Tammy vs Tommy In Wisconsin-- Is Romney Dragging Down The Whole GOP Ticket?
I suspect that if Tammy wins in November-- and current polls suggest she will-- the moment that will go down in history that lost the race for Tommy Thompson was when he bragged "Who better than me to get rid of Medicare and Medicaid?" Right now, he's in full etch-a-sketch mode, claiming he just wants to make some adjustments and save the programs. Uh, huh. That's what his friend Lyin' Ryan says too and the voucher program that ends Medicare. And his new line of attack is that cool, collected, caring Tammy is an extremist. That's not going to fly and when Politifact checks the two candidates' statements they found that Tammy tells the truth and Thompson lies.
Tammy's voting record is one of the most consistently pro-working family voting records in the country. Even among other members of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, her record stands out as exemplary. That's why the Koch brothers and Rove and working extra hard for Thompson; they really hate Tammy. Last week PolitiFact had a new story on the Congressional Progressive Caucus's People's latest Budget, which would eliminate the deficit in 10 years by investing in millions of jobs. The People's Budget offered a different path than the Ryan Congress, whose budget cut over 2.2 million jobs in just two years. It's the difference between the failed Austerity Agenda of Europe and a fresh American approach, pretty much identical to Jacob Hacker's Prosperity Economics. Politifact's conclusion: Thompson is either an out-of-touch fool or an out-and-out liar.
"In fact she is so liberal-- I don’t know if people out there really know this-- she joined the Progressive Caucus, which introduced a budget that spent trillions-- not billions, trillions-- more money than the Obama budget."
In the same vein, Thompson during the debate called Baldwin the House’s "number one spender" and alluded to her support of "increased spending" with the Progressive Caucus budget.
Let’s see if Thompson’s right about the trillions... The fiscal 2012 budget proposed by the Progressive Caucus was what Thompson was referring to when he made his trillions more comment about Baldwin, Thompson campaign spokeswoman Lisa Boothe told us.
That plan, unveiled in April 2011, was offered as an alternative to budgets proposed by President Barack Obama and by House Budget Committee chairman Paul Ryan of Wisconsin, the Republican vice-presidential nominee.
Baldwin did vote for the caucus budget, which was introduced as an amendment to Ryan’s budget. The amendment failed in the House, 347-77. The Progressive Caucus budget would have spent $44.5 trillion from 2012 to 2021, according to an analysis done for the caucus by the labor-backed Economic Policy Institute.
To see how that compared with Obama’s plan over 10 years, we contacted experts from two nonpartisan think tanks: Taxpayers for Common Sense, a government spending watchdog; and the Concord Coalition, which seeks balanced federal budgets.
They agreed that Obama’s fiscal 2012 spending plan called for $46 trillion in spending.
That’s $1.5 trillion more than the Progressive Caucus Budget.
So, Thompson was wrong when he said the Baldwin-backed caucus would spend "trillions more" than Obama’s budget.
Thompson has said, in prepared statements before and after his radio interview, that the Progressive Caucus budget would have raised trillions more in taxes than Obama’s budget. And our experts agreed the caucus budget would have collected $42 trillion in taxes over 10 years, some $5 trillion more than Obama’s.
But that wasn’t Thompson’s claim on the radio.
What’s more, raising taxes doesn’t automatically mean a corresponding increase in spending. Indeed, The Economist magazine, among others, pointed out the Progressive Caucus budget would have reduced federal deficits more than both the Obama and Ryan budgets -- primarily because of its higher taxes and cuts in defense spending.
Thompson claimed Baldwin supported the Progressive Caucus budget, which he said spent "trillions more" than a budget from Obama.
Baldwin did back the proposal, which would have raised taxes by trillions more than the president. But the caucus plan would have actually spent less money than the Obama plan.
We rate Thompson’s statement False.
Last week we saw the ninth poll confirming Thompson’s sagging fortunes even after Thompson and special interests supporting him have spent over $3 million just since the last Marquette poll. Wisconsin voters aren't buying it and Tammy is maintaining her lead. Thompson has blamed Romney for his fall in the polls despite an outpouring of Republican criticism of Thompson and his campaign, with many raising questions about Thompson’s lack of effort on the campaign trail.
Friday, the Wisconsin Gazette endorsed Tammy, "easily the best candidate for the U.S. Senate."
Baldwin is unimpeachably one of the most genuine, intelligent and committed lawmakers serving in the U.S. Capitol today. Every day of her career as a public servant-- and that is quite literally how she views herself-- Baldwin has demonstrated her support for the middle class and for such traditional values as social justice, economic opportunity, access to education and health care, individual liberty and tolerance.
Early in her congressional career, Baldwin was one of the few members of Congress to oppose lifting the Glass-Steagall Act, which since the Great Depression had kept banks from engaging in the kinds of risky practices that led to the worldwide 2008 economic collapse. She stood up for Wisconsin homeowners by stopping the Justice Department from granting immunity to big banks guilty of mortgage fraud. Ultimately, the banks were forced to pay billions of dollars to victims of their unethical practices.
Blustery and boastful in temperament, Thompson is the polar opposite of the warm, soft-spoken Baldwin. In his heyday, Thompson was a moderate whose political success was built on compromise. He created BadgerCare, which helped low-income earners obtain affordable health care coverage.
But the Thompson of today is not the popular governor that older Wisconsinites remember. During the Republican primary, he positioned himself as a hardline conservative, promising tea party extremists that he would act as an obstructionist if elected. Since then, he has taken to labeling himself alternately a conservative or a moderate, depending on the audience. He is as disingenuous as Baldwin is authentic.
Thompson left Wisconsin in debt despite presiding over a period of great national economic expansion. He took the position of Secretary of Health and Human Services in George W. Bush’s administration. After leaving that job, he capitalized shamelessly on the connections he’d made, shilling for pharmaceutical companies in which he had financial stakes. Among his gifts to the drug industry was changing federal law to make it illegal for Medicare to negotiate with them for lower costs. That put affordable, life-saving drugs out of reach for millions of middle- and lower-income seniors, but it helped to make Thompson $13 million richer.
Now 70 and somewhat worse for the wear after years of notorious hard living, he’s back in Wisconsin pretending to be a farmer. During the Sept. 28 debate, Thompson had the temerity to depict himself as loving and devoted family man and a Washington outsider, one of the more audacious distortions of reality heard this election cycle.
Tellingly, Thompson has refused to release even one year of his tax returns since 1997. But of even more concern is his inability to articulate why he’s running for office, other than to offer the obligatory political promises de jour of wanting to create jobs and lower taxes, without explaining how.
Like GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney, Thompson would sacrifice the nation’s future as a whole for the short-term financial benefits of a very few, themselves included. Beyond cutting taxes for the uber rich, a strategy that has failed to deliver the promised economic bonanza for more than 30 years, Thompson and Romney have not laid a single job-creating proposal on the table.
Baldwin, on the other hand, would help to reinvigorate the economy by investing in critical infrastructure and education needs.
Baldwin, who has released all of her tax returns, has not enriched herself through public employment as Thompson has. Instead, she has enriched the lives of those she has served by faithfully representing their interests, by standing up to the greedy and the powerful and opposing GOP policies that have pushed the American dream farther and farther from the grasp of average individuals.
Baldwin would be a stellar choice for the U.S. Senate regardless of her opponent, but this race is not even close. Thompson just isn’t in the same league. He’s running to run, while she’s running to make a difference.Blue America has only endorsed two challengers (plus one incumbent) in this year's Senate match-ups-- and one of them in Tammy. If you can, we urge you to consider a contribution to her grassroots campaign today. President Obama is way ahead in Wisconsin and Tammy has a solid lead as well. We're hoping between the two of them, the coattails will be strong enough to help Rob Zerban defeat Paul Ryan in the first congressional district. We've managed to raise $15,000 for Tammy so far and we'd like to double that by election day. It's a good investment.