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Pay no attention to the people behind the curtain

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

The Truth Hurts

A couple of months ago, the Jim Doyle campaign started running an ad ("Stands," link opens in Flash video) claiming Mark Green votes with President Bush 92% of the time. Yesterday's paper ran a story saying that wasn't true; Green's average was closer to 90% and the study Doyle used was actually about how often Green voted with the majority of his Republican Party colleagues--a slightly different animal.

But the page-one headline, and accompanying story, was indeed about Green's support for Bush 90% of the time. In fact, the graphic that went with the story showed that Green was the most reliable Bush supporter from Wisconsin's delegation, voting with Bush more often than his peers four out of the last five years--and above the Republican average for those same four out of five years.

This seems to have touched a nerve, starting with someone whom I will not name on a blog I will not link to. He wrote,
Doyle is a lap dog to WEAC and the Indian Casinos, but the MJS cant find time to talk about that can they? Its times like these that remind me why the alternative media such as blogs sprung up in the first place.

So you people over at the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel when are we going to see the Headline

"Doyle votes with WEAC and the Indian Casinos 100% of the time"?
The kicker, of course, is that Doyle doesn't support the WEAC or casino line 100% of the time. As a WEAC member, I can think of a number of Doyle decisions that I personally and my union both disagreed with--notably his 2003-2005 budget and the "compromise" last spring on expanding the Milwaukee Parental Choice Program's vouchers. (Doyle, as I documented at the time, had been agitating for a similar compromise for some time.) Do I (and WEAC) still support Doyle? You bet, given what Mark Green has promised to do to public education in this state.

But it's odd how much the headline--"Green backs Bush on 90% of votes"--has raised the hackles. Why would Republicans be ashamed to have it known that Green supports Bush so much? Why is the response to a front-page headline that states a fact--one that, normally, a Republican Congressman might be proud of--so visceral and angry? (Fred calls the WEAC/ casino argument "brilliant," for example.)

I think the problem is that the truth hurts. Given the fallout from the Mark Foley scandal, Bush may no longer be the least popular Republican in the country, but the chart on the right shows how decidedly unpopular he is. In Wisconsin, Bush had (last month) a 39% approval rating to a 59% disapproval rating. [UPDATE: The October numbers are just out, and they put Bush at 36-62!]

In the end, I'd welcome the kind of comparison Fred calls brilliant. If this election were held in a vacuum, and you asked voters to support either the man endorsed by Wisconsin's teachers or the man endorsed by President Bush, Doyle would win in a landslide. Wisconsin's teachers have a mind-blowing 77% approval rating.

So I say, bring it. Let's see that headline in the paper. Mark Green, make your commercials about how Doyle supports teachers and our public schools. Please.

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