Feingold, Barrett invited to the Tea Party | Wis.Community

Feingold, Barrett invited to the Tea Party

At first blush, the idea sounds ridiculous.  Why would Democrats Tom Barrett and Russ Feingold even consider attending a Tea Party debate?  WisPolitics reports, deadpan:

Tim Dake, of the Milwaukee-based Tea Party group GrandSons of Liberty, said the gubernatorial debate is set for 4 p.m. on Aug. 29 at Olympia Resort in Oconomowoc. Republican candidates Scott Walker and Mark Neumann have accepted the invitation, though Dem Tom Barrett has not committed to it, Dake said. ..

Dake said the group is trying to iron out a date for a U.S. Senate debate. Republicans Dave Westlake and Ron Johnson have accepted, but Dem U.S. Sen. Russ Feingold hasn't committed, Dake said.

For Barrett, it just might be a chance to steal the limelight and again draw the contrast between himself and two guys who, at that stage, will be crawling farther and farther out on the right-wing limb to try to get Tea Party support in their primary. Barrett just might emerge -- in a televised debate -- as the only reasonable voice in the room, with some actual ideas rather than just rhetoric.

That doesn't mean he'd get the TP endorsement, but he might score some points with Wisconsin voters, which in the end is what really matters.

Then there's the Senate campaign, where Ron Johnson, who either is or is not a Tea Party candidate, depending upon whether the moon is waxing or waning, is giving the TPers fits.

John Kraus, Russ Feingold's senior strategist, told the Journal Sentinel:

...Feingold has cast votes against bank bailouts and the Patriot Act that match up with tea party views. "We're going to fight for every voter in the state," said John Kraus, Feingold's senior campaign strategist. "We have a good record on many of the issues these folks care about."

Ann Althouse, Wisconsin's uber blogger, is intrigued:

I like seeing the Democratic Party candidate fight for the Tea Partiers. Republican candidates shouldn't be able to automatically appropriate the energy of the Tea Party movement.

What would Feingold ask the TPers to look at before jumping on the Johnson bandwagon?

The conservative group Americans for Prosperity, which calls itself the “nation’s premier grassroots organization committed to advancing every individual’s right to economic freedom and opportunity” and a major backer of the Tea Party movement, praises Feingold, saying “I applaud Senator Feingold for voting against the 2009 Omnibus Spending bill and truly respect his principled stand against wasteful earmarks.”

Ron Johnson stepped in it with his support for the Patriot Act and Real ID, which set off the Republican Liberty Caucus. Feingold, of course, cast the only vote against the Patriot Act, which some say could be used against the Tea Party. Feingold has questioned President Obama's tendency to appoint a czar or czarina to handle every problem. and Feingold both want to audit the Federal Reserve.

Republicans were happy with the Supreme Court decision allowing corporations to spend money on political campaigns, while Feingold and many TPers were horrified.

That list is not exhaustive, but a good start.

Does it mean the Tea Party will endorse Feingold? Not likely. But it might give the TP pause about jumping aboard the unguided missile that is Ron Johnson's campaign.

That could be quite a debate.

Published

June 15, 2010 - 6:28pm

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