Tuesday, April 03, 2007

Election day: Wisconsin Supreme Court

This year's Wisconsin Supreme Court race between Washington County Circuit Judge Annette Ziegler and Madison attorney Linda Clifford has been the most expensive ever, and one of the nastiest, with robo-calls driving us all nuts and lurid and misleading TV commercials about sex predators that have nothing to do with the Supreme Court polluting the airwaves. No wonder that a poll showing Ziegler ahead released yesterday by the Wisconsin Realtors Association -- which backed Ziegler -- also showed an astonishing 36% undecided. Over the weekend Paul Soglin compared the candidates and summed up the issues in a post that concluded:
A vote for Clifford is not only a vote for justice, it is a vote for sanity in a televised world of hyperbole and distractions.
I agree, and she got my vote this morning, but I wonder if she'll make it. I think she made a mistake by going negative and staying negative in response to Ziegler's mudslinging. Clifford showed she could sling right back, but in doing so, I think she fell into a classic voter suppression trap set by Ziegler's business lobby backers, Wisconsin Manufacturers and Commerce. Ziegler's best chance of winning was always getting the public so ticked off by this ugly campaign that they simply said the hell with it, and that may have happened, judging from the predicted 25% turnout.


Dr Diablo said...

Wow, the voters really gave Clifford the gavel. In the local coverage, Clifford and her supporters muttered gamely about "negative ads" and the dominance of the moneyed interests, but when you lose 58-42, it's got to be your fault.

Of course Soglin thumped the tub for Clifford, just as Tommy Thompson did for Ziegler. Those endorsements are no more surprising than squirrels endorsing nuts. Nobody pulls the lever on the basis of an endorsement. They just issue them because the lack of one is considered very, very meaningful.

How can you deplore negativity with a straight face? Your own posts about the Republicans are full of charges that they are criminal, corrupt, fanatical idiots.

I don't mean the above at all critically. It's just the coin of the realm. Tocqueville noted long ago that he had never been in a country where people heaped such scorn upon politicians and elected officials. In every tavern, the talk was of the fools and knaves in politics. What is different nowadays is that campaigning is perpetual so the epithets and charges never cease. The voters are pretty well numbed up and don't pay much attention to ads claiming that a vote for so-and-so is a vote for pedophilic aliens and so forth.

Wisconsin voters rejected Clifford for her lack of judicial experience. However, she will soon be a winner. The party rewards you for lying down in front of the train like that; a cush job is in her future.

Madison Guy said...

Yes, Clifford ran a terrible race. Didn't give us any reason to vote for her. Ziegler's judicial experience? Don't make me laugh, that's just playing on the voters' ignorance of what an appellate court like the Supreme Court does. But Clifford played right into that by making Ziegler's sentencing decisions an issue. Excuse me -- just when did the Supreme Court get into sentencing?

Clifford forgot that in a mudslinging contest, the Republican usually gets a lot more traction calling the Democrat an alien-loving werewolf than the Democrat gets out of calling the Republican soft on pedophiles.

Mud especially seems to blow back in the faces of Democratic women who try to sling it. Happened to Kathleen Falk too. Probably has to do with the quality of the consultants they've been using.