They’re putting a smoking gun in Tom Barrett’s hand

One of the sacred commandments of politicking is to never interrupt your opponent when he is busy committing suicide. Another is to never interrupt a pig fight.

Our acquaintances on the Michael Moore/Jesse Jackson side of the political spectrum have the long knives out for the putative Democrat(ic) frontrunner in the gubernatorial recall election, one Tom Barrett. (Still feels strange writing that.)

Comrade John Nichols is calling the Milwaukee mayor “dishonest.”

“Announcing the Friday before an election for one job that you are going to run for another job is not the way to be honest with voters.”

PR types know that 4 p.m. on a Friday, when Barrett announced, in writing — sans fanfare, hoopla, or TV visuals — is usually time to dump the trash.

Jay Bullock at Blogging Blue damns by faint praise: “I like Barrett in many ways. He hasn’t been actively bad at running Milwaukee, for example.” Now there is a rallying cry worthy of Prince Hal’s speech before the Battle of Agincourt.

Blogger Publius No. 9 is typical: “The grassroots don't like him because he cozies up to special interests and Chicago politics. … The only difference Barrett brings to the campaign is a disconnect with unions.”

Public employee unions demand purity of thought and deed. A Milwaukee teachers union that refuses to sacrifice some of its pay raise (yes, a pay raise!) to reduce class size is not likely to bother with the fine distinctions. (The Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel has the background.) Tell me again that the teachers unions are all about the kids?

The same hard left is attacking Barrett with a video posted by a Stephen Richardson that is going viral.

Says the video: “While hundreds of thousands of Wisconsinites were standing up against Scott Walker's power grab, and 14 Democrat heroes had their backs and stood up in solidarity to put on the brakes, Tom Barrett was on right-wing radio laying out the blueprint to ram through Act 10.”

It quotes Barrett, appearing on Charlie Sykes’ Milwaukee radio show: “The bill will pass and the bill should pass.”

The Lefty blog Blue Cheddar offers a more nuanced take: that Barrett wanted the cuts in benefits but not the curbs on collective bargaining. But the point is – as Charlie notes on his blog – “this was put together by Lefties … not by me.”

The video is 1:34 minutes:

It is pronounced “de-BOCK-el”

It was a complete drubbing, a demoralizing gut punch, Tuesday’s Dane County election results.

“The complete dismantling of the conservative movement in Dane County,” county exec Joe Parisi crowed, according to The Capital Times.

The Dane County Board went from 23-14 liberal-conservative to 28-9 (and two of those nine are softer that a DQ drippy cone). Next stop, the Politburo! What a far cry from 1992-96 when conservatives held the majority. (Those were the days, my friends.)

Three long-serving incumbents lost last night: Jack Martz in Fitchburg, Mike Willett in Verona, and Don Imhoff in SE Madison. Only one challenged conservative won: Ronn Ferrell in SW Madison. He has to be the leader of his diminished and persecuted tribe. Study him well, conservatives. Follow his lead.

Libs held their four challenged incumbents and won six of seven open seats. The exception was Oregon, where Jerry Bollig retained the Jerry Jensen/Lyman Anderson seat.

Wha’ happened? Here are the conclusions of the Blaska Policy Research Center and Herpetarium:

1) Libs redistricted two strong incumbents out of their seats: Eileen Bruskewitz in Westport-Waunakee and Duane Gau in Sun Prairie.

2) No unified message. Not until 10 days before election day was one developed, and it was unmemorable and generic at that. What’s more, each individual candidate has to work up his or her literature from scratch. Lib lit is pre-fabbed, ready to mail.

3) Partisan politics. Lib board chairman Scottie McD said that Tuesday “broke the back of the Republican Party in Dane County.” Actually, several of the conservatives are or were Democrats. Conservative Democrats. But the Dane County party long ago “nationalized” the supposedly non-partisan county board, tapping into the left’s hatred of, first, George W. Bush and, in this year of recall elections, Scott Walker. That explains why Roger Allen, appointed circuit judge by the governor, lost to the much less qualified (according to the Bar Association) Ellen Berz.

4) No money. Campaign contributions were down 40% to 50%. The recalls and presidential and U.S. Senate primaries sucked the oxygen out of the room.

5) No institutional base. Libs have the county exec’s office and the board chairmanship for organizational direction, a partisan sheriff for cover on law and order, and unions for money, phone banks, and boots on the ground. The Lesser Madison Chamber of Commerce was, reverting to form, a complete no-show.

6) Local elections are retail, not wholesale. “You win on the ground, not from 10,000 feet – by seeing people at the doors,” Ronn Ferrell told me. The winner of a third two-year term said some of his constituents placed his yard signs next to their Recall Walker signs. Many of our candidates got outworked and lacked the supporting foot soldiers enjoyed by the libs.

Parting shots:

• Wish Mary Burke – with her money, name ID, and connections – had taken on Madison School Board president Arlene Silveira instead of running for the open seat. The upshot is that the school board remains 5-2 against Madison Prep, status quo ante.

• For the last five nights, a raccoon has visited Stately Blaska Manor, looking in through the floor windows of the four-season porch. Monday night he seemed to dance with joy upon discovering a cracker I left for him on the patio just on the other side of the glass from the amused higher life forms inside and Leo, the outraged cat.

• I did a quick spot on The Takeaway, a syndicated radio show based in NYC, early Election Day morning. Host John Hockenberry commiserated with my being a conservative in Madison, Wis. I responded, “It’s okay, I’m well armed.”

Before going on to the next interview, Hockenberry said, “He’s just kidding about being armed.”

Why would he say that?

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