February 15, 2011

It's Wanggaard's name we see, but not his ad

I was wrong. Sorta.

In a post Sunday (The revolution comes to Wisconsin) about Gov. Scott Walker's attempt to destroy collective bargaining for public employees in Wisconsin, I referred to a TV commercial "under State Sen. Van Wanggaard's name" appearing in favor of Walker's plan.

The TV commercial -- it can be found online now -- says:
"All across Wisconsin, people are making sacrifices to save their jobs: frozen wages, pay cuts and paying more for health care. But state workers haven't had to sacrifice; they pay next to nothing for their pensions and a fraction of their health care. It's not fair. Call your state legislators and tell them to vote for Gov. Scott Walker's  budget repair bill. It's time state employees paid their fair share, just like the rest of us."
At the point where the voiceover says "call your state legislators" the ad shows Sen. Van Wanggaard's name and office phone number.

Hence, my confusion.

One of Wanggaard's constituents (OK, it was my wife, marking one of the few times she and I are in political agreement), complained to him via email about the ad's implication that state employees and union workers are not paying their fair share.  "The fact that their benefit packages include benefits in lieu of salary increases is not stated. You represent thousands of workers as cheating."

She received this response from Scott Kelly, the senator's chief of staff:
"I want to correct a misconception that you, and others, are making. Senator Wanggaard is NOT running any TV ads on Governor Walker’s budget repair bill. Senator Wanggaard has also not coordinated or authorized any TV ads either for or against Governor Walker’s budget repair bill.

"Senator Wanggaard is currently reviewing the bill, and is at this time in a briefing by the non-partisan Legislative Fiscal Bureau. He has not taken a position on the bill, and will not until he has had ample time to review it."
The ad, made by the Wisconsin Club for Growth, which is run by Walker election strategist R. J. Johnson, is appearing throughout the state. While the version we see here carries Van Wanggaard's name, other voters see the names of their legislators. In fact, the version I linked to above urges calls to Sens. Mike Ellis of Neenah and Rob Cowles of Green Bay.All three, of course, are Republicans. I've not seen, nor do I expect to see, an ad urging voters to call Democratic Assemblymen Cory Mason or Bob Turner.

My larger expectation in the original post was that the Democratic Party's effort to get voters to call Republican legislators is a lost cause: they will vote in lock-step with their new governor and new majority on this hot button issue -- even as it is a mere symbol and no real solution to the state's budget woes.

But perhaps the widespread protests by teachers, nurses and workers in general -- and common sense and fairness -- will prevail. We shall see by the end of the week.

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  1. Both parties are responsible for the financial mess we are in nationally and at the state level. Now really hard decisions must be made to fix this before it is too late. Sadly a number of good people will have to make unpopular decisions made worse by exaggerations in the media and others. When you look at what the public employees are facing it isn't much different than what private sector employees have had to absorb to keep companies from going out of business. Both parties have been throwing tax dollars around like it was play money. Now it has come to roost. I don't think anyone likes what has to happen but not doing anything is no longer an option.

  2. Wow, it doesn't take an intellectual giant to realize that this ad is intended to put pressure on Wanggaard from his constituents to actually vote for Walker's budget bill! The smart move of course.

  3. That ad confused me at first, too. I had to pay close attention to it the next time it aired for me to understand what the intent was......I tend to ignore, mute or otherwise distract myself during all commercials so it didn't click at first.
    I'm torn between thinking that Wanggaard is sincerely on the fence on this or this is one of the most brilliant political strategies of late. His district has a substantial number of people who are going to be directly affected by this action and he didn't get a slam dunk into office so he is going to need to not tick off many of his constituents. On the other hand he has just been gifted some of the most expensive name recognition tools possible......his name is everywhere and it's now associated to being a maverick.........
    Is he so much more honest than other politicians That he's holding back his vote until thorough review or is he making some bold maneuvering measures?
    I guess his final vote will tell us what this is really all about......because it sure isn't about the WCG contemplating backing a democrat running against him in the next election.

  4. It's not the budget these Republican thugs are concerned about. It is their overall plan to destroy the middle class and working class. They got the Supreme Court agreeing to silence the voices of common people, allowing corporations to pour billions into the political process.

    All reminds:


    "First They Came for the Jews"
    By Pastor Niemoller

    First they came for the Jews and I did not speak out because I was not a Jew.

    Then they came for the Communists and I did not speak out because I was not a Communist.

    Then they came for the trade unionists and I did not speak out because I was not a trade unionist.

    Then they came for me and there was no one left to speak out for me

  5. The republican­s know better than to blame unions for their budget problems, it's consistent with how they communicate­e with their supporters­. Public employees form a union to have a singular voice in negotiation­ for their job category. Contracts are negotiated in good faith based on the amount of funds a government entity has to spend in a given year. In this republican driven recession, public employees, who just show up to work and accept whatever wage and benefits both sides agree to, are the villans, a convenient scapegoats for republican­s. Let Wisconsin legislator­s have their salary and benefits imposed upon them by the voters, it's only fair play.

  6. I have seen this ad and came to the same conclusions. This is on the Milwaukee Market as well. Wanggaard in not our representative. I believe the closest Republican in my area would be Alberta Darling, Why does her name not appear in stead of him if the above explaination is correct? The ad is meant to deceive. It says to call your legislator, which makes it sound like a plea from him to call our legislators to back this plan. Also, to sit back and allow a lie to be perpetratred in a way that your name can be used to further it, makes you an accomplice to the Lie and therefore also a Liar.

    The fact that he has now said he will vote for the budget repair speaks lowdly of his involvement in allowing the use of his name to lend credibility to the ad. Also shouldn't political ads have to name who sponsored the ad? I don't recall seeing that, but perhaps that is because I am busy yelling at the television and my blood pressure is rising during the ad.