Sunday, August 28, 2011

Wisconsin Republicans Get Ready For Their Year Of Living Destructively

Monday should bring the news that GOP conservative Mark Neumann is entering the race for the US Senate seat that Democrat Herb Kohl will be vacating in January, 2013.

This will put the spotlight on the Right's factions and fault lines, and weaken a Republican Party that also has to defend Scott Walker against a probable recall effort as the race for the Senate seat makes demands on conservative activists and donors.

Neumann's far-right pals at the Club for Growth have already been running snarky ads against another likely candidate, the unacceptably moderate former Gov. Tommy Thompson.

Tommy has spent the last few years working in law firms and on business boards and making money, but he clearly wants back in the game and on the campaign trail and into a resume-padding big electoral retirement job. 

Neumann, a home builder, can finance much of a campaign with his own resources, as he did in his recent gubernatorial primary loss to Scott Walker - - a race he ran rather clumsily against the eventual winner that embittered some Walkerites, so I'd expect them to do their best to undercut Neumann now.

Does that mean they line up with Tommy?

Some will. Former unofficial Thompson Deputy Gov. Jim Klauser is already softening Neumann up. 

Klauser began the GOP gubernatorial primary season in Neumann's camp, then defected to Walker. Let's just say that Ronald Reagan's admonition to Republicans to avoid internal criticism is somewhat oversold.

So don't discount the impact of another Senator wannabe who is waiting in the wings: That would be Jeff Fitzgerald, the ultra-conservative State Assembly Speaker, who fits somewhere between the Tea Partyish, mavericky (quirky?), baggage-laden Neumann and establishment figure Thompson.

So we have these three well-known, well-connected, well-financed Republicans vying for the heart of a base from Waukesha to the Fox Valley that has moved farther to the right since Tommy's glory years.

Back then, he was something of a consensus figure. These days, the GOP is being driven by the Tea Party, and the Right wants red meat. I don't know if Tommy can fake it, or should even try.

We'll see if his strong suit - - name recognition - - can carry him past talk radio hosts who now call him a RINO (Republican In Name Only), and the Club for Growth's gun-slinging, and party activists who will see him as tea too weak.

And until one of these Republican heavyweights drops out (as Walker strategically did in 2006, deferring to then-Congressman Mark Green, whom Jim Doyle went on to defeat), or another wins the convention endorsement and the primary, the big winner is - - Democrats - - who will watch with glee while backs are stabbed and resources are burned as three Republicans chase a chance to be a junior senator to Ron Johnson.

6 comments:

Jim Bouman said...

Is home builder Neumann's pile of "...his own resources" still a big one, a relible source of cash for a very expensive run for Senate? I just read the Toll Brothers financials/outlook; pretty stinko. My guess is that Neumann will need huge volumes of campaign cash/donations while he hoards what he has left of his own likely-shrinking fortune. Half-finished subdivisions are murder on builders.

Anonymous said...

Seems to me your side has quite a few more fights than our side does.

You have to figure out which one of your b-team members you are going to run against Walker.

You also have to choose a U.S. Senate candidate ... and when I say "you," I mean Madison and Milwaukee Democrats.

Good luck.

Paul Trotter said...

And the perfect storm- the political sociopath is recalled in November.

Anonymous said...

good prospective on the current situation.

gnarlytrombone said...

which one of your b-team members

Mark Neumann is on the A-Team. He plays the part of Howling Mad Murdock.

Annie K. said...

Good heavens
This over confidence is alarming.