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Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Blog of the Week: Klauser Is a ‘False Prophet’ and Other Insults

Plus Heroes and Jerks of the Week

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It appears that the fissures in the Republican Party are getting deeper and more public, as we see in Cory Liebmann’s Eye on Wisconsin blog of July 25:

When I wrote about how nasty Scott Walker supporters have been toward Mark Neumann and his backers, I had no idea that one person could out-insult all the others put together. It shouldn’t be too big of a surprise that this person is right-wing loudmouth Mark Belling. …

Belling is clearly a longtime Scott Walker cheerleader and has zero tolerance for anyone else trying to run against him in the primary for governor. … For most Walker supporters, that hostility is largely saved for Republican big deal Jim Klauser. Belling said that he was disappointed in Mark Neumann for turning over his campaign to someone that he called a “false prophet.” He warned his listeners to be wary of such “false prophets” that claim to be Republicans because it is their only way to get power.

Apparently the fact that Jim Klauser is not backing Walker is not the only reason that Belling attacked him. Belling has apparently joined the paranoia of Rep. Robin Vos in thinking that a new business group (that Klauser is a part of) actually exists to raise money for the current governor. In fact, Belling is so sure of this conspiracy that he took to calling longtime Republican and Tommy [Thompson] aide Phil Prange a (political) “transvestite” because “he goes both ways.” I’m not sure he is using the correct terminology here, but you get the point.

Belling was not finished attacking his fellow Republicans by a long shot. He went on to berate the group that is trying to recall the governor, the “(John) Torinus crowd” and Wisconsin Manufacturers & Commerce (which he called a “sellout” and “weak”). Sad to say, he also dismissed nearly all of the right-wing groups (there is a new one every year) as being ineffective. Sorry MacIver, WPRI and others! Belling also stated that he has zero confidence in the Republican Party of Wisconsin because they are “run by amateurs.”


Heroes of the Week:

State Sen. Lena Taylor and State Rep. Tamara Grigsby

An attempt to restore the vote to 42,000 disenfranchised Wisconsinites earns our distinction as Heroes of the Week. State Sen. Lena Taylor and state Rep. Tamara Grigsby introduced legislation that would restore voting rights to formerly incarcerated individuals who are now either on probation or parole. “Currently, the state has over 41,000 parolees and probationers. These 41,000 men and women are expected to reintegrate themselves into society by holding down jobs, raising families and paying taxes, but they cannot vote,” Taylor wrote. “This is counterproductive to the rehabilitation process.” The Democracy Restoration Act would restore voting rights to those who have paid their debt to society. Similar measures have already been enacted in 18 states, and U.S. Sen. Russ Feingold this week introduced mirroring legislation at the national level. Notes Grigsby, “This legislation takes a step forward in addressing the need for every citizen to be invested in their community, regardless of past mistakes and wrongdoings… We can only hope to stand for democracy in the world if we first stand for it for everyone at home.”


Jerk of the Week: Congressman Paul Ryan

Congressman Paul Ryan again is Jerk of the Week—this time for deceiving the public. Ryan is the charming, affable Republican congressman who is being touted by the Republican Party as one of its up-and-coming leaders and an “Idea Man.” For example, in the health care debate, Ryan is often seen on TV as a major critic of the various plans being discussed in Congress. With a sense of authority, he states that numerous dire consequences await us if health care reform becomes law. But his sources for many of those assertions come from the insurance industry in one of its various guises, including the Lewin Group, which bills itself as an objective policy research group but is actually a wholly owned subsidiary of United Health Group, one of the largest health insurance companies in America.

Not only does Ryan use a research group owned by an insurance company for his talking points, but he also misinterprets their results. For example, the Lewin Group says that more than 100 million people currently insured by private companies would choose to move to a public option because they feel they would get better value for their dollars. Ryan then says that more than 100 million people would be forced out of their private health insurance and into the public option.

Paul, when are you going to come clean with the voters and admit that you are owned by the insurance industry? The largest campaign contributors over the course of your entire career are the insurance companies, you quote material from an insurance-company-owned research group and then misinterpret the research to make it sound dire—and you spend most of your time trying very hard to prevent working people from getting the health care reform they deserve.