One of the unpleasant aspects of the two-party system is how people decide to run for an office then, after they don’t win but their primary competitor does, you never hear from them until the winner loses or decides to leave office.
Consider, for instance, Nancy Nusbaum, who ran against U.S. Rep. Toby Roth (R–Appleton) in 1994, then ran against Steve Kagen, who mistakenly won the Eighth Congressional District Democratic primary in 2006. Regardless of whether you agree with Nusbaum politically, anyone who knows her knows that Nusbaum clearly had more political experience and more going on upstairs than Kagen. So why didn’t Nusbaum ran against Kagen, who embarrassed the Eighth Congressional District every time he opened his mouth, in 2008 or 2010?
Another candidate against Kagen was Jamie Wall, the Green Bay business consultant and former state Department of Commerce administrator who ran against Kagen in 2006 (but not 2008 or 2010), and now wants to run against the man who mercifully ended (for now) Kagen’s political career, U.S. Rep. Reid Ribble (R–Sherwood).
The Green Bay Press–Gazette reports that Wall is “Frustrated with what he sees as a ‘mess’ in Washington,” as if this is a new development:
“Congress is broken,” Wall said. “It’s time for members of Congress to act like adults instead of squabbling children (and) focus on the issues that matter more than anything to the people who sent them to Washington, which is the economy and jobs.” …
Wall cast himself as a problem solver who would approach the nation’s challenges in a pragmatic, bipartisan spirit.
“We have a serious, serious problem with the job situation here,” Wall said. “We really need people who will make this their priority and are willing to work in a practical manner to get things done for the citizens of the country and state. We don’t have that right now.”
“In the business world,” Wall continued, “what you do when you’re faced with a problem is you get all the facts together and you think about what they mean. You talk to people who know something about the problem and you come to a solution in a practical way and execute it. That’s certainly not what the pattern of behavior has been in Congress lately. You have people with ideological lines drawn in the sand (who) won’t work well with others, won’t play with others.”
Problem-solver Wall quickly morphed into Democratic attack dog Wall:
“I’ve never met Congressman Ribble, but I do think that he’s part of a broken system which is not serving the American people or the people in Northeast Wisconsin well.”
When pressed to identify specific areas of disagreement with Ribble on policy, Wall noted Ribble’s support for a federal budget plan closely associated with U.S. Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Janesville, who chairs the House Budget Committee that also includes Ribble.
Wall claims the plan would “end Medicare as we know it,” a recurring Democratic line of attack Republicans have pilloried as a cynical ploy to scare seniors. …
To help kick-start the nation’s sputtering economy, Wall voiced support for portions of President Barack Obama’s $447 billion jobs plan, known as the American Jobs Act.
In addition to applauding the president’s proposed extension of a payroll tax cut as “something people of both parties should be able to agree on,” Wall said he favored new infrastructure spending to boost the economy, especially at a time when federal borrowing rates are hovering around 2 percent.
“Right now, we have literally thousands of people who used to work in the construction industry right here in Northeast Wisconsin,” Wall said. “We have decaying infrastructure … That all adds up to me to a case for targeted spending in infrastructure to put people back to work to and — over the long term — make the economy more productive. I’d start with those ideas.”
To review: Wall thinks absolutely nothing should be changed about a program created in the 1960s in a country with substantially different demographics (as in a shrinking ratio of workers to recipients) than 2011 America. Wall believes that, since the $787 billion stimulus bill didn’t delivered the promised less-than-8-percent unemployment, a stimulus bill with a different price tag will. And Wall apparently has nothing to suggest to revitalize the economy after all the jobs from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (to wit, the U.S. 41 project jobs) go away. Great problem-solving skills, there, Jamie.
My advice to Democrats running or planning to run in 2012: You need to find a new hymnal. The approval ratings for President Obama continue to plunge downward. The approval ratings for Congress are worse, but the latter set of approval ratings include congressmen of both parties. Voters who don’t like John Boehner get Nancy Pelosi instead. You think that’s progress?
If the tea party contributed only one thing to American politics, it was to focus attention on the deficit and our $14 trillion debt. Independent of what the money-for-nothing Occupy _______ people think, financial responsibility is now the order of the day. (If for no other reason than the fact that financial irresponsibility on numerous levels helped cause the mess we’re in today.)
Democrats need to convince voters that they can be trusted to, you know, do better than run some of the largest state deficits in the nation, as Gov. James Doyle and majority Democrats did in 2009–10. Want to complain about Republican wasteful spending? Fine. (There are numerous GOP targets from which to choose.) But replacing a president and party that generated record deficits in the first eight years of the 2000s with a president and party that exceeded even that in the last two years of the 2000s’ first decade did not strike voters as progress, as Nov. 2′s election results demonstrated.
The political narrative is that Republicans are for tax breaks regardless of what they do to the deficit, and Democrats are for increasing government spending regardless of what it does to the deficit. Demographics (all the 2006 Democratic U.S. Senate winners get to stand for reelection) and history (the House of Representatives hasn’t swung from one party to the other and back since the 195os), and an economy that is not likely to be perceived as better one year from now, make 2012 likely to be a bad year for Democrats. If Democrats want to change that, they need to change themselves.
If Wall thinks Eighth Congressional District Democrats are as stupidly liberal as the Occupy _______ types are, he’s going to lose the 2012 race too.