Wednesday, July 05, 2006

Mark Green Still Struggling to Find a Campaign Issue

Governor Doyle continues to forge ahead of Mark Green in the message department.

Following up on his BadgerCare Plus plan, Doyle signed an executive order today that initiates a group called the Healthy Wisconsin Council to explore ways to reduce the number of uninsured and overall cost of health care in the state. He's in Eau Claire and Wausau today to discuss the new council.

Green -- on the other hand -- struggled last week on the state budget question, and over the weekend his campaign manager, Mark Graul, tried to slide a line about a budget plan Green has proposed into a newspaper account. Unfortunately, no actual plan can be found on the public record (see the article on Green's lack of a plan here and Graul's attempt at a cover-up here).

Today there's an article in the Journal-Sentinel that touts Green's new-found love of ethics. As recently as last year Green and his staffers gladly accepted multiple "fact-finding" trips each year to decadent locations across the globe, all paid for on the special interest dime.

And then there's that nagging issue of Green staffers accepting NBA tickets in violation of House rules that prohibit taking gifts valued at over $50. The JS article failed to mention that those two tickets were just the tip of the iceberg.

The name Mark Graul, who's Green's current campaign manager and former chief-of-staff, comes up on requests for tickets to a number of events, all courtesy of the now-disgraced lobbyist Jack Abramoff. (Graul only admitted to attending one of the events -- a Milwaukee Bucks game against the Washington Wizards back in 2000.)

This year, though, just in time to run on a clean government platform, there's a strict no gift policy in the Green camp. As the JS article from today concisely notes: "The record shows that Green's push for ethics and lobbying reforms in the nation's capital comes just as he prepares to leave Congress in January."

Green tries to defend his change of heart by saying the public wants reform now -- the inference, of course, being that in the past no one cared about politicians accepting ridiculously generous gifts from special interests with business before Congress.

In actuality, the public was largely unaware of the magnitude of dirt in Congress until the likes of Jack Abramoff and Tom Delay were indicted. If people knew specifically about all of the gifts accepted by Green and others over the years, the outcry would've been heard long ago.

So as Doyle pushes ahead on stem cell research and health care reform -- which are quickly becoming two of the top issues for the governor this election year -- Green continues to struggle to get enough consistent press to solidify a stance on just one issue.

Side-Note: Xoff and Cory Liebmann have more on Green's recent conversion to ethics reform.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Doyle has so many ethical lapses they won't even fit here. Plus - he is dodging the media which makes them angry and go after the story even harder.

Doyle has never been above 45% in the polls and as Green name recognition rises, so do his numbers against Doyle.

If you think another commission on health care is going to take Doyle to the promised land - then you don't know politics...

July 05, 2006  
Blogger Seth Zlotocha said...

It's not just about this one commission, it's about the type of news that's coming out of Doyle's camp. He's not avoiding the media on anything -- he's out on the campaign trail making positive headlines across the state. (I write more about those positive headlines here.)

Green has been trying to step outside of the "attack Doyle" mold these past couple weeks, and he's fallen flat on his face at each turn. He's got a campaign against Doyle (and a pretty weak one at that), but he's doesn't have a campaign for himself. In other words, he's all negative and no positive.

And if you think a challenger with 45% name recognition and 26% approval across the state can defeat an incumbent on weakly-backed attacks alone, then perhaps you don't know politics.

July 05, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

If you talk with any Capitol reporter, you will find out that Doyle is indeed ducking them at all costs. The type of news coming out of the Doyle camp is, surprisingly -pro Doyle. There is an article every day in the MJS questioning Doyle's or Marotta's ethics regarding Adeleman, Prism, or hiring attorneys without going through the AG. If Doyle doesn't deliver Milwaukee by huge margins - he loses, plain and simple.

Why do you think he is sending his sham budget commission to Milwaukee County?

Every poll that compares those both familiar with Green and Doyle - Green is up by ten points. If name recognition is the only hurdle - I can live with that.

In this climate of political change - an ethically-challenged gov that has never polled higher than 45% and is listed by national pundits as very vulnerable is in trouble.

The Green Campaign's only problem now is that the media are focusing on Doyle's government by campaign donation style. But if that is there biggest problem, I am sure they will be fine watching Doyle duck the media and keep himself on fire.

And as for knowing politics - I have been around for awhile - without a 3rd party candidate, Doyle doesn't have the crossover appeal to win.

July 05, 2006  
Blogger Seth Zlotocha said...

As I say to every anonymous commenter who visits the blog and claims to know that Doyle will lose (who knows, maybe you're the same one), I guess we'll need to wait until November to see for sure.

As for the JS, I read it every day, along with most other newspapers in the state, and I haven't seen a thing about Adelman for awhile and Prism amounts to a couple of half-baked articles by Spivak and Bice -- the case was so weak in that one, I don't even think another paper bothered to cover the Prism story. And without another indictment in the Adelman case, which it doesn't look like is gonna happen, the only people keeping that story in the news is the RPW.

As long as Green only screams about Doyle on weakly-backed charges like Adelman and Prism, without also talking about himself in a concise and consistent way, my bet's on the incumbent.

July 05, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Nope - wasn't me - fairly new to this.

If all Green does is bash Doyle, then he will lose. I also believe the Greater Wisconsin Committee and Bill C will potentially cause more harm than good by trying to light Green on fire.

Doyle is in the bunker, however. There will be more stories because he is not answering any questions, and that is not coming from RPW, that is from the reporters themselves.

It will be close, no doubt. I just fail to see what Doyle will due to increase his numbers if he has not increased them over 3.5 years. Is there a magic hat full of rabbits none of us have seen?

July 05, 2006  
Blogger Seth Zlotocha said...

What questions do the reporters still have? Are they regarding Adelman? The RPW are the ones trying to keep that story in the papers -- a couple of weeks back they came up with those ridiculous emails sent by Thompson, the same emails Biskupic already looked through prior to the trial and determined to be nothing. And I think all that RPW press release generated was a lone article in the JS. That was the last I've seen of Adelman in any of the major papers in the state. Granted, I have no doubt reporters would love to see a big breakthrough in the Adelman story -- it sells papers -- but in terms of who's actively working to find every which way to keep it in the headlines, it's the RPW.

Just to reply to a couple points from your previous comment -- the only poll to tally people who claim to know both Green & Doyle was the right-wing Wisconsin Policy Research Institute, and they only publicized that stat (which doesn't appear to be a stand alone question from the poll) because it was the only bright spot for Green in the whole survey. Based on the results, Green's approval rating has only increased by 2 points in the last 8 months while his name recognition increased by 11 points and his disapproval rating jumped by 9 points in the same time frame. Plus, he's getting smoked by Doyle with women voters -- 57 to 30. Green couldn't even pull off a majority in his home district of Green Bay (he hit 49% there) -- in fact, there isn't a single part of the state that brought Green over 50%.

As for the budget commission, considering Scott Walker thanked Doyle for his intervention, I can't imagine Green can criticize it too much. That move is only going to pay dividends for Doyle.

But, like I said before, we'll see. I do think you're right that it'll be close -- and there's little more a political junkie can ask for than that.

July 05, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Well, well -up pops another story on how the Adelman investigation is NOT over. The only reason this is still a story is that Doyle's team keeps pushing the line that trial "proved" that Georgia Thompson acted alone. On top of that baloney, Doyle won't make himself accessible to the media.

Shockingly, the media don't like that will keep digging assuming that Doyle has something to hide.

Another bad headline for the gov with a bad hairline.

July 07, 2006  
Blogger Seth Zlotocha said...

Key quote from the article: "The fact that no one else has been indicted likely means authorities don't have compelling evidence in hand."

Investigations can go on for years, that doesn't mean there's anything there. This past January, for example, an independent counsel investigation of Bill Clinton's HUD Secretary Henry Cisneros ended after 10 years and $26 million spent in public money -- the results of that investigation: absolutely nothing.

Biskupic will probably drag this thing out for months, possibly even years, regardless of whether Doyle is reelected in November. The last think a prosecutor wants is to be accused of not fully investigating a matter -- a charge that would surely come from people like Sykes and Belling if he ended the investigation anytime prior to this November.

July 07, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

That is my point - this would not even be a story if Doyle had been making himself available for questions. Now the media will keep the story alive, which is another bad headline for Doyle.

I also understand that answering tough questions from the media is difficult for Democrats - they never have to do it. SO I guess I should cut him some slack for not handling it well.

July 07, 2006  
Blogger Seth Zlotocha said...

You still haven't said which questions you're talking about.

Besides, the JS article from today wasn't about questions Doyle hasn't answered, it was about the fact the prosecutor hasn't closed the case, yet. There isn't any mention in the article about Doyle avoiding important questions.

July 07, 2006  

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