But, no matter. She found solace in it anyway, as her race against 1st District Congressman Paul Ryan approaches the finish line, less than two months after it officially began.
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The money quote for Krupp, in an article about Ryan's vote in favor of the $700 billion bailout bill, said this: "Mr. Ryan is being pilloried in Wisconsin, where he's in a competitive race."
Read those final five words again: "...he's in a competitive race."
Marge extends that quote, with one of her own: "One thing is clear, with the election less than 20 days away, voters are angry, we are in a competitive 50-50/Democrat-Republican toss-up district and Paul Ryan is in trouble."
Really? Voters angry about the bailout, yes. Ryan in trouble, eh?
I feel sorry for Marge: She won the right to actually run against Ryan on Sept. 9, when she beat two-and-one-half opponents (one guy dropped out, remember, but was still on the ballot) in the Democratic primary. That gave her exactly 56 days to mount a campaign against Ryan.
Meanwhile, Ryan has had 10 years in office to prepare his own campaign. And has proven by the onslaught of TV ads he's been running the last couple of weeks, that he has oodles of money. Has anyone seen a single Marge Krupp ad -- anywhere? Print, even? When she first announced her candidacy, Krupp estimated it would take $2 million to run effectively against Ryan -- and she could raise it. The Federal Election Commission shows her total contributions (9/30/08) as $140,089, with $36,882 coming from herself; Ryan (10/15/08) collected $1,758,038. The FEC says Krupp has $26,408 on hand (with $32,873 owed), while Ryan has $813,262 with debt of $26,332.
The 1st District may indeed be a toss-up when it comes to the top of the ticket -- but Ryan has had no trouble commanding more votes than the top of the ticket: In 2006 he beat the (admittedly lackluster-squared) candidacy of Democrat Jeff Thomas 62% to 37%, while Bush-Kerry was a fractional percentage toss-up. Many Democrats had hopes this year, given ... well, given all of the disasters thrown at us by a Republican administration, but so far have seen little reason to cheer in the 1st District race.
There's no question that Ryan is taking heat over his vote in support of the bailout. In her column, headlined What Leadership Looks Like, Journal writer Kimberley Strassel praises Ryan for his vote and condemns Wisconsin Congressmen Jim Sensenbrenner and Tom Petri for their "righteousness." She wrote:
For his sin of acting to forestall economic mayhem, Mr. Ryan is being pilloried in Wisconsin, where he's in a competitive race. He's been accused of abandoning his conservative principles, of "caving" and "bailing out" Wall Street. He received 3,000 calls last week and wryly notes the "only one in favor came from Hank Paulson."(Libor, by the way, is the "London Inter-Bank Offer Rate. The interest rate that the banks charge each other for loans, usually in Eurodollars." Aren't you glad you asked?)
...This has left Mr. Ryan alone to defend his position back home. It hasn't helped that his colleagues are spinning this as bravery, crowing that it was they who listened to constituents and they who acted on free-market principles. Never mind that these principles were nowhere in evidence back when it mattered. And never mind that should America crash, it will be the free market offered up as sacrifice to the regulatory mob.
It also hasn't helped that John McCain came out blaming this on Wall Street's "casino culture." Having initially placed this at the foot of the business community -- rather than at the foot of a political class that encouraged corporate excess -- Republicans fed into the left's line that this is a "bailout" of greedy executives. This has left grown-ups like Mr. Ryan struggling to explain the need to stabilize the financial system overall, and to protect Main Street from shedding its own blood.
Mr. Ryan is now busy sending out charts of Libor spreads to radio talk-show hosts (no joke), intent on explaining the seriousness of the crisis, and hopeful his credibility will see him through. "The best outcome is that [those of us who voted yes] take a political hit but avert a crisis," he says. How's that for leadership?
Say what you want about the bailout -- and the Stock Market's collapse immediately after it passed, and since then, certainly echoed the public sentiment -- the question for us is this: Is Ryan's 1st District congressional seat up for grabs, "competitive" in Krupp and a Wall Street Journal writer's word, in what appears -- three Wisconsin polls last week gave Obama 10-point leads -- to be shaping up as a Democratic presidential year , at least in this state?
We'll know in less than three weeks. But I, for one, am unconvinced.