Ben Manski vs. Democrats, His Past Statements Not Forgotten

I have been amused this fall at how Ben Manski, who trashed Democrats over the years, is now asking for their votes come November.   In an attempt to win the 77th Assembly District, Manski seems to have forgotten the statements he made about the Democratic Party, and the candidates they placed before the voters .  Or perhaps I should say Manski is hoping the voters have forgotten those statements.  The Democratic voters to be more precise.

The real contest in this district is between Democratic nominee Brett Hulsey and Green Party nominee Masnki.  Voters on the near west side of Madison are being asked to fill the seat of retiring Rep. Spencer Black.  

My attention to this race is two-fold.  First I like Brett Hulsey.  Secondly, I am just perplexed how anyone who has made such incendiary remarks about the Democrats, such as Manski has, can then turn around and ask that party for their votes.  I have followed politics for years and seen just about everything.  But this assembly race intrigues me for the sheer audacity that Manski is using to try and get elected.

Whatever characteristic it takes to do that for an election is something I am pleased, quite frankly, not to posses.

The series of highly critical statements by Manski  about Democrats range from local leaders such as Dane County Executive Kathleen Falk all the way to presidential nominee Al Gore.   Manski’s words have blasted President Obama and even challenged Wisconsin gubernatorial nominee Tom Barrett.

I don’t consider Dave and Kathleen progressive Democrats,”

It is when Manski likens President Bush and Al Gore together that everyone who still gets the required amount of oxygen should become angry. (On both sides of the political aisle!)

Votes for Bush or Gore are votes for continued corporate domination, and an abdication of political responsibility.

Speaking at the South Central Federation of Labor meeting, September 20, 2010 Manski uttered “Tom Barrett is the lesser evil in this race.”

The ironic turn of events from Manski blasting Democrats to becoming cozy and friendly to gain Democratic votes is even more interesting given the electorate’s mood.  The voters seem to want a different approach to politics.  Being too cute by half  this year to get a vote is not the way to win an election.  

When it was convenient for Manski to denounce Democrats he never missed a chance to find a microphone.  Now he needs Democratic votes and must hope that all those he dissed over the years have forgotten.

Or forgiven.

Neither is true if my off-the-cuff chats with folks in-line at stores or while walking among the fall leaves are any indication.   It seems to me that the voters are very aware Manski is either trying to paper over his past remarks, or believes he can pull one over on the voters.

Manski should not be allowed to achieve this.

Since Manski is always preaching about the need for a better democracy perhaps this assembly race might be a good time to show that words and past deeds matter.

20 thoughts on “Ben Manski vs. Democrats, His Past Statements Not Forgotten

  1. Ben Manski:

    Endorsed by District 77 Democratic primary candidates Fred Wade & Doug Zwank (okay, Zwank isn’t exactly a Democrat but…)

    Endorsed by Ed Garvey, Attorney General Peg Lautenschlager & Sec. of State Doug La Follette

    Not to mention Lindsay Lee’s endorsement, a Dane County Democratic Party’s Executive Committee member who said:

    “If Ben were 50% better than Hulsey, then I would support Hulsey because he is the Democratic nominee and Ben is the Green; but Ben is more than 50% better than Hulsey, and at some point, the scales have to tip.”

    Personally, I’m not sure how many Dane Dem meetings/events you regularly attend, but I see Lee at lots of them.

    I’m curious, do you have any issue-based objections to Mr. Manski as a candidate? Or do you have issues where you prefer Brett Hulsey’s stance instead?

    1. Ben is “proud” of his endorsement by Doug Zwank. Is Doug progessive? He’s a nice guy. I liked him when I met him, but he didn’t sound like a progessive during his campaign. I just can’t figure out the definition of a progressive or how Ben decides who’s a friend or foe. Can you explain it all?

      Ed Blume
      Hulsey campaign volunteer

  2. Re: Your statement that “Tom Barrett is the lesser evil in this race.”

    Print a correction or prove — with documentary evidence — that I said that. I don’t believe for a moment that I ever said that, and many witnesses to the SCFL forum have confirmed that they don’t recall me saying that.

    What I said at SCFL was that I was disturbed that Barrett was running against public workers and against Madison in the early days of the campaign, and that he was in danger of making himself look like the lesser evil, which was a shame, because his record in Congress was actually quite good. I said he should not run away from that record, he should run on it. And I said that I support his election, have a yardsign, and am telling people to vote for him.

    As for this supposed across-the-board animosity to Democrats. It doesn’t wash. For one thing, just because someone is not a progressive Democrat, or Green, etc, doesn’t mean I can’t work with them. Despite political differences, I reached out to the mayor to work with him on our Future Cities conference last year. That project turned out quite well and we had a respectful, positive, working relationship. And this was after all the tangling between him and some of my political allies (Brenda Konkel, for example, who I wish was still on the common council to advocate for the politically voiceless).

    Additionally, there is a reason why many progressive Democrats are supporting me, not my opponent, in this race. That’s not the easy thing for them to do. But they are doing it because they know that I do understand and work effectively with Democrats, and they see me as a preferable choice to the guy you are backing.

    I don’t know whether you will approve this message. But I hope you will have the goodness to at least allow me to give my perspective on it, unedited. Thank you.

    – Ben

    1. Ben,

      Thanks for writing. No need to worry about being edited and not allowed to speak here in the comment section. Unless folks curse most things get posted. Same rules here as the Op-Ed page of newspapers.

      The evidence about the Barrett quote at the labor event is in an email from Brett to me with the quote.

      1. Hi Deke,

        I very much appreciate your response. I am always happy to talk –whether to clarify something, answer a question, or if there’s something you’d like me to know about.

        All the best – Ben

      1. Justin True

        Nice soundbite. Now where’s the rest of it? I’d be willing to bet that your segment was Ben reiterating a particular phrase from earlier in his remarks where he most likely said exactly what he said that he did.

        The ugly truth is that Hulsey and his partisan hitmen can’t run against Ben on the issues. Other than your selectively edited little bite, all he has is that Ben recently moved back to the district, which, according to him (THE GUY FROM OKLAHOMA WHO DIDN’T EVEN GROW UP HERE)makes him an outsider.

        1. Justin,

          Hold on one minute.

          Your statement of “your selectively edited little bite” does not wash here. Not with me. So do not even go there.

          You make it sound as if I somehow spliced and diced tape to make the statement that came out of Manski. I in no way did anything but take that segment which Manski himself said did not exist and put it on my blog. I did that to prove I was not making something up, since I felt my credibility was being called into question.

          I have worked in broadcast journalism and know how to pull the selected segment from a longer piece to make the story. An honest story that reflects the facts. That is all I really need to say.

          If one were to operate according to what I suspect you are meaning then every newscast would need to be an hour long to allow for the entire paragraphs on each side of a ‘sound bite.’ Leading and leading out.

          That is what we call C-SPAN.

          Instead of the long versions there is something called ‘sound bites’.

          That is the way the news world operates.

          That is the way the blog worlds operates.

          You seem more like a C-SPAN guy…..get the full 90 minute speech…no editing. Truth is I am that same way at times but that is no way to run a blog.

          In the end Ben admitted he made the statement and this matter is closed as far as I am concerned.

          All that is left is for the voters to decide.

          1. Justin True

            No, what I was suggesting is that you took a portion of his remarks to fit your partisan talking point. I am in no way suggesting that anything was altered. I am fully satisfied that you have some measure of integrity and would not doctor tape.

            That said, you DID edit my last post despite the fact that it contained no profanity which is contrary to your policy stated elsewhere in this thread. I’m a bit mystified by this and it certainly suggests that it is not entirely beyond you to post audio edited in such a way that might maybe possibly be a teensy weensy misleading.

  3. Rick Tvedt

    God, how can you get this so wrong?

    Everything Manski has said is not only true, he will beck it 100%. He’s not asking for Democrats to vote for him. He’s asking the citizenry to vote with their heads and break their conditioning on the two-party system. He wants the best outcome for the people, the state, the country and the world.

    Everyone who knows Manski, and I’ve worked with him for years now, says the same thing. He’s one of the most dedicated and honorable men we’ve ever known. He’s consistently fought for justice. There is no better man to take this legislative seat than Manski.

    Your argument smacks of so much desperation it’s nearly laughable.

  4. Justin True

    What the people of the 77th DON’T want is another partisan hack/corporate shill who thinks he can skate into the assembly paying lip service to the Black legacy and flashing “environmentalist credentials” that are, at best, dubious.

    Ben hasn’t been particularly critical of the true progressive Democrats like Feingold and Baldwin. I’d be pretty surprised if your omission of Ben’s record of working with both on a host of issues in the past was an honest oversight.

    Is the 77th a Demo district first and a progressive one second? The fact that the post-primary portion of this race has been anything but a victory lap for your guy and that partisan hatchet men like you feel the need to blog about non-issue oriented tripe like this says that it’s an open question at the very least.

    November 2, soon come.

    1. Andy Olsen

      So, you’re saying that Ben Manski, Green Party candidate, former co-Chair of one of the national Green Parties, former Ralph Nader campaign manager, is *not partisan*???!?!??


      The real question over tactics and judgment is this: Do we advance good policies by undercutting Democrats in November? Manski says he has dozens of volunteers dropping his lit in the 77th and is raising 10s of thousands of dollars.

      But we might lose Russ Feingold from the US Senate this year! Hey, I’d rather see resources focused on electing Russ and Tom Barrett. Those races allow plenty of motivation to GOTV. We don’t need a run from the Green Party to increase turnout.

      And, this is why I think Ben’s work against Al Gore 10 years ago, his absence from the election heist fight then is relevant today.

      1. Justin True

        You don’t think that there are people in the Manski campaign that are not also busting their humps for Feingold and Baldwin? Guess again.

        The people of the 77th know that a vote for Manski isn’t a wholesale rejection of the Democratic Party. They are too smart and too engaged to buy that.

  5. Jon

    I’ve noticed that the Democrats seem to be doing everything possible to avoid talking about issues in this race and are instead just slinging mud at Ben. Voters will see through these pathetic attacks because Ben is one of those rare individuals who has a consistent record of activism for environmental issues, labor, civil rights, electoral reform, etc that are widely supported by voters in the 77th district. As he said early in the race: this election is about whether the 77th is a partisan or a progressive district. We’ll find out in a couple weeks.

    As far as using his opponent’s quote in an email as evidence, that takes the “debate” down another notch. I agree with Ben, if the author of this piece can’t produce evidence to back his claim a correction needs to be printed.

    1. Andy Olsen

      Actually, it’s Ben’s “mud slinging.” name calling and false representations of his opponent that led me to say anything at all about this race. If Ben had run a race where he was putting an actual agenda out there, telling people how he would function in a one-person caucus, etc, I’d probably not have much to say.

      But, instead, Ben is calling names. Again, it’s how he operates: when he disagrees with people (Al Gore, say) he condemns the loudly as morally inferior.

      Oh, and he talks a lot about himself. All of which leads me to conclude that, in the very remote chance he actually won office, he would be a grandstanding bomb thrower, would withhold his vote for Dems to lead the chamber, etc. That’s why I’ve raised the vanity issue, because it says a lot about he would operate.

      1. Ben has made character THE issue in the race. Other than criticizing Brett for his role in adding biomass fuel to the Cassville generation plant, I haven’t heard Ben critique any of Brett’s positions. If Ben speaks of proposals, they’re sweeping generalities.

        But, I’d be happy to talk about Ben’s comments on education, just to take one example.

        Ben proposes free schooling from kindergarten through college.

        He’s gonna’ get the money by taxing the wealthy.

        How much will free education cost and how much could be raised from taxing the wealthy? Here’s what I could find to answer the question; $9 billion to fund k-college annually and total personal income tax revenue for Wisconsin comes to $6.5 billion annually. My numbers probably aren’t on-the-spot accurate, but they’re in the ball park. And, anyhow, who’d quibble about a billion here and a billion there.

        In short, state personal income taxes would have to increase around 50%. I wish that I could find state revenue by tax bracket, but I doubt that any kind of tax increase on the wealthy would raise another $3 billion annually. I’d like some details from Ben on how he’s going to raise the $3 billion.

        By the way, where does wealthy begin? $200,000? $500,000? I’d like Ben to tell me what income qualifies as wealthy. How much more would the people of the 77th pay in income taxes?

        If tuition becomes absolutely free, as Ben proposes, can the UW maintain current selection criteria for incoming students? He could say yes, but wouldn’t that be elitist, letting in only the children of the wealthy? If he says no, anyone can come to the UW, how will the UW maintain its academic standards, how will the UW handle the throngs of students who show up? I’d like some details from Ben.

        Ben also talks a lot about constitutional amendments to solve problems. But the problems are here today and tomorrow. What’s Ben’s proposal on funding the UW and public education NEXT year? A constitutional amendment five years from now won’t help.

        Because Ben brags about being principled, I wonder whether he’d vote for UW funding in a state budget that contains provisions he doesn’t like. If he’d vote yes, he’s unprincipled. If he votes no, he’s screwing the UW.

        None of Ben’s proposals can stand the test of reality.

        Ed Blume
        Hulsey campaign volunteer

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