Skip to comments.WI: The gang’s all here, but which candidate is the most conservative?
Posted on 07/31/2012 6:41:48 AM PDT by afraidfortherepublic
MADISON Together at last.
All four of the lead GOP candidates for Wisconsins hotly contested U.S. Senate race appeared at a debate Monday, marking the first time these bitter rivals have shown up to the same debate since the campaign began.
While the candidates threw verbal jabs and blasted negative advertisements and past voting records, their prescriptions for American policy could have come from the same doctor.
Each candidate tried to appear more conservative than the next. Jeff Fitzgerald, who is in last place in the latest polls, pointed to his record as Assembly speaker during last years tumultuous legislative session.
Mark Neumann, an early favorite who is now third in the polls, listed a whos who of tea party darlings who have endorsed his campaign Sen. Jim DeMint, R-S.C., Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., and Sen. Pat Toomey, R-Pa.
Tommy Thompson, perhaps losing his grip on a large early lead, pointed to his moniker Dr. No, and the welfare reform he enacted as Wisconsin governor.
Eric Hovde, the only candidate without a previous legislative record, said he used conservative values to help build successful businesses.
The candidates continued to debate one another on conservative pedigree, each asserting a political urgency.
Our country is on fire, Hovde said about attack ads from Thompson and Neumann. Were heading off a financial cliff. And instead of talking about the issues that are meaningful and how to get our country turned around, since the day I got into this race Ive had career politicians that have done nothing but attack me.
Neumann and Thompson criticized Hovde for running a negative campaign.
On the economy, each candidate called for a reduction in spending, the national debt and deficit.
The debate turned into a game of fiscal conservative one-upmanship a contest over which man could cut the deepest.
Thompson called for a balanced budget amendment, an 18 percent ceiling on expenditures and revenue and a 5 percent reduction in every federal agency.
Fitzgerald called for entitlement reform putting on the table Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid.
By the middle of the next decade, every dollar flowing into the federal government will have to go for just those four programs (interest on the national debt was the fourth), he said.
Hovde said the corporate tax rate should be lowered to at least 25 percent.
Neumann, like his rivals, calls for the repeal of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, commonly referred to by conservatives as Obamacare, pledging he would work to kill it, if elected.
He called on the Constitution to do the heavy-lifting in cutting into the nearly $16 trillion U.S. debt.
The Tenth Amendment all by itself would eliminate much of our budget debt, because the Tenth Amendment says if theres not anything specifically enumerated in the Constitution as a power of the federal government, they hadnt ought to be doing it, Neumann said as part of his three-step process to balance the budget and restore our economy. Neumanns plan also includes a balanced budget amendment to the Constitution.
Perhaps the latest poll from conservative pollster Rasmussen, which puts U.S. Rep. Tammy Baldwin, D-Madison, ahead of the GOP field, was a wake-up call for Republicans.
Wisconsins partisan primary elections are Aug. 14.
The radio debate was sponsored by 97.5/1360 News Talk WTAQ, Green Bay.
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What about the other opportunities when he could have taken on a dem incumbent and at worst taken one for the team? He had to run for the WH because the Senate was beneath him. Live with him for one term? It will end up meaning 2 because no one will challenge him when he’s 75. That’s how the game is played. We will do the same in the blue states where I would be more comfortable. Think NM and Mass. The one in Maine took herself out. Maybe she should have been pushed out.
It's preposterous for him to point a finger at Hovde - what an old fraud.
Yes, sometimes businessmen cover their bases, so to speak, by donating to another party - we're not babes in the wood, here, no need to blush and look shocked when it comes up.
Hovde is already running better in the polls against Baldwin and would be a far stronger candidate in the general election than that old fossil.
Fitzgerald is laying the groundwork for a future run. Neumann missed his boat when he unilaterally disarmed against Feingold and ushered Russ into the US Senate.
We voted yesterday — for Hovde.
I said I support Neumann. I am well aware of Thompson’s deficiencies. I support Neumann, but expect Thompson to win, and distrust Hovde completely.
Any of them would be a SERIOUS upgrade over Kohl.
You might be right about Thompson for two terms. I do fear Baldwin, but think she could beat Hovde.
Unfortunately it looks like the way these guys have conducted this primary campaign they have turned a sure winner against an extreme leftist into making her a clear favorite to take the seat.
I had not seen that poll; Thompson had been up over Baldwin by 15 not long ago.
There is still time to define Baldwin, but she’s shrewder than most hard left pols.
I’d been leaning towards Hovde, until he started running that mud-throwing ad.
Granted, I do not watch much TV or listen to radio all that often, but I’ve not seen or heard any of the candidates throwing mud at Hovde, as he claims. In fact, he’s the one throwing mud in the ad complaining of mud throwing.
So, I’ve cooled on Hovde.
I really like Fitzgerald. I like him right where he is, though he is leaving his current position, unfortunately, regardless. If he had the money and organization to go up against Baldwin, he’d be my first choice.
Assuming his new-found conservatism is genuine, how long would Thompson serve?
That leaves Neumann.
You must not watch ANY TV or listen to ANY radio. A surrogate outside group that employs former Neumann staffers began a blistering mud-throwing ad campaign more than a month ago. Neumann followed up with his nearly-identical official mud-throwing ads a week later. Those ads drowned out the positive ads Hovde has been running for the last 5 months.
Neumann is pursuing the same sort of distortion-filled (I will refrain from calling them pants-on-fire lies) campaign as he did during his dishonest 2010 gubernatorial primary campaign against Scott Walker.
Neumann should be the LAST candidate you consider.
I do like Fitzgerald, but Fitzy is from such a small town and has such a tiny base of support to run a statewide campaign that I'm not sure he would prevail against Baldwin and her union/Soros financing. On that basis alone, I will vote for the self-financed Hovde.
Tommy is just too old and too much of a GOP-e big spender for my tastes. And when he jumped in and began his own phony attack ads on Hovde, Tommy destoyed any feelings of goodwill he developed as our gaffe-prone loutish governor more than a dozen years ago.
I’ve already voted absentee for Fitzgerald, a true conservative.
Tommy is too old, and was a big spender, and we need someone who can hold the sea for more than one term.
Hovde is an unknown, he strikes me as a Johnson wannabee, he doesn’t live in WI.
Neumann, I will never forgive him for his nasty campaign against Walker during the primary for governor.
I agree with all you said, except that I’ve met Hovde and I trust him. I would have loved to have voted for Fitzgerald, except I have serious reservations about his ability to raise the funds to win in the General. I heard an ad on the radio from Fitzgerald today on my way home from work, and I said to my husband that Fitzgerald should have run that ad 6 months ago. He agreed.
I’ll go a little further on Tommy. He was just horrid at our Lincoln Day Brunch. Angry. Loud. Yelled at us. All of the candidates were there, and Hovde was the best. He also sat at my table, and we found him to be very personable. But, even there, Fitzgerald gave the best speech. Fitz commented on being the only candidate who had received death threats. That really set Tommy off who went on a rant about how he had received death threats 20 years ago.
Ah, that's the gaffe-prone loutish governor I remember.
So then, Fitzgerald or Hovde? Whether or not Fitzgerald has the money for the general, he has certainly earned my trust and my vote.
New primary poll from “We ask America” TT and Hovde tied at 23% Neumann 17% Fitzgerald 12%.
I’m voting for Fitz. For all the reasons you stated.
Newman-perennial candidate, what’s the next office he’ll run for?
Hovde- can’t fill Johnson’s shoes, carpetbagger.
Fitz - proven conservative
I think it's great that we can chose among such good candidates.
I just think that it is too bad that WI does not have a provision to have a run off between the top 2 candidates. Tommy is polling at 28% with the rest of the field at 78%. That means that 78% of WI doesn’t want Tommy, yet Tommy will probably get in. :(