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League slams corporate-debates

Please limit discussion in this area to local and state politics.

The League of Women Voters says Eisman is a legit candidate who should be welcomed to the debates. The ATC-AmFam-MGE-WEAC-Chamber debate commission (self-styled "We the People") says no. What do you think?

Eisman belongs in the debate.
18
75%
Keep it a two-party affair.
2
8%
I'm sick of elections. When does the streetfighting start? And will Stu be there?
4
17%
 
Total votes : 24

In case you missed it . . .

Postby Ben Manski » Tue Aug 29, 2006 2:33 pm

Editorial: Open the debates
A Cap Times editorial, Aug. 28, 2006

Four years ago, the We the People debate consortium the corporate-sponsored initiative that was created to remove control over statewide debates from the nonpartisan League of Women Voters actually did something right. After years of excluding third-party candidates from gubernatorial and U.S. Senate debates, the consortium finally acknowledged that it had been wrong and invited Libertarian and Green candidates for governor to participate in a debate with the Democratic and Republican nominees.

Libertarian Ed Thompson and Green Jim Young brought a lot to the 2002 gubernatorial debates. In fact, many observers said the third-party contenders proved to be more engaging and substantive debaters than Republican incumbent Scott McCallum and Democratic challenger Jim Doyle. And, while neither Thompson nor Young prevailed on Election Day, almost 15 percent of Wisconsinites who cast ballots chose one of the two outsider candidates.

Now the We the People consortium which is made up of media partners such as the Wisconsin State Journal, WISC-TV, Wisconsin Public Radio, Wisconsin Public Television, Wood Communications, and WisPolitics.com, along with corporate and interest group sponsors such as American Family Insurance, American Transmission Co., Madison Gas & Electric and the Wisconsin Education Association Council is back to its old tricks. And Wisconsin democracy will suffer if the group is allowed to return to the policy of excluding legitimate third-party contenders from this year's gubernatorial and U.S. Senate debates.

Green Party gubernatorial candidate Nelson Eisman, a former Dane County supervisor who has chaired the Madison Commission on the Environment and served as a member of the Dane County Regional Planning Commission, is by any measure a serious candidate. He's put together a campaign staff, with headquarters, position papers and significant endorsements. He's raising money at a reasonable clip. And he's garnering grass-roots support around the state.
Editorial: Open the debates
AP Photo/Morry Gash
This 2004 debate brought together all four gubernatorial candidates.

Yet Eisman has been told that he "does not meet the criteria" that were arbitrarily established by the We the People consortium to determine which candidates are allowed to participate in debates.

In fact, the only criterion Eisman does not meet is the requirement that a candidate show at least 10 percent support in independent surveys of the electorate.

The problems with the We the People calculus are many. First off, Eisman's name has not been included in polls. If his name were included, there is a good chance that this newcomer to statewide politics would poll below 10 percent, but, remember, that 10 percent figure was arbitrarily selected by the folks who run the We the People operation.

How arbitrary? Four years ago, while Libertarian Ed Thompson polled well, Green Jim Young never got into the 10 percent range. But, when all was said and done, both Thompson and Young were included in the debates.

The League of Women Voters, the Wisconsin Democracy Campaign and Common Cause in Wisconsin have all called for Eisman's inclusion. "The league has long believed that voters are best served when all candidates are included in a discussion of the issues," says Andrea Kaminski, executive director of the Wisconsin league. "Third-party candidates play an important role in steering the debate toward issues that affect our daily lives but might otherwise not be discussed."

That's the right sentiment. It will make the debate that the league and AARP hope to organize in Green Bay later this year far more meaningful and newsworthy than the We the People charade.

Of course, We the People could yet redeem itself. The consortium need only do what it did four years ago invite a legitimate third-party candidate to participate with the Democrats and Republicans.


Published: August 28, 2006
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Postby Ben Manski » Wed Aug 30, 2006 2:58 pm

This just got sent to the Eisman campaign offices . . . and circulated . . . no idea who did it.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bWi_KQFnnxk

and

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nlX9ZqSu2JI

Seems to me if people are doing YouTubes on their own time, and you didn't put 'em up to it, that's evidence of a buzz . . .
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Postby lukpac » Wed Aug 30, 2006 3:47 pm

Ben Manski wrote:This just got sent to the Eisman campaign offices . . . and circulated . . . no idea who did it.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bWi_KQFnnxk

and

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nlX9ZqSu2JI

Seems to me if people are doing YouTubes on their own time, and you didn't put 'em up to it, that's evidence of a buzz . . .


You're kidding, right?

I stand by my Coke.
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Postby Dulouz » Wed Aug 30, 2006 3:56 pm

It's a really nice ad. . . .too bad that it isn't playing on tv.
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Postby Ben Manski » Wed Aug 30, 2006 5:45 pm

Dulouz wrote:It's a really nice ad. . . .too bad that it isn't playing on tv.


Just a matter of time before some tv ad comes your way.
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Postby white_rabbit » Wed Aug 30, 2006 8:46 pm

lukpac wrote:
gargantua wrote:It's a vicious circle. They "don't have a chance in hell" partly because they're excluded from the debate and don't have a chance to be heard. Why are the major parties afraid of a level playing field? If they have no chance, where's the harm?


I'd agree they should be included, but I disagree that it would offer any real chance. How many people pay attention to Gubernatorial debates, and how many of those people make a decision based on what they've seen?


I'm so tired of hearing about how third partys don't get enough attention.
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Postby Ben Manski » Wed Aug 30, 2006 9:15 pm

white_rabbit wrote:
lukpac wrote:
gargantua wrote:It's a vicious circle. They "don't have a chance in hell" partly because they're excluded from the debate and don't have a chance to be heard. Why are the major parties afraid of a level playing field? If they have no chance, where's the harm?


I'd agree they should be included, but I disagree that it would offer any real chance. How many people pay attention to Gubernatorial debates, and how many of those people make a decision based on what they've seen?


I'm so tired of hearing about how third partys don't get enough attention.


Me too. I'm sick and tired of being sick and tired.
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Postby Ben Manski » Tue Sep 05, 2006 9:33 pm

Ben Manski
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Postby Stu Levitan » Tue Sep 05, 2006 11:11 pm

Ben Manski wrote:This just got sent to the Eisman campaign offices . . . and circulated . . . no idea who did it.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bWi_KQFnnxk

and

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nlX9ZqSu2JI

Seems to me if people are doing YouTubes on their own time, and you didn't put 'em up to it, that's evidence of a buzz . . .


No idea who did it? Someone posts this:

"Proletariat TV posts videos that revolve around family, socialism, and the Green Party."

as their youtube profile, along with a picture, and you're in the dark who they are? How exactly is something produced by someone who identifies themself as working for the Green Party evidence of a buzz? And shouldn't a campaign commercial -- even one just posted on youtube -- have a disclaimer/aapf? It appears Eisman participated in the preparation of the ad (that is his voice over); shouldn't someone campaigning on clean government follow campaign finance laws? Even if it's an independent expenditure (which looks doubtful), it should still have disclaimer/aapf, right?
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Postby Ben Manski » Tue Sep 05, 2006 11:37 pm

Stu Levitan wrote:
Ben Manski wrote:This just got sent to the Eisman campaign offices . . . and circulated . . . no idea who did it.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bWi_KQFnnxk

and

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nlX9ZqSu2JI

Seems to me if people are doing YouTubes on their own time, and you didn't put 'em up to it, that's evidence of a buzz . . .


No idea who did it? Someone posts this:

"Proletariat TV posts videos that revolve around family, socialism, and the Green Party."

as their youtube profile, along with a picture, and you're in the dark who they are? How exactly is something produced by someone who identifies themself as working for the Green Party evidence of a buzz? And shouldn't a campaign commercial -- even one just posted on youtube -- have a disclaimer/aapf? It appears Eisman participated in the preparation of the ad (that is his voice over); shouldn't someone campaigning on clean government follow campaign finance laws? Even if it's an independent expenditure (which looks doubtful), it should still have disclaimer/aapf, right?


The voice over was evidently taken from his website - www.VoteEisman.org where anyone can download that audio.

As to the individual in question - I don't believe I've ever had the pleasure of meeting them. Believe it or not, Stu, very few people "work for" the Green Party (although there are more every month, these days).

So yes, someone among the thousands of Wisconsinites who identify with the Green Party evidently took it upon themselves to do this. Considering the grassroots nature of the party, I guess it's not that surprising. The Greens mostly are a grassroots buzz. We have few of the other advantages to run on.

And for the record, I have not communicated with the person who put together the video since it appeared, and don't intend to. But maybe as our local commisar, you'd like to take a stab at intimidating this guy . . .
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Postby Ben Manski » Tue Sep 05, 2006 11:38 pm

p.s. - open the debates!
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Postby bmasel » Tue Sep 05, 2006 11:46 pm

Stu Levitan wrote: shouldn't someone campaigning on clean government follow campaign finance laws? Even if it's an independent expenditure (which looks doubtful), it should still have disclaimer/aapf, right?


You presume it was "paid for." YouTube is free, and there may well not have been production expenses over the reporting threshold.
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Postby Ben Manski » Tue Sep 05, 2006 11:47 pm

bmasel wrote:
Stu Levitan wrote: shouldn't someone campaigning on clean government follow campaign finance laws? Even if it's an independent expenditure (which looks doubtful), it should still have disclaimer/aapf, right?


You presume it was "paid for." YouTube is free, and there may well not have been production expenses over the reporting threshold.


good point.
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Postby Stu Levitan » Wed Sep 06, 2006 12:46 am

bmasel wrote:
Stu Levitan wrote: shouldn't someone campaigning on clean government follow campaign finance laws? Even if it's an independent expenditure (which looks doubtful), it should still have disclaimer/aapf, right?


You presume it was "paid for." YouTube is free, and there may well not have been production expenses over the reporting threshold.


Being out of politics and all, I may be a little rusty on my campaign finance laws, but don't you need a disclaimer even if item is "free"?
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Postby bmasel » Wed Sep 06, 2006 1:27 am

Stu Levitan wrote:
bmasel wrote:
Stu Levitan wrote: shouldn't someone campaigning on clean government follow campaign finance laws? Even if it's an independent expenditure (which looks doubtful), it should still have disclaimer/aapf, right?


You presume it was "paid for." YouTube is free, and there may well not have been production expenses over the reporting threshold.


Being out of politics and all, I may be a little rusty on my campaign finance laws, but don't you need a disclaimer even if item is "free"?


Where's the disclaimer on your parent post?
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