State Senator Tim Cullen Back In The Democratic Fold–Now That He Is Oiled Up

What a week it has been for sticky hinges at the Wisconsin State Capitol.   If one creaks loud enough there is no shortage of oil that is ready to be spent to shut it up, and lower the rancor.  (Apparently Republican Minority Leader Fitzgerald did not have time to have ‘the conversation’ with Cullen in time to stop developments from taking place.)

Today came news that most were suspecting following the dust-up between Majority Leader Mark Miller, and long-time politico State Senator Tim Cullen.

Sen. Tim Cullen will lead two new state Senate committees as part of an agreement he reached Friday with Senate Majority Leader Mark Miller.

Miller announced at a Capitol press conference that Cullen will be chairman of a committee on small business and venture capital and a special committee on mining.

Cullen also will replace the current vice chairman of the Senate Committee on Health, Revenue, Tax Fairness and Insurance, and Cullen will join the Transportation Projects Commission.

The agreement includes Cullen’s return to the Senate Democratic Caucus.

There was clearly pressure on Miller to strike a deal, and get the miffed senator from Janesville back on the ship.    I continue to be troubled with how Cullen, a man I respect and think politically mature, handled this matter.  It was far from his finest moment on the public stage.  Even after getting some serious committees Cullen looks smaller and mean.  That is a sad ending to this story.

I also was a bit surprised that Miller was not able to sense any of Cullen’s anger prior to the embarrassing news this week, and therefore recommend Robert Caro’s work on Lyndon Johnson as a lesson in how he can better handle difficult caucus members. 

Finally this blog has been a strong proponent of a venture capital bill, along with a mining bill.  With the correct approach taken for each measure there is no reason not to have successful conclusions for each of these issues.  I think Cullen may very well be the perfect person to work at bridging the divide and getting these important items passed.

If that is the ultimate outcome then this past week, while still a sour tasting one, will have had some positive result.

Joe Wineke Should Not Have Been Allowed Hour On WIBA Radio Talk Show


This afternoon Tim Scott retuned my phone call. While I understood there was no FCC problem with having  Joe Wineke on the radio this morning for the talk show, Scott did understand my point of view.  As such he was going to talk with Mitch Henck to  get Sondy Pope-Roberts  invited to the show.  I appreciate Scott’s attention to this matter.

Label this one under ‘recall when radio was…’

As I write this I am waiting for a return phone call from Tim Scott, Program Director for WIBA Radio.

I was really taken aback by the decision of WIBA Radio to allow Joe Wineke to have access to the airwaves for one hour this morning for the Friday Roundtable.  There is a primary race underway between Democratic incumbant State Representative Sondy Pope-Roberts and former State Senator Wineke for the 80th District.

While regular morning man Mitch Henck was involved in a golf tournament, Brian Schimming, the conservative pinch hitter, had a great time posing questions to Sunny Schubert the conservative guest, and Democratic candidate Wineke.

I would be the first to say the hour was lively and opinionated. I like the back and forth of such broadcasts. 

But the show ran counter to good broadcasting standards, and that troubles me.

While Wineke is from time-to-time a part of the regular rotating stock of opinions that make up Friday Roundtable he should not have been allowed to continue in that role while a candidate.  While I think it appropriate to have elected officials as part of the Roundtable I think it not in the best interest of broadcasters to allow for a candidate to have unequal time while taking jabs at the primary opponent.

Which is exactly what Wineke did on the air this morning.

I take this issue seriously having worked in radio, and having a long-time  appreciation for broadcasting.  While this blog is often politically opinionated there are other themes that drive me to post.  The way radio broadcasters conduct themselves is often one that I find myself writing about. 

While I would assume the Pope-Roberts campaign is not pleased with how WIBA conducted the show, I would argue that the entire radio listening audience was ill-served by allowing a primary candidate to have such free access to the airwaves.

Or is Mitch Henck planning to have Pope-Roberts on next Friday’s Roundtable for equal time?

While I understand the FCC would likely have no problem with the talk show allowing Wineke on for the hour, does not WIBA want to have a better image for itself on the radio dial?