though it's free, I now won't even pick it up for the events Guide.

garage mahal said...

The Club for Growth only does yellow attack ads.

They're principled!

Calypso Facto said...

You too equate the supposedly "non-partisan" Isthmus with a political action committee, garage? Glad you again support my opinion!

bgates said...

Isthmus writers may take positions, liberal, conservative, other

You mean "positions, moderate, ultraconservative, other", right?

Curious George said...

"garage mahal said...
Is Obama an ultraliberal and if not who is?

Just have to laugh when I read stuff like this."

Just have to laugh when I read stuff like this.

Curious George said...

"geokstr said...
garage mahal said...
Is Obama an ultraliberal and if not who is?"

Letsadd to the list some of his appointees:

Van Jones, Green Jobs Czar: Avowed communist, 9/11 truther, black nationalist

Kevin Jennings: Safe schools czar: The founder and former executive director of the Gay, Lesbian, and Straight Education Network, Jennings oversaw more than five years of student-workshops where topics included a message of homosexual sex, giving students their very own “fisting kits,” and graphic descriptions of homosexual practices, including urinating on one’s partner. For the high school students, there was a listing of local gay bars, complete with descriptions, but for the younger children there was a book list, recommended for ages 7-12, featuring explicit descriptions of sex acts between preschoolers; stories that seemed to promote and recommend child-adult sexual relationships; stories of public masturbation affairs between students and teachers, and five-year-olds playing sex games.

Dawn Johnsen, Obama’s pick to head the Office of Legal Counsel in the Department of Justice, She has said that the idea to make abortion rare as well as safe and legal is “nonsensical” and that abortion restrictions “reduce pregnant women to no more than fetal containers.”

Anita Dunn: WH Communications Director: Favorite political philosopher: Mao

I can continueif you want...

Oligonicella said...

I'd rather the teams define what they are, not what two political definitions mean.

Oligonicella said...

Kenneth Burns --

"I've been on staff since 2005."

Unfortunate fact of the matter is, being on staff doesn't lend you the support you feel it does. You're vested in them.

Kenneth Burns said...

I don't really care whether it lends me support. I said how long I've been with the paper because chickenlittle asked.