Prediction For Wisconsin Republican Senate Primary–Will It Be Tommy Thompson’s Final Act?
I have been thinking about the outcome of the U.S. Senate Republican primary for months. Like everyone else I am wondering what the Republican Party stands for in Wisconsin these days? Did the victory of Ron Johnson and Scott Walker in 2010 reflect not so much a year of political discontent being displayed in awkward ways, but instead a change in the mindset of state Republicans? Does the Tea Party matter in the Badger State?
If so how does that translate into the outcome for the four challengers for the senate nomination?
I must say with all candor I was really disheartened to hear the word ‘socialism’ escape from Tommy Thompson’s mouth on Friday night during the debate, in relation to policies of President Obama. The fact Thompson needed to use such a word, and try to invoke the Tea Party narrative speaks volumes about where the GOP is today.
I recall with some real nostalgia the Tommy Thompson of days gone by. The very first day of my employment at the State Capitol was Inauguration Day 1987. It was a great day for both of us. Looking out from a mezzanine at the swearing-in of Thompson was truly a memorable event. Though he was a conservative with a well-recorded bombastic side as minority leader, there was also the knowledge that he was a sensible politician who was likely to want to deal with the other side to secure accomplishments.
Decades later that same politician was looking into the camera at the debate, and uttering the stock phrase of red-meat Republicans who like to smear more than compromise. These past months were not the best moments in Thompson’s career.
As I watched Thompson go through the political motions during the debate I thought of the wonderful film The Artist where making a transition from silent films to talkies was so arduous. Now Thompson was needing to wade from the sensible high ground of politics where he was so adept to the unseemly side where the Tea Party resides. Given my warmer feelings at times for Thompson as a person I am sure the need to stoop down to play such ridiculous politics all to gain the nomination must be galling.
That he played it that way these past months in the face of attacks claiming he was not conservative enough speaks volumes about how bad he desires to still play in the arena. I myself could not have sold out for such a ‘a victory’ but over and over we have seen how hard it has been for Thompson to leave the stage.
So where does that leave the GOP Tuesday as voters head to the polls for the primary?
I think that voters–even Republicans–still want competence, and a proven track record matters. When it comes to ability and earnestness Thompson is the one with the most to offer from the four candidates.
While 2010 was a foul election year where anger was the main ingredient, I think that voters are in a different frame of mind that is less vengeful this cycle.
Therefore… Tommy Thompson wins the election today.
I am thinking that most staunch conservatives will then fall for Mark Neumann, third place will go to the most insincere and laughable candidate of 2012, Eric Hovde, and what was he thinking when he gave up Assembly Speaker for this race….Jeff Fitzgerald winds up in fourth place.
Let the wagering begin…