Two weeks before Election Day, the Journal Sentinel continues to carry water for Mark Green.
Yesterday, the paper carried a horribly-written, rambling article that strained to create an impression that the differences in health care policy between the two candidates for governor are "not huge". However, as Bill Christopherson points out, "[h]ealth care is actually one of the defining issues in the race, and Green and Doyle are poles apart."
While Jim Doyle has successfully made sure more state residents are protected with expanded programs like BadgerCare and SeniorCare, Green has been in Washington, voting for vast handouts of corporate welfare for pharmaceutical companies and loopholes like health savings accounts, that only serve to undermine the goal of universal health care.
But, by minimizing the differences between the candidates through a maze of confused rhetoric (the article cries out for bullet-points, but that would have defeated its purpose), the J-S, as it has the entire campaign, assists Green by failing to represent him as the far-right, health industry-pocketed wack-job that he is.
Or, perhaps, the newspaper is just quibbling with whether the differences are "huge", a word they chose to use in the headline. How about "significant" or "tremendous"? How about, in the case of Green’s reliance on the magic of market forces, "life-threatening"?
Then, today, as Doyle continues to do his job by notifying the Bush (and Green’s) federal government that he would seek a waiver to keep SeniorCare going, the Journal Sentinel decided that story was secondary to Green’s foolish proposal to move the entire state Department of Workforce Development to Milwaukee.
The important SeniorCare request to the feds was apparently dismissed by the paper because it was "little surprise" and because the SeniorCare waiver was not expiring until June (what’s wrong with planning ahead?). And what, exactly, is any more surprising about a blatantly opportunistic proposal to rip one of the state’s largest agencies out of its home in Madison to scrounge for votes in Milwaukee, with $500,000 in "faith-based" money thrown in for good measure? These are the kinds of un-serious ideas you expect from a politician desperate to chip away at Doyle’s deserved advantage in the city.
The article nods to these kinds of inconvenient issues while giving the whole idea undue legitimacy. While saying the proposal would face "controversy" (gee, ya think?), the J-S marveled at the political strategy that would supposedly "[blunt] Doyle's expected victory margin here". This is the kind of political reporting that treats its subjects like idiots. The logic appears to be that we would be more inclined to vote for a candidate who makes nutty, unworkable, inefficient proposals, as long as it means a few more state employees in city. Self-interest or good government? Why not strive for both?
It is a bit surprising that Green would be spending his time on these kind of relatively subtle patronizing gestures this late in the campaign. It may be an attempt to claim some plausible deniability from the expected antics of his surrogates, who will spend the next two weeks on talk-radio and paid advertising scorching the earth and poisoning the well to smear Doyle and suppress turnout by disgusted independents. That the Journal Sentinel is at his side, helping, is not a surprise.