Sunday, October 29, 2006

Stamps of Approval

Hello again, Best of the Blogs readers. Welcome to Page Two.

I shook hands with Governor Jim Doyle yesterday, as he pressed the flesh outside Camp Randall Stadium before the Badger game. You can't help feeling for Doyle a little bit, if only because the man wears an expression of smiling through pain, as though he'd been suffering from hemorrhoids for 10 years. But he had to be heartened by the long line of people waiting, many of whom wished him luck, which he's going to need.

Doyle got the Wisconsin State Journal's endorsement today, which didn't surprise me all that much. The Journal is pretty Republican most of the time, but they're also prone to occasional bouts of good sense. Doyle's opponent, Green Bay Congressman Mark Green, would have to be a lot more moderate than he's trying to seem on TV to have been a plausible contender for their endorsement.

Although he was one of Tom DeLay's loyal soldiers in Congress, Green has spent a lot of time trying to portray himself as a regular guy with regular views. Example: His new TV ad has gone live in the last couple of days, and I expect to see it a lot during the Packer game this afternoon. It features former gov Tommy Thompson against a white background, describing Wisconsin during his term as a free-market paradise in which jobs went begging because the economy was so prosperous, and where all those welfare freeloaders had been made productive members of society at bayonet point. (Welfare reform was one of Thompson's major accomplishments in office.) The only text that appears in the ad is this: "Green supports stem-cell research." Which is true, except it's the kind of stem-cell research that is the least promising--he opposes embryonic stem-cell research, which brings him straight in line with the wingnuts.

The WSJ also endorsed Repug Dave Magnum over incumbent Tammy Baldwin in the Second Congressional District. They endorsed Magnum in 2004 also, and he lost by nearly 30 points. This year's endorsement, which touts Magnum's centrism (he favors embryonic stem-cell research, for example, and opposes a harsh crackdown on illegal immigration) and criticizes Baldwin as ineffective because she's so far left-of-center. But if Magnum were elected, he'd be just as ineffective, precisely because his views are so far left-of-center in today's Republican Party. Plus, as I've already said, he'd be a backbencher in what could be the minority party.

I am a huge fan of Baldwin's, because I've never been represented by a legislator whose votes so consistenly reflect my own views. But then again, I'm a goddamn pinko atheist.

Also: I've heard from Iowa that the Des Moines Register, the state's largest newspaper, has endorsed Democrat Chet Culver over Congressman Jim Nussle, and in my old Congressional district, Jim Leach over Dave Loebsack. In just as head-scratching a way as the WSJ did with Magnum, the Register touts Leach's moderation, even though as far as the GOP caucus in the House is concerned, moderation went out with high-button shoes. The paper does drop the hammer on Steve King, though, saying it was wrong to have endorsed him in 2002 and 2004, and calling him "an embarrassment to Iowa." Yeah, I'd say so.

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