Sunday, January 22, 2012

Keep It Positive and Focus on the Issues

One million people have answered the question: Will there be a recall of Gov. Scott Walker? The new question on people’s minds:  Who will be the Democrat running against Walker?

It’s too soon to answer that question. But it’s not too soon to expect that the Democratic hopefuls will avoid destructive negativism and in-fighting.  As Newt, Mitt and Santorum have made clear, negative primaries are poisonous and counter-productive.

It’s essential that those running in the almost certain-to-happen Democratic recall primary pledge to keep the campaign positive. All the candidates should run on what they would do differently than Walker rather than how they are better than their Democratic opponents. Issues include but certainly go beyond collective bargaining — from public education to the environment, taxing the wealthy, promoting family-sustaining jobs, health care, reproductive rights, paid sick-days, and voters’ rights.

The same code of ethics should go for the candidates’ supporters. Let’s show that, unlike the hyperbole and negativism that has dominated the Republican Presidential primaries, this anti-Walker groundswell will promote substantive discussion of the issues that face our state.

Our goal is to remove Walker from office and reclaim Wisconsin for the 99%. One way to do that is to run positive, issue-oriented campaigns.

I encourage readers to push prospective candidates to make such a public pledge – keep it positive and focus on the issues.

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Charles Blow’s recent New York Times opinion, “Newt’s Southern Strategy,” exposes some of Newt’s slogans as little more than code words for racist attacks on the first African-American president in U.S. history. Using a model perfected by candidate Ronald Reagan and his repeated references to a “welfare queen,” Newt’s continued mention of Obama as a “food stamp President” promoting minority “privilege” is little more than pandering to racism in an attempt to win over white voters. It’s an unfortunate reminder that race remains a central divide in this country.

And a final note. In last week's blog I noted that a book I co-edited, Rethinking Columbus, was banned in Tucson, Arizona -- collateral damage resulting from the right-wing legislature's banning of ethnic studies programs, targeting a Mexican-American Ethnic Studies Program in the Tucson Public Schools. On Sunday, Jan. 22 a New York Times editorial, "Rejected in Tucson" criticized the legislature and specifically mentioned "Rethinking Columbus" along with Paulo Freire's "Pedagogy of the Oppressed." 

1 comment:

  1. I would like to encourage the Wisconsin Democratic party to unite behind their selection who I think needs more than strong popularity in Milwaukee, they need statewide strong popularity and push for their election to Governor.