Barb Caffrey's Blog

Writing the Elfyverse . . . and beyond

Sen. Wanggaard Recall News: Wanggaard will not debate former Sen. Lehman

with 2 comments

Last week, former Senator John Lehman (D-Racine) said he would take on current Senator Van Wanggaard (R-Racine) in an upcoming recall election.**   Lehman, who lost to Wanggaard in 2010, says he wants a series of public debates; however, Wanggaard says he has “no interest” in debating Lehman whatsoever and will “stand on his record.”

Please see this link for further details:

About the best Wanggaard says he’s able to do is this; if Lehman is willing to attend one of Wanggaard’s weekly town halls out in the Town of Yorkville (a very small, rural part of Racine County):

“If (Lehman) wants to attend one of my town halls, he can sure ask questions,” said Wanggaard.
This doesn’t seem extremely forthcoming, to my mind; worse yet, it seems a tad bit cowardly on the part of Wanggaard.  But to Lehman, apparently this is par for the course:
In Lehman’s announcement Tuesday that he will run against Wanggaard in a likely recall, he said when he ran against Wanggaard in 2010, and was defeated by him, “Mr. Wanggaard never once would agree to an on the ground debate in Racine.” 

There was a television debate and The Journal Times hosted an online forum, but no public debates where people could ask questions in person. 

“They just avoided a discussion,” Lehman said in his announcement. 

Lehman said he would like to see a series of debates. “I think people deserve that,” Lehman said. 

When Lehman ran against former County Executive William McReynolds in 2006 for the Senate, he said there were about 10 debates.

. . . which just goes to show you how much McReynolds respected the public, and how much Wanggaard disrespects the public now.

Look.  There are good Republicans in Wisconsin who currently hold high office (Sen. Dale Schultz, R-Richland Center, is one such Republican), and there are good Republicans who’ve held office in the past, including McReynolds.  These are responsible people who believe in public debates, and want the public to be well-informed as to the nature of the decisions facing them.

For that matter, all six of the Republican state Senators who faced recall in 2011 allowed for public debates; one, Robert Cowles (R-Green Bay), didn’t have a debate, but that’s because his opponent, Nancy Nussbaum, had to deal with funeral arrangements due to the death of her mother on the day the debate had been scheduled.  For obvious reasons, the debate was called off.  (Let the record state, however, that Cowles was willing to debate.  Wanggaard is not.)

So why is it that the 2011 Rs were willing to debate the D candidates who were running in recall elections against them, but Wanggaard is unwilling to debate Lehman now?  (And for that matter, why was Wanggaard unwilling to debate Lehman back in 2010?)

Methinks Wanggaard knows that debates or no debates, he will be out on his ear — the first one-year Senator in the history of Racine politics.  (Former Senator George Petak, R-Racine, held office from 1990-6, and was successfully recalled during the middle of his second term.)  And that’s why his public stance — i.e., “No debates!” — is so wishy-washy at absolute best. 

Were I Wanggaard, I’d want to go down fighting, so the constituents I’d represented knew that I’d at least tried to do my best by my own lights.  But nothing says he must be smart or courageous, now, does it?

Anyway, as I’m one of Wanggaard’s constituents — not that he’s ever listened to me before, mind you — I want to say this to Senator Wanggaard:

Senator, it’s time to stop ducking the issues.  Debate former Senator Lehman in a public forum.  Take questions from your constituents.  And be prepared to explain why, oh why, you voted against collective bargaining when you, yourself, have benefitted handily from collective bargaining in the past (and continue to benefit from it in the here-and-now due to your police retirement).

It’s not that you’ve benefitted that’s so upsetting, Senator — it’s that you don’t want anyone else to benefit now that you have.  (Otherwise known as, “I have mine, so who cares about you?”)  That, sir, is hypocrisy at its finest, and that is why we are so upset with you.

We don’t like hypocrisy in Racine, Senator.  We don’t like it at all.

But you’re still allowed to explain yourself, and your actions, in a way that makes more logical sense than you’ve done thus far.  So do yourself a favor, and debate Lehman; it can’t hurt, might help, and will at least make those of us who oppose you appreciate your willingness to stand up and face the music.


**Note that while Wanggaard’s upcoming recall election isn’t a 100% lead-pipe cinch, I would put it at 99.9% likely due to the fact that over 24,000 signatures were turned in while approximately 15,400 were needed to recall Wanggaard.  Not all of those signatures will be valid, but most will be; Wanggaard is headed to a recall election and he well knows it. 

2 Responses

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  1. Van is a chicken. I think he wants some bird seed in his cereal.


    February 7, 2012 at 4:27 am

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