In his column today, Mark Belling opines about Wisconsin Governor Jim Doyle's chances of bolting Madison for Washington, DC, as part of an Obama administration. Belling's verdict? "50-50," he says.
Now, we long ago established that Belling's prognosticatory powers are pretty pitiful. He predicts the obvious, and when it happens, he claims victory. By claiming the odds are 50-50 that Doyle heads east, he's got his bases covered either way. But here's the part that really bugs me:
If Doyle doesn’t go, it will be because leading Wisconsin Democrats put the kibosh on the deal. A top Democratic source tells me state party leaders are telling the President-elect Obama team that a Doyle resignation in Wisconsin will be disastrous for the party here. They believe that Lt. Gov. Barbara Lawton would be in over her head and could not manage the political fallout from the massive tax increases the Democrats are planning to use to close the state’s looming $5 billion budget deficit.First, Barbara Lawton would not be any more or less "in over her head" than anyone else would be in the same position--than, in fact, Belling is likely to say that Doyle is himself. Lawton is a savvy woman, smart and tenacious. She may be less electable than Doyle, for the same reason that Jean Hundtermark was likely less electable that Mark Green: Women have a harder road to elected office than men do in this country. But a Governor Lawton would not just stand helpless while the state sinks around her. Yeesh.
However, within days of Obama's election, I heard from Democratic sources that Doyle was not particularly interested in leaving Madison. I mean, I know that when the president-elect is on the phone, you take the call. But what Belling has done here is guarantee that if my sources are right that Doyle wants to stay here and he does, the fault lies with legislative Democrats.
It's a twofer for Belling: Democrats are screwed if Doyle goes, and Democrats are screwed if Doyle stays. It reminds me of the joke among the more national bloggers, that whatever happens, it's good for the Republicans. How much does he get paid to type that crap?