To the Telegram:
As I was watching the latest senatorial debate between Tammy Baldwin and Tommy Thompson, an elusive image kept coming to mind until I finally nailed it — Foghorn Leghorn. Thompson’s arrogant, self-important way of speaking triggered this cartoon memory of the past.
One of his first goals, if he became senator, he said was to eliminate those pesky Environmental Protection Agency regulations that slow businesses down by insisting on language to prevent water pollution and protect public health. I wish the CEO’s and Thompson lived downstream and drank the well water, but you know that will never happen. By the way, the big oil pipeline will not create hundreds of thousands of jobs, and, that oil isn’t even meant for U.S. consumption. It’s to sell to other countries.
The next point he kept reiterating, ad nauseum, was what he did during his terms as governor, first elected a quarter-century ago. “When I was governor,” he lectured, “I reduced taxes 91 times.” Yeah, he raided the Wisconsin pension fund and eventually, the Wisconsin Supreme Court made him put the money back, and left the state with a $2 billion deficit. To complete the picture, all he needed was a stogie, and a few moneybags at his feet, reminiscent of Rancid W. Veeblefester, from the “Born Loser” comic strip.
The part of the debate I found most interesting was when Baldwin brought up the fact that Thompson signed the Grover Norquist Pledge. He lied and said he hadn’t. (He did on Oct. 4, 2011.) She kept reiterating that he had, and he talked right over her in that booming, bullying voice and wouldn’t answer the question. (You can find everything I’ve said online.)
Basically, his argument for his election is the fact that he was governor 25 years ago. He really didn’t mention much about his career as a “strategic adviser” for big health companies, where he made millions.
His questionable moral compass comes to light when he did not use the best choice of words (2007) about Jews in America, and his taped discussion and famous statements to a tea party group (2012) about “doing away” with Medicare and Medicaid.
Lastly, his son made a tactless birther comment about President Obama to an audience of like-minded supporters. He apologized up and down to the media, but it sounded false. (I wonder where his son heard those terms.) When Republicans feel comfortable and let their guard down, you really get to see their prejudices come to light, as evidenced by Mitt Romney sharing his plans (for 47 percent of us) with like-minded millionaires.
Thompson won an award from ALEC (American Legislative Exchange Council) in 1991. (ALEC, basically, runs the Republican Party.) He worked with Scott Walker to pass ALEC’s Truth in Sentencing Bill in the 1990s, its goal to eventually privatize the Wisconsin prison system. Any time you hear the term privatization from a Republican, there’s big bucks for the right people and less bucks for the 99 percent. It took no time at all to find this information.
Now his latest commercial criticizes Baldwin’s patriotism concerning Sept. 11, 2001. I don’t expect the high road from him anymore. He’s abandoned moderate long ago and embraced super right-wing filibustering conservatism.
When you vote early, or go to the polls, please vote for Tammy Baldwin. Thompson may have been “popular” to some in the 1990s, but the thought of him being a senator — well, think Foghorn Leghorn.