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Uppity Wisconsin - Progressive Webmasters

« Why We Won - The Meaning of the Supreme Court Race | Main | Mr. Gableman: It Is Not Over Until We Say It Is Over »

April 03, 2008


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Couldn't agree more as far as it goes. Wisconsin Dems need to adopt a 72 county strategy much like Howard Dean's 50 state strategy. We have seen Hilary's cakewalk to the presidential nomination targeting eight to twelve highly populated states, likewise, targeting a few counties is equally unproductive. The people of Wis are plenty smart and their best source of information is their neighbors. Wis Dems need real leadership that can promote Dems interests over the ENTIRE state and not the glorified lobbyists we presently have posing as leaders.

Our strategy seems to concede about 40% of the vote and contest the remaining 60. All that happens is freeing up resources for the other side to make these attacks. We need to contest every square inch and make the other side use its resources defending itself.

MIchael Leon

Agree with all points save one not made, buy implied: That there is a need for a massive education project on the role of the state’s top appellate court.

Not just 40 percent, but much more of the electorate, has no idea that the role and mission of the Court needs to guided by, in the words of one federal judge, the maxim: 'Don’t worry about the result; just tell me what the law is.’

This is not esoteric stuff, but does anyone seriously propose that the electorate has any clue about appellate procedures, the role of briefs and arguments in the creation of judicial policy made at the SC, and the statutory imperative to be impartial?

A basic ignorance of the role of the Court is the wrong field on which to be playing this game, no matter who spends what with whatever political message.

Willy Becker

re: prosecutor vs judge, liberal vs. conservative

What about the bashing of Butler as a public defender? Are that many people so unaware of the RIGHTS of CRIMINAL DEFENDANTS that they are incapable of understanding the work in criminal defense that Butler did as a young lawyer? Why did Butler's campaign not educate the public about that?

Thomas J. Mertz

I have to disagree with nonheroicvet. First, the rules of the Democratic Party Presidential nominating system are not "winner take all" so the Clinton example doesn't hold.

Second, if all the Dane County February Democratic Primary voters had voted for Butler, he would have won the state by about 40,000 votes. Targeting turnout (GOTV) in areas of strength makes sense, especially in low turnout elections.


Finesse is of little use in a street brawl.

Mr. Pelican Pants

So, in short, the right wing 500 pound gorilla beat the left wing 500 pound gorilla. Oh yea, and voters are too stupid to ignore both. Strange that you failed to mention groups like WEAC, Greater Wisconsin Committee, and other lefty orgs pumping all sorts of money into the campaign to smear Gablemen.

You liberals just can not accept defeat, can you? If liberals win, all we hear about is "a new day" and "the voters have spoken" and that it's "time to move on". But if conservatives wins, it's evil, nasty, racist, sexist, white men cracking their whips again and more government reform is needed to clean up the evil, nasty, racist, sexist system. You people baffle me.

Dan Sebald

I think this post is more accurate than the previous, Paul.

First, I think lumping the Falk attorney general race in with the Butler/Gableman race, as in the previous post, isn't right. An incumbent with a slightly sullied past, the divisive primary race, a politician seen as more concerned about her career than the office she currently holds, Madison politicians think the whole state knows about them when it doesn't. Much more complicated than Gableman/Butler election.

I haven't seen the commercial in question, but having seen enough similar ones at critical times in the stage of an election my guess would be that it made the difference. The key is what you wrote in the previous post:

"Louis Butler, sitting on the Supreme Court, was not in a much more advantageous position than Clifford. Early polling indicated that his name recognition was no better than Gableman's so that he had none of the advantages associated with incumbency."

probably because Butler was appointed, not elected.

When dealing with unknowns, people look for some initial impression to start with. They'll sort of grab on to whatever they are presented with. For that reason, it's critical the candidate not let the opposition define their character.

Since Butler was appointed by Doyle, one wonders what the prevailing thought is about Doyle. There is the line item veto thing too. The media fails to mention that originated with Thompson. BTW, Wisconsin State Journal's silly "frankenstein veto" campaign was one of the biggest empty victories in state politics history--so nothing changed other than some technicality. It illustrates to not immediately get behind some legislation simply because of what it is advertised as, e.g., watered-down smoking ban, etc. The only line-item-veto I sort of like so far is what Feingold proposed--pull provisions out of the main body and force the legislature/congress to vote on them separately.

Where's a post about the Verona vote? Town of Verona said no to giving their land away. (Good for them.) Now Verona will have to usurp it by other means. E.g., buying land for "preservation", etc.


I wonder what the role of the anti-abortion and voucher groups was in this election. These folks seem to turn out to vote by the bus load. I'm sure they were reminded at church to go out vote for Gableman and in line with these special interests. I don't think the pro-choice and public school supporters were organized. As for the Frankenstein Veto, what a waste of public good will by the WSJ. They could have promoted real change but chose instead to waste their credibility on a farce.

Jack Lohman

Isn't this fun?

In 75% of the cases reaching the Supreme Court level there's a campaign contributor on one side or the other. How's that for a clean judicial system?

No, if anybody is going to fund judicial races it should be the taxpayers, not WMC and not WEAC.


Why did Butler lose? Easy to answer, more people voted for Gableman. More residents of Wisconsin decided that Gableman was the better candidate, and had a judicail philosophy more closely related to their own.

What I don't get is when the left wins its "the people have spoken" or "proof that the people support a liberal ideology", but when a conservative wins its because of "dirty tricks" or a "sleazy campaign". Why can't they simply admit that the people voted for who they thought was best for the job, and by the way I saw/heard more attack ads on behalf of Butler than Gableman.

The best thing that the left can do with the results of this election is to take their sour grapes, squeeze them, ferment them and then turn them into w(h)ine. Then sit back and enjoy the real fruits of a conservative supreme court bench, stronger on crime and better for business. Making Wisconsin more prosperous and safer to live in.


Butler lost because of the shadow cast by big business over society. That's what politics is, as John Dewey so aptly noted many decades ago.

The media publicity system in this state is dominated by corporations who use the public airwaves to entertain the public diverting their attention from important public matters. There are important non corporate sources but the public learns not to use them. Schools should take a decided stand in favor of the civic over the commercial and activley promote media literacy. This should be a statewide priority of the DPI. Instead their misplaced emphasis is on raising abstract test scores, weak measures of learning.

The public schools are dominated by a fact dumping strategy that discourages interest and consciousness raising. Instead of teaching and learning oriented around actively engaged, question posing and answer seeking students who develop a sense of civic connection and responsibility we have a public school system that focuses on out dated sit and git models of instruction tied to deficient models of accountability such as fill in the bubble standardized tests. Kids learn that politics is either irrelevant to their lives, boring, or hopelessly unfathomable. The Jeopardy style of learning used in most schools promotes inaction and apathy and overall lack of understanding about what is really going on in this state. I was just at the Wisconsin Council for the Social Studies convention and more of this approach is on tap for the foreseeable future. The whole public school endeavor is limited by a lack of funding tied to misplaced priorities that on balance favor the corporate bottom line and a conventional wisdom that discourages independent and critical thought among the teaching staff and students. All of this is due to the fact that schools have been run like businesses for going on 100 years now. See Ray Callahan's book on the subject.

How to fix the problem? Democracy, democracy, and more democracy, everywhere and anywhere.

henry dubb

I still hold the liberal third party ads did far more damage to Butler than WMC ever could. When you got liberal groups invoking a right wing conservative frame again and again, is it really a surprise the conservative activist judge won.


Butler Lost because the people of Wisconsin were smart enough to figure out that they want a Judge who will interpret the laws that were created by the legislature, not a judge who wants to create law from the bench.

Read John Funds Post at:

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