PolitiFact correctly slams Tommy Thompson's campaign with a "Pants on Fire" rating for claiming it was not responsible for a senior, veteran media staffer who sent out a gay-baiting Tweet and video link on a campaign account that was aimed at Democratic opponent Tammy Baldwin:
Our ratingSo good for PolitiFact, though it's too bad that the rating service doesn't have a shaming or disgracing graphic, because that's what Tommy and his campaign deserve.
A Thompson consultant [Darrin Schmitz] said the campaign was not responsible for an email that criticized Baldwin as not representing "heartland values."
But the email came from the campaign’s chief spokesman on a campaign account at a key political moment in the campaign. It was sent to conservative bloggers and others. It was clearly meant to draw attention to the video of Baldwin’s appearance at the gay pride event.
The average reader of the email got the message loud and clear: Thompson’s campaign was criticizing Baldwin.
Schmitz’s statement is false, and it’s ridiculous. We rate it Pants on Fire.
For one thing, Thompson said in the 2007 presidential debates (yes, he actually ran for President before failing miserably) that employers with a moral objection to homosexuality should be able to fire gay workers, so we've heard this garbage from Tommy before.
And in this current episode of gay-bashing, Tommy and his crew knew full well they were employing a sleazy tactic.
And knew, as campaign veterans, that their tactics would be slammed continually by some media further for subsequently trying to paper over them over, but they made the calculus by waiting days after the Tammy Baldwin dirty work was done that whatever media hits they absorbed would be worth the clear dog-whistling signal to the GOP's intolerant, fearful and homophobic base.
Apologies don't undo the damage. Sure - - he walked back his 2007 anti-gay position, but how many chances does a forgiving electorate offer?
Tommy Thompson's ego-driven, win-at-any-cost 2012 turn to the Right at this stage of his long political career and pathetic grasp after one last fancy title and power-position - - this additional presidential campaign outrage five years ago (followed by explanations, apologies, etc. etc.) should have been the end of his career - - has been nothing short of nightmarish to watch.
More and more, Tommy is talking to an empty chair, degrading himself and demeaning the political process in a state that needs recovery, not fresh wounds.
Even if he wins the Senate seat, he's the biggest loser.
A version of this posting appears on the Purple Wisconsin site.