Incumbent Governor Jim Doyle was comfortably reelected to a second term, 52.7% to Green's 45.31%
Jim Doyle and Mark Green met tonight at a forum sponsored, like the first, by We the People. It took place in La Crosse and was their final discussion before election day. Apparently, it was this
forum that was reserved for education and health care, with the second an open banquet of issues. Even so, questions regarding corrections, ethics and energy policy were raised as well. The format seemed to encourage such free-flowing dialogue between and among the candidates.
Both men appeared much more upbeat than last time. Mark Green actually was at his best of all three events. He is really approaching an okay performance. Maybe if 79 more such events were held, he would reach it. The following is a sample of another lousy night for Mr. Green:
He wasted his time, and the governor's in rebuttal, repeating over and over again that the number of uninsured in the state is rising, as are health care costs.
The company he mentioned to support his case for H.S.A. reform employees seventeen people. Before embarking on reform, maybe Mr. Green should look at a larger set of people and firms.
We were put through yet another lecture on how "spending cut" does not equal "reducing the growth of government." If the State is forced to layoff X number of teachers regardless of how we define it, what is the difference?
According to Mark, medical transparency will result in more "consumer-driven" health care. This notion has become a pillar in the Right's free-market ideology lately and is based on the mistaken belief that competition is possible in most areas of health care. H.S.A.s, of course, also stem from this foolish idea.
Green brought the ad. wars into the theatre by gathering political points, twice, on Doyle's connection to indian gaming contracts.
And finally, on the very complex (and intractable) problem of the educational achievement gap between blacks and whites, we got to sit through a story about some black kid that Mark will go to bat for. Awwwww, how goofy.
Doyle did well, yet again, but slipped up twice.
The governor implied that Green thought H.S.A.s were not provided here in Wisconsin. Nobody suggested otherwise.
Doyle failed to specifically answer a question on whether or not he would repeal the moritorium on nuclear power in the state.
On the whole, I am grateful that the debates are over. More importantly, I am glad that both candidates conducted themselves in a civil and respectful way, for the most part. Update
The Governor and his opponent, Representative Mark Green, met tonight for a second of three discussions down at the lakefront. The ostenible issue space was education and health care, but the number of topics was, in fact, far larger - everything from abortion to tax policy. Curiously, both candidates looked rather tired and pale, as if this was something they had to do
. Green's performance tonight was only marginally better than the first discussion's. We finally learned from him that governing a State is more complex and intricate than just cutting property taxes. However, tonight was yet more of the same from Mr. Green.
The number one cause of crime in Milwaukee? Criminals. This should be an issue where Mark can gain some traction and he stumbled badly on it instead.
His pro-life position was so "out there" that I had difficulty understanding it at all. According to Mark, abortion is a safety net, but not in the way of preventing women from undergoing them in unregulated, unsafe "clinics." Goofy and lame, much less agreeable.
Mark feels that the environment is a non-partisan issue. Yeah, and George Bush and Al Gore agree on what should be done to slow global warming.
Green chided the Governor on his veto of tax deductibility for contributions made to health savings accounts, because he wants to encourage "consumer-driven" health care. Much could be said about this, but suffice it to say, H.S.A.s are a foolish way to reform America's health care system. Encouraging them, while diverting attention away from proposals that would cover catastrophic care for the uninsured, is simply worse.
Mark still maintains the delusion that any significant tax relief of any kind will flow from tweaking a State contract here, and merging an economic development board there. These are things that perhaps should be done, but expecting the result to impact anyone's tax bill at all is foolish indeed.
The Governor has, apparently, been responsible for turning embryonic stem cell research into a political issue. Well, Mark, you and Jim seem to disagree, therefore, by implication it is an issue. And, you are both politicians, therefore, it would seem, also, to be a political issue.
And finally, he repeated, three times, at the beginning of a response to a reporter's question, the line "That's a lot in a minute and a half..." This is becoming a trademark of Mark's, and left me thinking "Why would you say something like that?" Is Mark feeling overwhelmed? Is he trying to prove to the audience that he knows the issue? What?
Another lousy performance by Green tonight and another reason why he is down five points in the polls
, but, again, his performance could have been worse, much worse.
What with the recent spike in well-publicized school violence, there is currently a bill in the legislature that would permit concealed-carry for teachers. I was pleased to see that Mark did not pander to the base here, and would veto any such bill.
The centerpiece of his opening statement concerned "brain drain." Although nothing specific was aired, he did prioritize it well and managed to avoid linking it to the property tax boogeyman.
All in all, Green did a bit better, while Doyle did a bit worse than the first discussion tonight. I observed it, like the first, at a party thrown by the Democratic Party and who was the host this evening? None other than our fearless Mayor, Larry Nelson, who was appointed by the Governor to host it. When Green would utter the line "If you believe that such and such
is okay, then I'm not your candidate," Larry often responded "You're right! You're not!" That had everyone there laughing. We could afford to. Doyle has maintained a five percentage point lead in the polls since early summer. The last poll to show Green ahead, though not statistically, was conducted on June 4.Update
Tonight, right here in the Waukesha area, Governor Jim Doyle and Congressman Mark Green discussed the broad issues of the state's economy and tax policy. This was their first of two such discussions. Needless to say, the Governor performed well - not picture perfect, but well. It also goes without saying that Green did worse, much worse. In fact, Green was downright lousy tonight in his performance. Indeed, at times, he appeared simply ridiculous. The following is a small sample of what I mean:
By cutting taxes, Green would increase our freedom. Gee, by that logic, why have taxes at all?
It seems, according to Mark, that taxes are the root of all our problems here in Wisconsin.
The solution to brain drain? Lower property taxes.Bright, educated young people and wealthy seniors leaving the State causes "disruption" of families, according to Mark. Yeah, those long-distance phone calls and cheap airfares are just so inconvenient. Mark, please stop adjusting your hearing aide, like you do not know where you are.
The solution to "senior drain", and the venture capital they take with them? Lower property taxes.
The solution to sluggish job growth? Lower property taxes.
And, boy, those internet home businesses are just so burdened by high property taxes. Are Republicans really this gullible?
On State unfunded mandates on local government, his response was so garbled that I had to stop listening to it in order to retain my sanity.
Wrapping up, Mark wants "to fall in love all over again with the State." This goes way beyond eye-rolling, or even bursting out in laughter. I sat there numb, as if feeling total disbelief a candidate for anything could say that sincerely.
A solidly lousy night for Green, but not disastrous - he did get a few things right.
He called the Governor on the dire straits faced by Milwaukee County over his first term: population loss, ongoing deindustrialization, etc. He even agreed with Doyle that more innovations need to be undertaken on matching workers with available jobs. This point took some wind from Doyle, and he was left stammering "I take responsibility."
Mark brought up some plausible ideas for improving efficiency in State government, like tightening up some I.T. contracts and consolidating economic development agencies. Straight from the old waste-fraud-abuse playbook, but at least they were listenable.
The incumbent did a much better job in stressing the fiscal mess dumped on him by the last Republican governor, Scott McCallum. Of course, his claim that he repaired the budget without raising taxes is technically correct, but almost certainly wrong in spirit. Fees throughout the State were raised and funds were shifted out of the transportation fund into the general fund, thus increasing future gas taxes. Green pointed all of this out. The problem is that he has no alternative. This
, Doyle pointed out. We all would like to pay lower property taxes under a stronger "freeze." But at the cost of slashing budgets in every school district in the State of Wisconsin?
Tomorrow the Doyle/Lawton reelection campaign will present its first television spot, entitled "Promise." See it here
(W.M.P. - 3.8 mg). The following is a transcript.
Jessica Doyle: He joined the peace corps with me, taught in Africa and learned the power of education.
David Kruger: He closed the biggest deficit ever - balanced the budget.
Sheila Drury: He signed one of the toughest sex predator laws in the nation to protect our kids.
Brandon Casey: He doubled financial aid for college.
Nathan Johnston: He passed tough property tax limits and our bill actually went down.
Mike Killian: He's brought in new business, helping to create 140,000 new jobs.
Erica Gottschalk: He's requiring a third year of high school math and science to give our kids an edge.
Todd Brien: He kept his promise not to raise taxes because he knows we pay enough already.
Bill Breidenstein: He saved SeniorCare for 100,000 seniors.
Maddy Montgomery: He stopped extreme lawmakers from making stem cell research illegal, and raised millions so scientists can one day find a cure for my daughter's diabetes [Cuts to Jody Montgomery].
Mike Killian: He knows there's still a lot more to do.
Erica Gottschalk: He's our governor.
Nathan Johnston: Jim Doyle.
Brandon Casey: Jim Doyle.
Todd Brien: Jim Doyle.
Erica Gottschalk: Jim Doyle. [Cuts to the Governor] Doing the right thing for Wisconsin.
The dialogue is, of course, set against cheery, optimistic audio. Overall, I am satisfied with its quality, and it should be well-received by the public. Hopefully, each campaign will respect one another's boundaries and not go negative, at least not this early in the campaign.Jim Doyle