Is being a lesbian the greatest hurdle Tammy Baldwin must overcome in a possible quest to replace Herb Kohl as a U.S. senator from Wisconsin? That would be most people's first conclusion, and it's the question Jay Rath poses to veteran political observers in our cover story, "Tammy Baldwin, Senator?"
It seems first conclusions might be wrong. Baldwin has been out of the closet a long time, and she's established a track record of accomplishment that might mean more to voters in the rest of the state than her sexual orientation. She's a known quantity, and the ability to get things done is more important than a label.
This is all speculation; she's not even running for sure. But as we know, especially here in Wisconsin, the long run-up to 2012 is already under way, and if things break a certain way, a Baldwin candidacy would not be the long shot that many presume. Bill Kraus, Matt Rothschild and even Scott Walker do not speak of her dismissively. Health care is her big issue, and she's a maverick. This plays well in Wisconsin.
But I'm getting ahead of myself and ahead of the story. Read what Rath has wrought.
We'll be running more stories about politics before the 2012 election. The Republicans will be trying to replicate their success in the midterms, as they cling to the belief that they've been given a mandate. We're going to find out if that's true, and we're going to find out if there is a penalty for overreaching.
In the meantime, it's hot as hell and thank God for air conditioning. It's a good time to hang out in comfort if you can and ruminate about the political future. It's too hot to do anything about it right now.