Democrats seek to cement Baldwin’s status as favorite.
Former President Bill Clinton voiced his support for Democratic Senate candidate Tammy Baldwin in an ad released Tuesday, the same day that her challenger Tommy Thompson campaigned with Republican vice presidential nominee Paul Ryan.
Baldwin spent Tuesday in the Fox Valley, an important swing area in the state that leans Republican but where there are enough independent voters for Democrats to make headway. Thompson was originally scheduled to be in nearby Green Bay, but those plans got scuttled at the last minute so he could instead campaign with Ryan in western Wisconsin, where they were meeting with supporters and filling hurricane relief packages.
In the new Clinton spot, the former president praises Baldwin’s support of President Barack Obama’s health care overhaul law, noting that young adults under age 26 will still be covered under their parents’ plan. Clinton was scheduled to appear in Wisconsin later in the week to campaign for Obama.
Baldwin is currently about the 4-in-5 favorite to win the race — 83% chance of winning at FiveThirtyEight and 76.3% at PredictWise. Clinton’s ad is clearly to lock in a win that will protect the democratic majority in the senate.
Thompson admits to lying about his Medicare plan.
U.S. Senate candidate Tommy Thompson acknowledged Friday that he doesn’t know whether his latest plan to change Medicare will save recipients or the federal government any money.
Thompson, the Republican governor of Wisconsin from 1988 to 2001, outlined the plan before the Wisconsin State Journal editorial board: Allow those who are 50 by the year 2020 to either stay on Medicare or join the same health insurance plan that members of Congress and federal employees have.
Asked how much the plan would cost, Thompson initially said the Congressional Budget Office had evaluated his plan and “it has been projected that it would save money.” He later acknowledged that the nonpartisan CBO had not evaluated the plan.
“I have not scored it,” Thompson said, adding that since he is not in office, “I have no ability to score it.”
Worse, had he had that ability, things wouldn’t have turned out well for him. According to the report, a study was conducted by the Kaiser Family Foundation. That study found that costs in a plan similar to Thompson’s “grew by an average of 7.1 percent per enrollee per year compared to a 5.8 percent average growth rate for traditional Medicare.”
“The organization reported that the data analysis and interviews with experts showed the federal employee plan ‘had not held down costs per enrollee as efficiently as Medicare during the past decade,’” WSJ reports. So not only didn’t the CBO score his plan, but if they had it probably would’ve shown it was all snake oil.
Still, this does establish Thompson as a mainstream Republican — in that if you ask him to prove something, he answers, “Sure! Here’s some numbers, fresh from being pulled straight out of my butt.”
On Iran Sanctions, Thompson Fails Integrity Test
I don’t know what to make of Tommy Thompson performance in the Wisconsin Senatorial debate last night, other than to wonder whether perhaps Tommy is not well. The political lion who was the state’s longest serving governor is still in there somewhere — you can see him at times — but this is one confused lion. And that became very apparent. It was on the subject of Iran that things started to look a little shaky.
The Thompson campaign had leaked a story to the press earlier in the day that detailed opponent Tammy Baldwin taking $60,000 from an organization that opposed sanctions against Iran. That in itself is no big deal. You can agree or disagree with the sanctions approach to Iran. If you think an anti-sanctions position is worthy of criticism, go ahead and criticize away. It’s a foreign policy debate that would be absolutely within bounds. We’ll get into all that in a moment.
But consider, if Team Thompson had leaked the story ahead of the debate, that means the candidate spent the day — at least — preparing to discuss the issue. The result of that cram session? This:
It is necessary to prevent Iran and Ahmadinejan (sic) — who is an individual that is somewhat mentally impaired, who believes that the Holocaust never existed, believes that Israel should be destroyed, and has threatened America that they’re going to blockade the Gulf of Hormuth (sic), which would block all the oil going worldwide, and it would enter us into a world depression.
He can’t remember the name Ahmadinejad or the real name of the Strait of Hormuz (in fact, he can’t even picture it in his mind; a strait and a gulf are entirely different things). He’d had to have been going over this again and again — it was, after all, pretty much the entire strategy to winning the debate — and Thompson still couldn’t get even the most basic facts down. Worse, he kept referring to the organization which made the Baldwin contribution — Council for a Livable World — as a “company,” prompting an exasperated “Who are you talking about?” from Baldwin.
I don’t think I can stress enough the fact that Thompson had in all likelihood spent a good deal of time going over all this stuff. Yet when the moment came, Baldwin was accused of supporting a company that wanted to go easy on some Ahmadinejan guy who wants to blockade the Gulf of Hormuth. No wonder Tammy had no idea WTF he was talking about.
Meanwhile, Tammy brought up the issue of stock — sold by Thompson that very day — in a company that does business with Iran. Thompson still owns stock in several other companies that do the same. It was one of his more embarrassing moments in the debate. “Thompson said the stock was purchased by his broker. He said he only found out about it Thursday and sold it immediately,” reports WisPolitics.com. “The answer prompted some laughs in the audience of about 350 people.”
As I said, it’s entirely legit to have a disagreement over sanctions. Baldwin has begun supporting sanctions lately — probably a combination of running a high-profile, high-stakes campaign for the US Senate and shifting facts on the ground. But the case against sanctions is very, very good. Oppressive governments are run by megalomaniacs. Megalomaniacs are by definition selfish. They’re also in positions of power. Therefore, the very last people who are going to be hurt by sanctions are the oppressors. We saw this play out in Iraq, where the people were struggling under sanctions, while Saddam Hussein had a palace on a corner every three or four blocks. Sanctions didn’t harm him a bit, because he was able to use his power to shift the burden onto his victims. You might also want to take a look at Cuba while you’re at it. Sanctions are what you do when you say, “Well we have to do something,” but have no idea what else to do — a Hail Mary pass. Only this pass never seems to actually lead to a completion.
But Thompson’s disagreement with sanctions was not legit. It was demagoguery. He was claiming that not supporting sanctions was equal to supporting the oppressive government in Iran. Meanwhile, he’s shipping money off to Iran in the form of investments.
Maybe sanctions should start at home, Tommy. Maybe you should stop literally supporting the Iranian government (don’t think they don’t see a little piece of any business that happens in that country), before you dishonestly accuse someone else of doing it. You don’t get to send money to Iran, while arguing that it’s a terrible, terrible thing to allow people to send money to Iran. Hypocrisy married to demagoguery is the worst. Just the worst. And you’re absolutely guilty of it.
So yeah, Thompson seemed to have everything all screwed up and confused last night. But that’s not what disqualifies him in my book. What makes him unfit for the US Senate is his easy willingness to engage in demagoguery and hypocrisy. We have enough people like that in the Senate already. Tommy Thompson would just be redundant.
Poll: Wisconsin swinging back toward blue
President Obama is holding his lead over Republican challenger Mitt Romney, while US Congresswoman Tammy Baldwin maintains her lead over former Governor Tommy Thompson, in a poll by NBC News, the Wall Street Journal and Marist.
The poll was conducted Monday through Wednesday this week, so it includes results following Tuesday’s presidential debate.
In Wisconsin, Barack Obama leads Mitt Romney 51 to 45 percent. In Iowa, the president’s lead is even wider, 51 to 43 percent. Both margins are unchanged from one month ago.
“In the US Senate race, Tammy Baldwin leads Tommy Thompson 49 to 45 percent among likely voters,” the report tells us. Best news I’ve heard all day.
We have the opportunity to send President Obama back to Chicago — or Kenya.