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Friday, October 20, 2006

WI-05: Race Profile, and Kennedy's Defense of the Middle Class

The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel this morning, in its series of profiles of the local races, offers a shallow but accurate look at the 5th CD race. The story hits only two issues--immigration and the war in Iraq--and doesn't get into any of the things that should really matter to the voters in the 5th, things like F. jim Sensenbrenner's jet-setting on the dime of lobbyists or the other things that led Rolling Stone to call him the country's second-worst member of Congress.

The article also doesn't bring up what Laurel Walker did the other day--the history F. Jim has with Green candidate Bob Levis (photo here).

It also doesn't bring up that which the paper's two self-styled muckrakers think is important--that Bryan Kenney isn't rich like Sensenbrenner. I almost laughed aloud, in fact, reading this line:
Describing his critics as "elitists," Sensenbrenner said most people in southeastern Wisconsin want to combat illegal immigration through tougher controls on America's borders.
Elitist? I'm sorry, but Bryan Kennedy doesn't have an elitist bone in his body. I think F. Jim's got a case of pot-kettle syndrome.

That race profile is buried on page B6; however, today the paper has also run on its op-ed page a brief essay by Kennedy where he defends his campaign and explains why you don't see many middle-class folk like him running for Congress:
Polls have shown that Congress has never been so unpopular with the people it's supposed to represent [16% approval--ed.]. There's a simple reason for this disconnect: Congress isn't made up of normal Americans like you and me. We have a system "of, by and for the rich." Middle-class people are systematically discouraged from running for office.

Teachers, carpenters and Wal-Mart employees are unlikely to socialize in wealthy circles, which makes fund raising more difficult. In addition, the major political parties favor wealthy candidates who can finance their own campaigns.

The result of these realities is that the middle class is terribly underrepresented in the halls of power. Every election, we send the wealthy to Congress and expect them to fight for us. Some of them do. Most don't because they simply don't know how. That is why we need more middle-class voices in Congress.

Middle-class voices are stifled by millions of dollars from lobbyists and huge corporations. If we want to get anything else done, we have to remove the special interest money and corruption from our government first. I believe that middle-class people are better able to understand the problems most Americans face and that middle-class people will do a better job of fighting for the interests of average Americans.
I have a problem with Bryan's using disconnect as a noun, but I suspect that the other side of the Cheddarsphere will be most offended by normal. But I defy anyone to explain to me how F. Jim, his extemist policies, or his behavior of late is even close to normal. It's not--he's not. A Bryan Kennedy win in a couple weeks would be a victory for normalcy and sanity. Let's see if we can't make it happen.

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