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.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.
"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."
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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