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Oct 18, 201309:00 AMBlaska's Bring It!

with David Blaska

Our Miss Burke was created in the la-bore-a-tory

(page 1 of 2)

Is Mary “I make no promises” Burke the shrink-wrapped candidate? Yes, and much less. The Democrat(ic) Party’s handpicked candidate for governor is the paint-by-numbers, cue-carded, pasteurized and polyunsaturated, gluten-free, focus-grouped candidate.

The liberal NetRoots rebellion against the handpicked choice of Democratic Party bosses may have leapt the firewall. Blue blogger Zach Wisniewski has stumbled across what the mainstream news media has missed. Mary Burke, their candidate for governor, is the non-nutrient product of focus groups.

Wisniewski’s source for his blog, entitled “Mary Burke: focus group tested, DPW approved!” is Kristin Hansen, the 5th Congressional District representative for the Democratic Party of Wisconsin. Wisniewski reproduces party insider Hansen’s Facebook posting:

...  as for the “boo-hoo, no one asked ME who I want for governor [crowd]” — here’s the thing: there were 41 focus groups of “regular people” held across the state and you know what came out of it? That the toughest competition for Walker would be 1) a woman, 2) who is highly educated, 3) who has a business background and is literally a job creator, 4) who has deep roots in Wisconsin and 5) is not a sitting politician. That person is Mary Burke and she will be a great candidate.

Check, check, check, check, check. But what does she stand for?

Wisniewski comments: My take from reading is that we “regular people” who have concerns about Mary Burke’s candidacy should stop whining and crying and should just trust that the folks in the Democratic Party of Wisconsin leadership know what’s best when it comes to beating Scott Walker in 2014, because their focus groups told them how to win!

A Blogging Blue poster named Duane confirms the focus-group groping: “Our Jackson County Dems group underwent such a survey or opinion response in mid-summer. After expressing our choices, it was revealed that Mary Burke was a front-runner at that time although none of our group offered her name. It was also at that meeting that I heard Donald Driver mentioned, not by our group as a candidate.”

Lisa Mux, a Democratic activist in Waukesha, confirms: “As I recall, the focus groups to which Kristin refers were led by someone hired by a coalition of unions, not the DPW. The facilitator had asked to come to one of our Drinking Liberally Waukesha meetings, but we were already booked with speakers at the time.”

Our Miss Burke may be attractively packaged, but she does not seem to have any ingredients. This week, she issued a campaign message for the ages: “I make no promises.”

“GAH!!! Did she really say that?!” marveled one respondent at Blogging Blue. “Whomever is advising her really needs to get their fanny blistered. Weak roll out now becomes a subject of ridicule. Good god, Mike Tate. What the hell are you all thinking!?”

Bride of party boss Mike Tate

Russ Feingold’s Progressives United is drinking the Kool-Aid. It is asking whether it should jump on the Mary Burke bandwagon now. “Vote Today. ... Should we support Mary Burke now to get a head start on next year’s election?”

Another blog, BlueCheddar, remarks, “Wow. What’s ‘progressive’ about circling wagons around candidate Mary Burke to protect her from progressive Senator Kathleen Vinehout who is thinking of running in this gubernatorial race!?”

It continues: “Aside from that there is the important fact that Burke needs to shed the caucus convict Tanya Bjork from her campaign team before anybody — progressive or not — swears any allegiance. Having Bjork on the team flies in the face of Progressive United’s mission, which according to its own web site is to fight ‘corporate influence and corruption in all its forms.’”


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Comments, page 1 of 3 1 2 3 Next »
Oct 18, 2013 09:42 am
 Posted by  David Blaska

For the Record: Who voted against $100 million in property tax relief this week? 12 members of the 99-member Assembly and 5 state senators in that 33-member body — all Democrats. They posed a variety of reasons — from “not enough relief” to the familiar cry for more “investments” in schools.

The no votes in the Assembly were: Berceau, Sargent, Hesselbein, Hebl, Taylor, Pope-Roberts — all from Dane County — and Goyke, Johnson, Kessler, Pasch, Zamarippa, and Zepnick. These are outliers within their own party; 26 Assembly Democrats voted for tax relief, including Peter Barca, the Assembly Democrat(ic) leader.

In the Senate, the 5 (out of a total of 15) Democrats voting no were such supposed moderates as Jauch and Cullen, Dane County’s Miller and Risser, and Lehman of Racine. Even Chris Larson, the fire-breathing Democrat Senate leader from Milwaukee, voted for tax relief.

Oct 18, 2013 11:31 am
 Posted by  Anonymous

Good God, Dave, it's a measly $13 average reduction that doesn't even make up for the amount the GOP INCREASED property taxes in their budget of a few months ago (you forgot to mention that). And, we still have a deficit, which this didn't help. Vapid, bumper sticker politics at its worst. So now your economic failure of a Governor and GOP legislature get to crow, "We lowered your property taxes (a truly insignificant amount after increasing them by a larger amount, that is if you live in the right school district)!" It's simplistic, yet hard for most to vote against even if it's practically meaningless. So, which party is it that creates all the cynicism?
P.S. Your Ayers Outrage column sure brought out the lathered-up commenters. Lots a spittle on computer screens with that one. Yeesh, that's an ugly mob you have in your fan base, aside from me (and I AM a fan).
And as a further poke in the eye to all you tea drinkers: nice work in D.C. I'm confident you didn't learn any lessons.
(And no, I am still not Graeme Zelinski.)

Oct 18, 2013 01:07 pm
 Posted by  patricko

Burke's selection is reminiscent of the national Dems picking John Kerry to take on GW Bush.

"Let's see, Vietnam veteran. Check. Purple Heart. Check. Deep pockets. Check. There's no way this guy can lose! He'll mop the floor with W."

Oct 18, 2013 05:20 pm
 Posted by  David Blaska

AnnoyingMan, I'll take it that you would have voted against the $100 million biennial property tax cut. Aren't you the precious Madison liberal! But property taxes in Wisconsin, on average, will drop 3 consecutive years after increasing 27 percent the previous decade. If you dispute that, please post the hyperlink. If the Ayers blog produced spittle on the computer screen, at least it threatened no military servicemen and women with nail bombs. So, we'll put you down as a defender of Bill Ayers and the Weather Underground. If I am mistaken about that, feel free to use the occasion to condemn his terrorism, since you took a pass this time around. No comment on Your Miss Brooks?

Oct 19, 2013 05:39 pm
 Posted by  Anonymous

Looks like BLASKA is on the defensive already.

Oct 21, 2013 08:25 am
 Posted by  Anonymous

Sorry if you find the truth annoying.
Would I have voted against the proposal? I don't know, as I said (read for comprehension!), "It's simplistic, yet hard for most to vote against even if it's practically meaningless." Sounds good, but has no real substance; that's GOP politics for you. Please post YOUR link that property taxes have gone down the three years in a row. Mine sure haven't. And the McGyver Propaganda Mill doesn't count as an honest source.
As for Ayers, I didn't comment because quite frankly I don't know enough about him (you folks should try that concept instead of believing and repeating everything you hear from Rush). The man seems to have had a respected academic career; I doubt he's the Bin Laden you make out to be.
Our Miss Burke? I find your quoting of all the hard left blogs kinda funny. Crocodile Tears Blaska. Your concern for my side is touching. I've told those guys to grow up and quit poisoning our own well because guys like you love it.
I think the bottom line is you guys sure find her threatening.
Annoying as ever (and I didn't even bring up the new John Doe probe - whoops!),

Oct 21, 2013 09:33 am
 Posted by  David Blaska

I must admit I am fascinated by liberals like you, AnnoyingMan, mainly on your thought processes. You criticize the Walker tax cut (Wisconsin ranks 9th highest in property taxes) as "vapid, bumper sticker politics at its worst." When called on it, you pretend not to know how you would have voted. Is it possible that you would have voted in favor of "vapid, bumper sticker politics at its worst"? Then you really are a cynical hypocrite, A-Man.

You back pedal after being called on your vilification of the terrorist Ayers' critics ("I don't know enough about him") yet you can't resist attaching the adjective "respected" to his name. (What did Santayana say about ignorance of history?)

One more thing: I don't listen to Rush Limbaugh. Nor am I the party boss who is force-feeding a content-free candidate on their political party. And you lecture ME (!) about thinking for oneself! I hereby christen thee "Amazing-man!" You are one liberal piece of work!

Oct 21, 2013 01:20 pm
 Posted by  Anonymous

Idiot Liberals will complain about both sides of every argument. If Gov Walker raised taxes, they would complain about having to pay more. He lowers taxes, they complain its not enough. Whatever, noone care about your whinning anymore.

Listen A-Man, if you dont want to take the "measley" $13 tax cut, feel free to go here and pay as much more as you'ld like, thought Im complete sure you wont.!-190785552!1901324448&body=pc_step2_amount_body.jsp

Oct 21, 2013 02:34 pm
 Posted by  Anonymous


I recall a primary in WI (won by Kerry) so I don't know where you get your information.. Or maybe you were still in diapers when that took place.

dave: You just can't refrain from calling anyone who disagrees with you (or, God forbid, proves you wrong) names. Bluster, Blather and BS Blaska, howz that work for ya?

Oct 21, 2013 06:39 pm
 Posted by  Mad S.

New focus group results on who best can beat Walker. 1) Anyone with pulse. 2) Anyone with half a brain.

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About This Blog

Raised on a farm near Sun Prairie, David Blaska is a recovering liberal who spent 18 years in daily newspapers, including 12 at The Capital Times in Madison as a reporter and editor. He served Gov. Tommy Thompson as acting press secretary in 1998 and is a veteran and survivor of 19 years in state government. He served 12 years on the Dane County Board of Supervisors. From December 2007 to November 2011 he wrote the consistently popular "Blaska's Blog" for Isthmus online's "The Daily Page" until, he says, the intolerant liberals ran him off. He blogs from Madison.

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