Is Mary Burke working for the Walker campaign?

I hate to be the kind of knee-jerk yahoo who declares victory (or rather defeat) months before the issue is settled, but I’m gravely concerned about Mary Burke’s campaign.

Now, there can be no doubt that reality — when it finally arrives — often makes fools of us. Smart, well-informed people predict lots of things that never come to pass, and occasionally uninformed folks get something right.

For instance, when Sarah Palin correctly predicted that Vladimir Putin would make an incursion into Ukraine, it wasn’t because she was suddenly a whiz in geopolitics, or knew where Ukraine was, or who Vladimir Putin is, or what, exactly, “incursion” means. She was flapping her gums like the lunatic she is, and something true accidentally leaked out of her brain stem; through a foot and a half of lead-titanium, blast-proof skull; and past her smug, witless, million-dollar smile. (Those patting Palin on the back for getting one right should also acknowledge that she recently said, with regard to Putin — and without discernible irony — “The only thing that stops a bad guy with a nuke is a good guy with a nuke.” Okay, Sarah. Go back to sleep now.)

So to bury Burke with almost eight months of campaigning to go would be the height of foolishness. That said, what is her campaign doing?

First of all, where is the excitement? Where is the buzz? Where is the groundswell of support from the huge segment of the population that would like to see Scott Walker baked into a giant Christmas rum cake and thrown into a sarlacc pit with an alcoholic fruit bat duct-taped to his forehead?

More importantly, why is she running ads that simply aren’t true?

Burke’s campaign earned the candidate her second Politifact “Pants on Fire” of the young election season when it ran an ad claiming unemployment was up from 4.8% to 6.2% under Walker. Actually, it’s down. That’s not because of Walker, of course. It’s down everywhere. If we’d elected a cardboard cutout of Mark Neumann strapped to a Roomba, it would still be down. Such was the economic devastation wrought by the Bush administration. There was nowhere for the unemployment rate to go but down.

By running an ad that was so blatantly, demonstrably false, Burke yielded to Scott Walker (whose own PolitiFact record is dreadful) the moral high ground.


Not only that, she’s made herself less credible when it comes to criticizing Walker’s subpar (and that’s putting it charitably) job-creation efforts.



Walker can be beat. There’s no question about that. The John Doe II noose could be tightening as we speak, and the recent Walker email dump gave the governor a pretty ugly black eye. In fact, the latest poll by Rasmussenwhich tends to have a right-wing bias — has Walker and Burke in a dead heat, at 45%-45%.

So the governorship is there for the taking. My advice? Remind people that Walker signed that odious transvaginal ultrasound bill, opposes abortion even in the cases of rape and incest, and thinks teachers and other public workers are lazy, overpaid drains on society.

Come on, Mary. Walker is vulnerable. Get your head in the game.

The rise of Obamacare

I guess you’d say I’m a contrarian on Obamacare. Even when was doing its month-long impression of me locked in a Guinness warehouse on St. Patrick’s Day, I didn’t panic. Despite the unrelenting Republican sabotage, calumny, and parade of fake Obamacare horror stories (like, for instance, this one), I continue to believe the law will succeed. As with the Burke campaign, the inevitable hiccups represent just a small part of the story.

But I’m not the only one who thinks Obamacare is destined to ultimately win the day. The investing class is betting on its success as well. According to a recent Bloomberg story, an online broker known as Motif Investing is giving investors a chance to bet on one of two “motifs” — either that Obamacare will survive or Obamacare will collapse. So far, investors are betting that Obamacare is here to stay:

Two of the hottest motifs right now are Obamacare and repeal Obamacare, [Motif co-founder and former Microsoft executive, Hardeep] Walia says. They represent, respectively, the idea that the law will succeed and that it will fail. The Obamacare motif is made up of hospitals, generic-drug makers, pharmacy-benefit managers, and companies specializing in electronic medical records, all of which stand to gain from the Affordable Care Act’s emphasis on cost control and its guarantee of payment. “Before the law, 30 percent of hospitals’ revenue was unbilled because you could walk into an ER and not pay,” Walia says. “They’re now paid by the U.S. government.” The Obamacare motif is up 46.9 percent in the past year, doubling the performance of the Standard & Poor’s 500-stock index (up 22.8 percent).

Repeal Obamacare is composed of companies that would benefit from the law’s demise, mainly medical device manufacturers, which the ACA saddles with a 2.3 percent excise tax; assisted-living and home health-care providers, which will suffer from reduced Medicare and Medicaid reimbursement rates; and medical diagnostics equipment and services providers, which may encounter reduced demand as a result of the law’s efforts to curb unnecessary testing. The repeal Obamacare motif has risen just 13.8 percent in the past year.

So there you go. The wisdom of the free market says Obamacare will prevail. What I really want, though, is a way to short-sell the Republican Party. Maybe some enterprising upstart broker can make that happen as well.

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