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Oct 16, 201308:36 AMBlaska's Bring It!

with David Blaska

The Further Misadventures of Our Miss Burke

(page 1 of 2)

Let’s say you are a Democrat, a liberal, Progressive Dane, a unionista, a Solidarity Singer, a Raging Granny, a vuvuzela virtuoso. (You have my sympathies.) Imagine this scenario:

  • Republican Party boss Reince Priebus announces that he has handpicked your candidate for governor. No need for a primary. The party poobahs have decided, now fall in line.
  • The anointed candidate is virtually unknown statewide, has little to no record in public office, has taken no stand on the issues of the day, has no discernible message.
  • She may or may not rescind Act 10 or parts of it. Who knows?
  • The candidate’s family business is thoroughly non-union and much of its production is based in China. (The Koch Brothers have signed more collective bargaining agreements.)
  • She is a one percenter who inherited her wealth and took a year off work to snowboard in Argentina and Colorado. Just the previous campaign cycle you had stoked the fires of class resentment against the wealthy. Now you’re recruiting them.

‘Party of The People’?

Dave Zweifel would invoke the angry ghost of Bill Evjue. John Nichols would misquote Tom Jefferson. Senate Democrats would reserve rooms at the Clock Tower Inn. Yet they have rallied to the defense of The Chosen One: Mary Burke.

Jack Craver, employee of The Corporation That speaks as if it were a person, says — quite implausibly — that anyone who points out the latter contradiction is a hypocrite. The Squire of the Stately Manor parries that Democrats set this table, now they get to taste their own cooking. Republicans are “playing dirty” for mentioning this, writes the editor emeritus of TCT speaks as if it were a person. Our Miss Brooks may be “loaded,” as they say in Fargo and in Sun Prairie, but she’s not as filthy rich as the Koch Bros., he avers. So our liberal acquaintances (for they ARE our acquaintances) are still playing the greed and envy game, only they’ve upped the ante. Plus, the lady’s greenbacks have been spritzed with lilac water.

Jim Rowen, once Paul Soglin’s consigliere and one of the most biased of the old Milwaukee Journal reporters (that is saying a lot), is drinking the Kool-Aid. Rowen says: Give Mary Burke a Chance, and a Listen. But will the lady say anything?

So virulent is Walker Derangement Syndrome among our liberal acquaintances (for they ARE ...) that one suspects Democrats would support Ted Cruz if he ran against Scott Walker. But there are outliers. Breaking ranks, Fighting Ed Garvey, once the party’s nominee himself, blogs thusly:

The heavy breathers in the Democratic Party are marching lock-step behind the latest Doyle candidate, Mary Burke, whose campaign has stumbled out of the gate despite (or because of) help from the machine Democrats. ... The only way Walker can lose is if a strong, bright and passionate candidate with grassroots support challenges him. Mary Burke does not appear to be that person.

Zach Wisniewski at Blogging Blue writes, “Why I have reservations about Mary Burke”:

While some may have reservations about Burke because they feel she’s been forced upon Democratic voters by the Democratic Party establishment, my concerns hit much closer to home. ... As a union member, I’m concerned that if elected governor Mary Burke won’t be much better for labor unions (and public employees more specifically) than Gov. Scott Walker.

BlueCheddar blogs: “Burke is not exactly attractive to those of us who occupied the streets and Wisconsin’s Capitol building in 2011”:

First off, the way Dems have tried to both choose Burke and keep their choice under wraps is an insult to our intelligence. Then there’s the matter of Burke’s politics. They’re in some kind of virtual swaddling clothes, they’re THAT tightly under wraps.


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Comments, page 1 of 2 1 2 Next »
Oct 16, 2013 09:34 am
 Posted by  John

“Burke is not exactly attractive to those of us who occupied the streets and Wisconsin’s Capitol building in 2011”

She'll claim she was there ... just watching from her catered skybox. Or perhaps "virtually participating" on her iPad from a cozy ski chalet.

Oct 16, 2013 07:15 pm
 Posted by  Anonymous

I think I remember seeing a picture of her posted to the Daily Kos taken in the occupied rotunda. She was on her snowboard, which was mounted to a Segway. She was sporting a cute pink dress with a mug of brew in her hand looking for Robin Vos. Swear to God!


Oct 17, 2013 12:23 pm
 Posted by  jwdoty

You can do better than this. Most of your scenario describes Ron Johnson. As for a family business up to its elbows in China, try Walmart. The real issue is the big money, from personal assets or family or wealthy friends, now required for Wisconsin politics. But that issue won't work for you because you would have to write a bipartisan blog

Oct 17, 2013 12:28 pm
 Posted by  Anonymous

Burke is no dummy, she’s well aware moving Trek jobs overseas is much more lucrative than paying some Schmo in Waterloo to do the same thing.

She's also smart enough to know Act 10 won't be going anywhere; regardless if a bunch of crazy people, union goons, teachers and moronic assembly members in orange T-shirts singing songs in the Capital every noon hour for 2 years says it should.

That is why she can’t state any position on anything, she'll enrage her support base. Walker is right and she knows it.

Oct 17, 2013 10:27 pm
 Posted by  Marc E.

David, pls give examples of Jim Rowen’s “most biased” reporting. My recollection is that Jim always sought comments from people he might have portrayed in a negative light, Marc Eisen

Oct 18, 2013 08:58 am
 Posted by  David Blaska

Jim Rowen wrote an article on former TGT insurance commissioner John Torgerson who, before he took the post, asked the Ethics Board what he could and could not do, given that he owned a title insurance company in Eau Claire. Rowen wrote the article as if the Ethics Board was chastising Torgerson for wrong doing. Torgerson sued; I don't know the outcome. Those are hard to win. I guess you could say our friend Bill Lueders also inserted a quote from the other side but the story was always based on the liberal viewpoint, with the obligatory "XXX denied the charges." You aren't really suggesting that Jim Rowen is anything but a partisan, are you? If anything, his blogs are more honest for not being dressed in the clothing of a neutral observer. BTW: those do exist: I'm thinking of people like Jeff Mayers, Steve Walters, Dan Bice, Matt DuFour. NOT JIM ROWEN!

Oct 19, 2013 06:40 pm
 Posted by  Marc E.

David: Jim is obviously involved in advocacy now just as you are. Regardless of his political beliefs, he functioned perfectly well as a reporter just as you did during your tenure at the Capital Times. I have no doubt that, after a suitable period of detoxification, both of you could report and write analysis again. I get the feeling though that you believe that reporting, analysis and opinion writing are all pretty much the same thing. Blogging too. Marc Eisen

Oct 20, 2013 08:22 pm
 Posted by  Anonymous

Word to the wise for people criticizing Burke / Trek for doing some of their manufacturing in China - They manufacture all their high end bikes in Waterloo and have hundreds of employees there (400 / 600 ?). In addition, they have stores and salespeople all over the country, export product around the world and are a pretty good example of success, taxes and US jobs.

There are plenty of other things to criticize Burke about. The use of some Chinese manufacturing for the low-end bikes is balanced by all the manufacturing, sales, marketing, engineering and finance jobs in Waterloo.

Oct 21, 2013 09:47 am
 Posted by  David Blaska

Yes, Jim Rowen "functioned perfectly well as a reporter." Especially at the old Milwaukee Journal. So did Matt Pommer at The Capital Times, Rich Eggleston at the AP, and Judy Davidoff at your old shop. Each of them were careful to seek comments from people they might have portrayed in a negative light. So did Dan Rather at CBS, Jonathan Alter at Newsweek, and Dana Milbank at the Washington Post. The problem was the people shown in that negative light were invariably conservatives/Republicans. Besides last words, they also offered their victims a cigarette and a blindfold. There is a reason the news media is held in low regard by conservatives. What was the New York Times' expose a few Sundays ago? The supposed epidemic of gun deaths among children. Subject matter, presentation, choice of quotes and persons to quote -- all are tricks of the trade of the biased journalist, Marc.

Oct 21, 2013 12:39 pm
 Posted by  JNT

"John Nichols would misquote Tom Jefferson."

Do you have any examples of John Nichols actually misquoting Thomas Jefferson? Or is this just supposed to be hyperbole, as in "If John Nichols were to quote Thomas Jefferson in a defense of Mary Burke, then the quote would surely be fictitious?".

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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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