In Wisconsin, the major-party presidential primaries are overshadowed by an officially non-partisan general election for one of seven seats on the Wisconsin Supreme Court, in which there are two candidates vying for a seat on Wisconsin’s highest bench. One of the candidates in the state supreme court race is Rebecca Bradley, a far-right incumbent state supreme court justice appointed to the court by Republican Governor Scott Walker. Bradley’s opponent is JoAnne Kloppenburg, a dedicated public servant and jurist who is currently a state appellate court justice and previously served as a Wisconsin assistant attorney general under both Democratic and Republican state attorneys general.
Many, many years before Bradley became a state supreme court justice, Bradley wrote a series of hateful columns for the student newspaper and student magazine of Marquette University. Bradley also has a very long history of saying incredibly offensive things, even long after she graduated from college.
Kloppenburg is running a brilliant, factual attack ad against Bradley, using Bradley’s own words against her:
Long story short, I believe that the people of Wisconsin cannot afford ten more years of an ideologically-motivated politician like Rebecca Bradley issuing decisions from Wisconsin’s highest bench. That’s why I encourage Wisconsinites to vote for the only independent-minded jurist running for a seat on the Wisconsin Supreme Court: JoAnne Kloppenburg. Kloppenburg believes that justices should interpret the laws, not use the judiciary to enact a political agenda by judicial fiat.
The general election for Wisconsin Supreme Court is April 5, and will be held alongside the Democratic and Republican presidential primaries in Wisconsin. Go, Jo, Go!
Although the official Hillary Clinton presidential campaign has not yet begun airing any attack ads against Bernie Sanders (despite a promise from U.S. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack that Hillary will do so), a pro-Hillary political action committee (PAC) called Correct the Record is going on the attack against Bernie in the form of television ads:
Pro-Clinton super PAC Correct the Record will begin airing attack ads, calling for Senator Sanders to release his medical records.
The new assault on Senator Sanders comes as the polls tighten in Iowa, and he holds a commanding lead in the first primary state of New Hampshire.
The ad will reportedly call for Sanders to release his medical records before Iowans go to caucus on February 1st.
Presumably, the ad will air in Iowa, and possibly other early primary/caucus states as well.
This is a disgusting invasion of Bernie’s right to medical privacy. If Bernie and/or an outside group supporting Bernie ran attack ads calling for Hillary to release her medical records, I’d be just as disgusted and outraged. If a presidential candidate wishes to release his/her medical records, that’s his/her own prerogative. If a presidential candidate declines to release his/her medical records, that’s he/she reserving his/her right to medical privacy that is afforded by federal law.
This is different than, for example, tax returns, which, in my opinion, should be public record (currently, federal tax returns are not public record, although there may be some states where state tax returns are public record), and I call for all presidential candidates, regardless of party affiliation, to release at least 10 years worth of federal and state tax filings, if they have not already done so.
As much as I admire Bernie Sanders for having (so far) stuck to a campaign promise not to run negative campaign ads in his campaign for the Democratic Party’s presidential nomination, I think that it’s past time for Bernie to run a damn good attack ad against Hillary Clinton and the Clinton political machine.
If I were running Bernie’s campaign, here’s how I would draw it up (please note that this is NOT an actual campaign ad):
Narrator: While Hillary Clinton represented New York State in the U.S. Senate, she took campaign cash from a guy who said this about millions of Americans…
(clip of Donald Trump “They’re bringing drugs, they’re bringing crime, they’re rapists.” quote)
Narrator: Donald Trump, now a Republican presidential candidate, gave campaign contributions to then-U.S. Senator Hillary Clinton. What is now-Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton saying about Trump’s offensive remarks about the American people?
(clip of Hillary Clinton “I’m going to let him live in his alternate reality. I’m not going to respond.” quote)
Narrator: If nominated by the Democratic Party, Bernie Sanders isn’t going to let Donald Trump’s offensive rhetoric about the majority of Americans go unchallenged, and he certainly isn’t going to take Donald Trump’s money.
Bernie Sanders: I’m Bernie Sanders, and I approve this message.
Yes, Hillary took campaign cash from Trump when she was a U.S. Senator. It’s true. It’s damn true. More importantly, there’s absolutely nothing that Hillary and her supporters can do to hide the fact that Hillary took campaign contributions for a far-right bigot who has a penchant for offensive rhetoric.
There are times where it is necessary for a politician to go against his or her own principles to do a bold thing to move closer to making America a far better place to live. In this case, the bold thing for Bernie to do is run such an effective attack ad against Hillary, nobody is going to forget it.
While the corporate media is touting new polling showing an apparent slight boost of support for Hillary Clinton in the race for the Democratic presidential nomination, Hillary and her allies are acting like they’re behind, and that Bernie Sanders is their main opposition.
Recently, Robby Mook, Hillary’s campaign manager, sent out an email which didn’t mention Bernie by name, but tried to tie Bernie to Karl Rove, whose right-wing political operation has been running paid ads in New Hampshire attacking Hillary over her use of a private email server for government business when she was U.S. Secretary of State. Part of the email was quoted by education blogger Peter Greene; you can find the partial Hillary email here in a blog post that’s primarily about Hillary’s right-wing, teacher-bashing education agenda.
I find it downright laughable that Hillary’s allies are now trying to tie Bernie to someone as odious as Karl Rove, who represents the kind of right-wing big money people and political establishment that Bernie has made a name for himself railing against. Bernie’s political philosophy is virtually the opposite of that of Rove, and Bernie would never coordinate with any kind of outside groups, much less right-wing political groups that push a political agenda that Bernie is staunchly opposed to. In fact, Mook implied that Bernie was illegally coordinating with Rove and his political operation, which is an absolutely absurd suggestion. Hillary’s allies know that Hillary can’t win on the issues, so they’re resorting to asinine smears and false political attacks against Bernie.
I can’t wait to see Bernie Sanders crush Hillary Clinton in the Democratic presidential debates.
AUTHOR’S NOTE: I have made edits to the blog post and title to accurately reflect Nation Consulting founder Thad Nation’s use of a 501(c)(4) organization to give money to right-wing organizations and Democratic Party of Wisconsin Chairperson candidate Jason Rae’s employment by Nation Consulting.
I’ve found information that proves that Thad Nation, Wisconsin Democratic chairperson candidate Jason Rae’s boss at Nation Consulting, has provided money to at least seven right-wing organizations, including at least four that are funded either directly or indirectly by the Koch Brothers. Nation himself was listed in a 2012 IRS 990 filing as the principal officer of Coalition for the New Economy (CftNE), a 501(c)4 organization that opposes government-run broadband internet services in areas where private-sector firms currently provide broadband internet service. CftNE has also given money to at least several right-wing political groups that have actively opposed Democratic and liberal political candidates, have actively supported Republican and conservative political candidates, and/or have advocated for far-right policies that would have a negative impact on America. Here’s the organizations that CftNE has given money to, according to page 17 of the 2012 IRS filing by that organization:
- $15,000 for “general support” to the National Taxpayers Union (NTU), a right-wing anti-tax organization that has, among other things, effectively supported allowing the U.S. federal government to default on the national debt. NTU has received a total of $32,500 from the Koch Family Foundations from 1998 to 2008, including $5,000 from Charles Koch’s own foundation in 2008.
- $5,000 for “general support” to the Center for Individual Freedom (CIF), a right-wing organization that spent $1.9 million in television advertising in an attempt to help Republicans win U.S. House races that were seriously contested by both major parties in the 2012 elections. CIF spent a slightly larger amount of money on a similar effort in the 2010 elections.
- $5,000 for “general support” to Americans for Prosperity (AfP), a far-right political organization founded by the Koch Brothers themselves. In Wisconsin, AfP spent $866,000 in ads designed to help Scott Walker win the 2014 Wisconsin gubernatorial race and approximately $2.9 million in ads in opposition to the 2012 recall effort against Walker that was strongly supported by Wisconsin progressives.
- $10,000 for “general support” to FreedomWorks, a far-right organization that has, among other things, ran several anti-union campaigns in states like Michigan, Ohio, and Pennsylvania and supported far-right extremist Chris McDaniel, who, among other things, blamed rap music for many of our country’s problems, in his unsuccessful 2014 Republican primary challenge to U.S. Senator Thad Cochran of Mississippi.
- $5,000 for “general support” to Institute for Policy Innovation (IPI), a right-wing organization that was founded by former House Majority Leader Dick Armey (R-TX) and, among other things, opposes taxation and supports privatizing Social Security. IPI has received $35,000 from the Claude R. Lambe Charitable Foundation, which is identified by the Center for Media and Democracy’s SourceWatch as one of the four Koch Family Foundations. IPI is the only one of the organizations listed in the CftNE filing that is a 501(c)(3) organization; all of the others are listed as 501(c)(4) organizations.
- $15,000 for “general support” to the Taxpayers Protection Alliance (TPA), a right-wing organization that has, among other things, attacked the federal government over the proposed merger between Comcast and Time Warner Cable, two of the largest cable television providers in the country.
- $14,740 for “general support” to the 60 Plus Association (60 Plus), a right-wing organization funded by Koch Brothers-funded organizations like Freedom Parners and American Encore as part of a complex web of Koch Brothers-funded organizations. In Wisconsin, 60 Plus ran this advertisement attacking now-Democratic U.S. Senator Tammy Baldwin for supporting the Affordable Care Act (ACA), federal legislation that provided millions of Americans with health insurance.
That’s a total of $69,740 that Thad Nation has, through CftNE, provided to right-wing organizations that have supported Republicans like Scott Walker, ran smear campaigns against Democrats like Tammy Baldwin, and have supported far-right policies that would make America a much worse place to live. Thad Nation is also the same person who employs Jason Rae as a senior associate at Nation Consulting, and Rae is running for Chairperson of the Democratic Party of Wisconsin. If Rae is elected DPW Chair, it would be at least an apparent conflict of interest for someone like Rae to be the head of a state-level Democratic organization if he were to remain employed at Nation Consulting, because the founder of that organization was the head of a 501(c)(4) organization that gave money to groups that support Republicans and their destructive far-right agenda.
Let me finish this post by saying two things about Rae and his supporters. One, Rae’s supporters are some of the most vile people I’ve ever interacted with online. Two, Rae completely lacks the temperament to be in a Democratic Party leadership position of any kind.