Barb Caffrey's Blog

Writing the Elfyverse . . . and beyond

Archive for May 2nd, 2012

Scott Walker in Tight Race in WI Governor Recall

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Folks, today a new poll was released by the Marquette University Law School (yes, they do polling, too) that says that if the election were held today, Scott Walker would lose (by a point) to Democratic candidate Tom Barrett.  Walker would win according to this poll against Democratic candidate Kathleen Falk, 49% to 42%, and would beat Democratic candidates Douglas Lafollette (the current Secretary of State) and state Senator Kathleen Vinehout of Alma by a margin of 49% to 40%.

As for how all four Democratic candidates do against each other?  This poll says that Barrett leads with 43%, followed by Falk with 21%, Lafollette with 8% and Vinehout, the least-known candidate, with 6%.

Here’s a link to the article about the poll at the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel:

Now, here’s my take about this poll:  I distrust it.  Why?  Because the Marquette University Law School poll has a known bias that helps Republican candidates look better in polling than they actually tend to do.

For that matter, Falk, a former Dane County Executive, distrusts it also.  Here’s what she said in the Journal-Sentinel article sourced above:

. . . Falk questioned the poll’s findings when she talked to reporters during a campaign tour of Union Cab, a taxi cooperative in Madison.

“The establishment naysayers have predicted this whole year incorrectly,” she said. “They said this recall would never get off the ground.”

I’m with Falk on this one, because I don’t think this poll accurately reflects Wisconsin voters.  Falk is likely being undercounted, as the TV ads have tried to make her out to be a “Madison liberal” when she’s clearly a moderate in the Hillary Clinton mode, and assuredly Vinehout is, as she has a huge stronghold in Northern Wisconsin (the area she serves) that apparently hasn’t been polled whatsoever.  And if two of the four candidates being polled aren’t being adequately reflected, what does that say about the entirety of the poll?

As for the political TV ads we’ve seen thus far in Wisconsin, they’ve been heavily negative against Falk and Barrett.  This is mostly because Walker can spend all sorts of money (he’s raised $13 million thus far, with 2/3 of that money coming from out-of-state interests) and neither Falk nor Barrett can match it as the two, between them, have raised $1.75 million.  (Vinehout and Lafollete, who both are “alternative” candidates with strong grass-roots appeal, certainly can’t.)

But for that matter, I don’t understand the barrage of political advertising thus far.  As it stands, this is an election that’s likely not going to be decided by big-money interests.  Everyone in Wisconsin knows what Walker did, and has firm opinions on it, which is why there are very few “undecideds” in the sense of knowing whether or not they approve of Walker.

Where the indecision comes in — and where the big-money ads may come into play — is this: does Scott Walker deserve to be booted out of office after less than two years in the Governor’s chair?  Some of those who don’t like Walker may be indecisive about getting rid of him, precisely because this is a historic move that’s never before happened anywhere in the United States, much less Wisconsin.

My guess is that the 900,ooo-plus that went out to sign petitions recalling Walker have the most to say in Walker’s recall election, to wit: if they go out and vote, en masse, to get rid of Walker, he will be out on his ear.  Which is why now, we’re starting to see news reports on Milwaukee-area TV stations of a more reflective Walker.  On these TV “spots” (mostly on news reports), Walker insists that even if he is recalled, he’s done everything right.  This belief that Walker somehow is right and everyone else is plain, flat wrong is why Walker should be recalled. 

Wisconsin voters must get rid of Scott Walker, no matter who the Democratic candidate is.  Because if we don’t, we will have no opportunity whatsoever to have a responsible Governor who actually listens to Wisconsinites, as Walker himself has already shown us that he’s not listening to anyone and isn’t about to start doing so, either.

So on May 8, 2012, go out and vote for the candidate of your choice in the Democratic primary.   Then, regardless of who wins (it’s likely to be either Falk or Barrett, which I would’ve believed no matter what the Marquette University Law School poll said), go out on June 5, 2012 and support that person.  Because if we do not get Walker out, things will only get worse — not better.  Guaranteed.

Written by Barb Caffrey

May 2, 2012 at 10:55 pm

Mat Gamel Tears ACL, Out for the Year

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Folks, in last night’s game (May 1, 2012), Milwaukee Brewers first baseman Mat Gamel ran to catch a foul ball in San Diego.  There’s a drainage ditch there, right where the stands meet the field and wall, that’s caused problems before — but the Padres organization has yet to fix it.   This piece of information is essential to have when you consider that Gamel, in stumbling, then falling due to the drainage ditch, tore his anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) and is now projected to be out for the entire year.

This is really bad news for Gamel.  He’s only 26.  He’s had a rough go of it in the Brewers organization; for whatever reason, every season the Brewers minor league system seemingly had Gamel playing a different position.  He started out at third base, had a flirtation with the outfield for a while, and then eventually was moved to first base last year due to the Brewers’ certain knowledge that Prince Fielder would leave after the 2011 season due to Fielder’s demands for a huge payday — one the Brewers couldn’t provide.

So here Gamel is; he’s finally ensconced in the major leagues, playing every day, at first base.  Then he has this injury due to something the Padres really should’ve fixed at least four years ago — this odd drainage ditch right near the wall at Petco Park, which has caused players to miss time or be put on the disabled list (DL) before — and is now out for the entire year.  Gamel’s season ends with a .246 average, 1 home run, 6 RBI, 3 SB, 4 walks, and 15 strikeouts in 21 games played.

As for the Brewers, they’re now in crisis mode according to several sources — Brewers Extra Innings announcer Dan O’Donnell (a show on the Brewers Radio Network, carried by Brewers flagship radio station WTMJ-AM in Milwaukee, WI), FSN Wisconsin announcers Craig Coshun and Jerry Augustine (the latter a former Brewers pitcher during their glory days in the late 1970s/early 1980s), and Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel Brewers beat writer Tom Haudricourt (see this link for more details) — as their only extant options are these: move RF Corey Hart to first base on a long-term basis, or sign and/or trade for someone else who’s capable of hitting big league pitching.

Now, some of you might be saying, “What about Brooks Conrad, who’s hitting quite well in AAA ball?”  While Conrad is hitting exceptionally well thus far — a .400 batting average, 5 HR and 13 RBI — the season is still young, and Conrad’s lifetime batting average of .229 in three-plus years of playing time isn’t exactly reassuring.**  Conrad, 32, can play a number of positions, which is definitely a plus, and is a credible short-term answer, along with current Brewers utilityman Travis Ishikawa (the latter a strong defensive first baseman).  But a long-term answer, he probably isn’t.

At this point, if I were the Brewers organization, I’d immediately start working Corey Hart out at first base.  I’d have him start playing late innings at the position, to get used to it (this, incidentally, would help keep his big bat in the game in later innings, too).  And until he was ready to play full games at first base, I’d probably divide the playing time between Conrad and Ishikawa as the best available options.

But this season doesn’t look too good right now, not with two substantial, season-ending injuries already in Gamel and pitcher Chris Narveson, which is one reason O’Donnell was panicking tonight on his radio show.  (Bad enough that the Brewers are now 11-14 and just lost a game to former Brewers pitcher Jeff Suppan, now of the Padres, even though Suppan hadn’t pitched in the major leagues since 2010.  Or that Rickie Weeks is only hitting .180 and looks horrid at the plate.)


Note: For those of you saying, “Well, Barb, you keep extolling Vinny Rottino, and his stats aren’t that great, either!,” here’s my answer: Rottino’s not had a solid chance to play every day, or even every third or fourth day, in the majors.  Conrad has.  ‘Nuff said.

Written by Barb Caffrey

May 2, 2012 at 10:18 pm