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The Daily Cardinal Est. 1892
Friday, April 12, 2024

Tom Barrett right man for the job


It’s finally here. Today, Wisconsin Democrats have the historic opportunity to choose who they want to oppose Gov. Scott Walker in the upcoming recall election. To this Editorial Board the choice is clear. If you are casting a ballot today, cast it for Tom Barrett.

In short, the mayor of Milwaukee is the only Democrat who can win. If the point of this entire recall process is to get Walker out of office, then Barrett is the only viable candidate.

Let’s get the easy part out of the way: State Sen. Kathleen Vinehout (who?) and Wisconsin Secretary of State Doug La Follette (while he is a cute old grandfather) have no chance to win within their own party, let alone against Walker.

Former Dane County Executive Kathleen Falk is the only one who can challenge Barrett, but we believe her nomination would be a mistake.

One problem Democrats have with Walker and the Republicans in power is their unwillingness to compromise. A Falk administration would not correct the problem, it would simply shift the intransigence to the other side of the aisle.

Falk signed a union pledge to veto any budget that does not include restoration of collective bargaining rights for public-sector workers. Barrett has refused to sign on.

This Board believes governing by pledge is wrong and ineffective. Pledges force officials to be beholden to special interests while sacrificing political compromise, something that is already all too rare.

The Walker campaign and its supporting PACs would have a field day with advertisements portraying Falk as a union rubber stamp. Barrett would have no such problem.

Again, the purpose of this process is to oust Walker. Although most unions around the state have endorsed Falk in the primary, it is certain they will try their damndest to back Barrett against the governor. The same thing can’t be said for Falk, who will have a harder time attracting independent or undecided voters.

In Friday night’s debate between the four Democratic candidates, Falk made another big mistake that Walker supporters will harp on over and over again.

Comparing the current political climate to a war, Falk said, “When a family is at war, it takes mom usually to get folks together. That’s what this state needs, we need a mom.”

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Her campaign must have let out a collective groan of despair after that one. Falk sounded like she was patronizing the voters, like she has all the answers. After hearing that a couple dozen times on TV and radio, Wisconsinites will not want to support her.

The premise behind that statement is as flawed as the words themselves. There is a level of animosity from Republicans toward Falk, so it is hard to see her becoming the  maternal figure she claims she will be.

Barrett has more statewide credibility and has angered those in his own party during his time as Milwaukee mayor, demonstrating his ability and willingness to compromise.

Admittedly, Tom Barrett is not the best Wisconsin Democrat to face Walker. After all, he lost the gubernatorial race in 2010. This Board would have liked to see other someone like Russ Feingold enter the race, and this endorsement is based as much on Kathleen Falk’s flaws as it is on Barrett’s strengths.

However, Barrett was ready to be governor in 2010. This Board was comfortable endorsing him then and is more than comfortable doing so now.

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