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Blue Jean Nation "More scaffold than platform" PDF Print E-mail
State & Local
Written by Mike McCabe, Blue Jean Nation   
Friday, 17 February 2017 10:09

dems-v-repubThe platforms created by both the Republican and Democratic Parties last year are excessively wordy campaign advertisements with nothing enduring or permanent to say. Neither is likely to satisfy the strong yearning Americans have for a government that serves them for the benefit of all.


ALTOONA, WI - For one week a year, party platforms are relevant . . . to a few thousand people who are delegates to their party’s convention. More than 300 million other Americans pay them no mind that week or any other. The Sunday morning TV news programs don’t examine them. The radio talk show hosts don’t discuss them. After all the balloons and confetti have dropped and the conventions have broken up, even party insiders stop paying any attention to their own platforms. Candidates don’t follow them. Neither do elected office holders as they conduct the public’s business. Anyone willing to actually read the major party platforms can see why.

Reading the platforms is a painful exercise. They are dreadfully long. Page after page induces the gag reflex. They are excessively wordy campaign advertisements aimed at influencing who knows who. What becomes clear as you plow through them is that there is nothing enduring or permanent about them. They really are scaffolds, not platforms.

The Republican scaffold drones on for nearly 60 pages and in it the party declares itself the “Great Opportunity Party.” It takes repeated swipes at President Obama, insisting that for “the past 8 years America has been led in the wrong direction” but making no acknowledgement that Republicans held a majority of seats in Congress and controlled most of the nation’s statehouses for nearly that entire time.

The authors boast the document “lays out — in clear language — the path to making America great and united again.” It goes on to call for everything from “protection against an electromagnetic pulse” to “confronting Internet tyranny.” There’s a section on Africa that touts “AIDS relief under PEPFAR” without explanation. There is a reference to the “Dodd-Frank law, the Democrats’ legislative Godzilla” with no description of what the law is or does or fails to do. In another whack at Obama, it refers to the “Solyndra debacle” and assumes readers remember what that was.

Last Updated on Friday, 17 February 2017 14:33
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Wisconsin Democracy Campaign "Take Action: No blank checks!" PDF Print E-mail
State & Local
Written by Matt Rothschild, Wisconsin Democracy Campaign   
Thursday, 16 February 2017 15:57

capitol-night-wiscMADISON - It’s outrageous that the Republican leadership in Madison gave a blank check to two pricey law firms to contest the ruling from a panel of federal judges ordering them to redraw the district maps they rigged last time around. I’m asking you to contact your legislator, or the Speaker and Senate Majority Leader, and demand that they not waste your money this way:

Take Action: No blank check!

Amid all the budget proposals he made last week, Gov. Walker snuck in a couple items that will further chip away at clean and open government, which has been one of his favorite targets. Here are the latest assaults:

Walker slashes good government boards

On the special interest front, we’ve discovered that some of the big vegetable growers donated tens of thousands of dollars to the legislative campaign committees—donations that, until November 2015, were illegal:

Mega farms slather legislators, fundraising committees with cash

Hey, don’t forget! Tuesday is Election Day, and the big statewide race is for superintendent of schools. Here are the largest individual donors to the candidates:

Campaign 2017 updated

You may have other races in your area. For instance, there are primaries for circuit court judge in Manitowoc, Polk, and Trempealeau counties. For information about what is on your ballot, visit https://MyVote.wi.gov.

Before I sign off for this week, I’d just like to say that I’m encouraged by all the displays of nonviolent resistance across the country to the authoritarian moves coming out of the White House. These give me – and I hope they give you – hope that our democracy will withstand the current threats.

Best,

Matt Rothschild
Executive Director
This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

*****

P.S. Please send us a tax-deductible donation today so we can press on with our urgent work in defense of democracy. Just click here. Thanks!

Last Updated on Thursday, 16 February 2017 16:31
 
Wisconsin Has A Proud Legacy to Build On PDF Print E-mail
State & Local
Written by Janet Bewley, State Senator Dist 25   
Friday, 10 February 2017 16:19

wisc-dairy-farmGov. Walker talked this week about "working and winning", but his plan is to continue borrowing and raiding Peter to pay Paul. Our priority must be Wisconsin’s roads, schools and jobs. Wisconsinites never have, and never will stop putting in a hard day’s work.

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Blue Jean Nation "Messaging isn’t half the solution" PDF Print E-mail
State & Local
Written by Mike McCabe, Blue Jean Nation   
Friday, 10 February 2017 13:36

kellyanne-conwayMessaging is a popular buzzword in today's political circles, but real leading is done by example. When people see public service treated as preparation for cushy jobs on K Street or elsewhere, actions speak louder than words.


ALTOONA, WI - In this post-truth, alternative-fact world, “messaging” is a popular buzzword in political circles. Those who win are convinced superior messaging is the secret of their success. Those who lose are convinced that faulty messaging was their downfall and all they need to do to win is get better at it. There are messaging gurus on both sides. They get a lot of attention and make a lot of money doling out advice.

debbie_wasserman_schultzMessaging has become something of an obsession, especially on the Democratic side. To hear Democratic insiders tell it, bad messaging is why their party has lost power all across the country and improved messaging will bring about a Democratic resurgence. It won’t. At least not on its own.

Don’t get me wrong here. Effective communication is pretty darned important in politics. But if you stand for nothing, it doesn’t matter how clever and polished your messaging is. Your message is still about nothing. If your ideas have gone bad or your steps take you in the wrong direction, sweet words can’t rescue sour thinking or rotten actions. If the messenger isn’t trusted, the message will be rejected no matter how artfully it is expressed.

As recently as a generation ago, public service was widely seen as noble. Many if not most Americans no longer think of public service that way because they have a hard time seeing today’s elected officials as public servants. The best imaginable messaging can’t change that. Saying over and over again that public service is noble won’t make people think it is. They’ve seen too much evidence of self dealing and ladder climbing and nest feathering. They’ve seen too many public offices used as stepping stones to far more lucrative gigs. They see the revolving door. They see career politicians holding some office one day and then trading on the connections they’ve made the next to pull in $250 or $300 an hour or more as lobbyists or campaign consultants.

It does no good to tell people of the value of public service. They have to be shown. Leadership is required. Messaging is a lot of things, but it is not leadership. Real leading is done by example. When people see public service treated as preparation for cushy jobs on K Street or elsewhere in the political industrial complex paying six- and seven-figure salaries, that example trumps any messaging to the contrary. The only way to restore faith in public service is to replace countless self-serving acts of “me politics” with public-spirited acts of “we politics.”

No matter how much the messaging gurus are paid to persuade us to think otherwise, what generations of parents have been teaching their children still rings true. Actions speak louder than words.

— Mike McCabe

Last Updated on Friday, 10 February 2017 14:24
 
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