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 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?
"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."
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.)