It looks like we can all expect the races for the state Assembly to get really ugly this year, primarily because Wisconsin Manufacturers and Commerce (WMC) plans on buying up as much ad time as possible. Some observers expect them to spend as much as $7 million to keep their iron fisted control of the state Assembly and its agenda. Wisconsin is still recovering from the dishonest and disgusting attacks that they helped launch earlier this year against Louis Butler. Their actions helped draw very negative national attention to Wisconsin. The vast majority of independent observers condemned their actions in that race and the nonpartisan Wisconsin Judicial Campaign Integrity Committee described the WMC ads as ‘deceiving the public‘. Why would we expect anything else from them when their gravy train in the Assembly may be at stake?
Whenever WMC prepares to spend record amounts of money to influence elections, they often send out their resident joke man Jim Pugh. It is his job to serve up the real whoppers that can sometimes get him laughed out of a room. His most often joke is that WMC’s nonstop flow of deceptive ads are merely an effort to ‘educate the public.’ The Milwaukee Journal has reported the contents of a July fund-raising solicitation from WMC that appears to very clearly state their real goal for the fall, retaining Republican control of the Assembly. The story describes this as their ‘top priority.’ It also reports that they would like to raise some $1 million by Labor Day to use for political ads that would serve that underlying goal. Flooding the public airwaves with deceptive ads is merely a vehicle for WMC’s real goal of maintaining their control over the Assembly.
Obviously WMC has a lot at stake with the outcome of the state legislative races this year. They have directed too much of the legislative agenda for a number of years and it has not been good for the public. WMCWatch.org has calculated that the WMC agenda over the last number of years, if passed, would have cost us over $10 billion. They have used their influence with the current Assembly leadership to attack meaningful health care reform, efforts to address discrimination in the workplace, and even legislation requiring employers to ‘reasonably accommodate’ workers that are pregnant. They have been shameless in trying to force their very narrow corporate interests in our Capitol.
Unfortunately accurately explaining their real intentions will have no place in their coming wave of negative attacks. If they are to follow their typical form, we will witness more slight of hand, deception and baseless attacks. If the public needs to be educated about anything in the next few months, it would be about WMC’s real record and their real intentions. One great place to start that process is at the virtual library of information available at WMCWatch.org.