Monday, April 24, 2006

Vouchers and Revenue: The Two Biggest Issues Facing America’s Families?

The Coalition for America’s Families (CFAF), a well-funded conservative advocacy group whose name is hardly applicable, has jumped out of the woodwork to start a statewide radio ad campaign that simultaneously attacks Jim Doyle and urges support for an amendment to restrict public revenue in Wisconsin.

Many may recognize CFAF from its role in the school voucher debate a few months back. It’s the group that picked-up and distributed statewide the ridiculous ad by Charlie Sykes and Mikel Holt that alleged Jim Doyle was akin to racist governors like Orville Faubus and George Wallace because he didn’t want to blow the cap off the voucher program.

(And, if you haven’t seen them already, the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel has published a couple of good articles in the last two days, here and here, that demonstrate exactly why blowing the cap off the voucher program would’ve been a really bad idea.)

CFAF is certainly no stranger to running anti-Doyle ads. Last year at about this time the group drew some heat for publishing an anti-immigration television ad and another TV spot that blatantly mischaracterized Doyle's support for domestic partner benefits.

The radio ad CFAF is pushing now is about par for the course.

First, it makes it seem like the revenue amendment is about limiting property taxes, which is just not true. This amendment is about restricting nearly all government revenue. There’s a big difference.

Second, it makes it seem like Jim Doyle and “the teachers’ union in Madison” are the only opposition to the revenue amendment in the state. As this list makes clear, that’s hardly the case.

Third, as you’ll notice from the list above, Jim Doyle isn’t on it. To be sure, Doyle has refrained from publishing a formal statement on the revenue amendment because he has nothing to do with its passage—aside from voting on it like every other citizen in the state if it ever makes it to the voters (which is highly unlikely, particularly in its current form).

Mark Green, on the other hand, is trying his best to use his support for the amendment as proof that he’s willing to go all the way with the far fiscal right in the state. Charlie Sykes was hoping that this support from Green would provide some necessary leadership to drive the amendment through the legislature.

Unfortunately, the problems with the amendment have nothing to do with leadership—they stem from ideology. More specifically, Sykes & Co. are on the extreme right while the majority of the state GOP is moderate. No amount of leadership is going to change that.

Nevertheless, welcome back to the public debate, CFAF.

We’ll just go ahead and assume that America’s families haven't faced any other issues this year besides school vouchers and restricting governmental revenue...oh, and let's not forget campaigning for Mark Green.

Side-Note: The new anti-Doyle radio campaign by CFAF also makes this post by Brian Fraley look even more ridiculous.

UPDATE: As usual, I wasn't the first to cover this issue. Xoff had a post on it late Friday. I need to quit tuning out so much over the weekend--it leaves way too much ground to cover for a Monday morning.


Blogger Jay Bullock said...

Doyle doesn't even have anything to do with a potential amendment. It does not take his signature. This is pure campaigning . . .

April 24, 2006  
Blogger Seth Zlotocha said...


It doesn't seem to be stopping Mark Green from making it his #1 campaign issue--something that I think might backfire on him.

Proponents of the amendment are trying to make it out like a lack of leadership is the cause for the amendment's woes, but that has nothing to do with it. If constituent support was behind this in GOP districts, GOP legislators would surely vote for it.

By buying into the fringe elements of the party, Green could risk alienating the moderates--which is exactly why he hasn't explicitly stated in any of his campaign stops recently that he favors the Grothman/Wood version of the amendment (although his press releases over the last few months say differently).

But this hedging could then hurt him with the far fiscal right because they could turn on him for not being able to turn the tables on the amendment's fortunes (an impossible task because it's about ideology, not leadership).

Choosing that tightrope walk as your #1 campaign issue is risky business.

Makes for good entertainment from our seats, though.

April 24, 2006  
Blogger Dailytakes said...

Yeah, education in the state's largest city (where half the kids in public schools don't graduate) and tax and spending restraint through revenue controls don't matter to Wisconsin families at all.

April 24, 2006  
Blogger Seth Zlotocha said...

Please, Brian. CFAF is a GOP front-group, plain and simple.

Every issue out there in some way matters to families. But that doesn't mean it's accurate or appropriate that any advocacy group--particularly one that's so blatantly partisan--add "for Families" to its name.

How would you respond if WEAC changed its name to Wisconsin Educators for Families? After all, as you point out, education matters to families, right?

And, hey, no comment on that "sick feeling" you had that liberal groups were going to start going for Green's knees any day now?

Allow me to refresh your memory on what you wrote: "There are six weeks until Memorial Day and I would be shocked if we didn't hear from the shadow groups before then. I would not be suprised to see spots run before May 1st."

Well, now we've heard from a shadow group--and before May 1, just like you predicted. Tell me, though, do you feel sick about it?

April 25, 2006  

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