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Come On Guys Play Nice

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Come On Guys Play Nice

CREATED Jul 27, 2012

Ronald Reagan didn't actually author the 11th commandment of Republican politics but he certainly made it famous.  You remember; "Thou shalt not speak ill of another Republican".

To varying degrees, all four GOP candidates running to replace retiring Senator Herb Kohl would do well to remember this point over the next two weeks.

Between Kohl and Bill Proxmire, Wisconsin Democrats have held the Senate seat that's up for grabs in November since 1957.  Given the popularity of Scott Walker, the strength of all four GOP candidates and the flaky uber-liberalism of Democrat Tammy Baldwin, this should be an easy Republican pick-up in November.

It should be - unless the GOP candidates destroy each other by continuing to employ their scorched earth policy.

First, all four GOP candidates are solid conservatives who would each do a great job representing Wisconsin in the U.S. Senate.  Frankly, the differences between them are more matters of style and experience than policy.

I don't care if Eric Hovde gave $500 to former Governor Jim Doyle (although it is a bizarre choice).  I don't care that if at one point in time Tommy Thompson said he was open to an individual mandate on health insurance (a mandate he clearly has opposed for the last several years). I don't hold it against Mark Neumann that he voted to raise the debt ceiling when he was in Congress in the mid-90s in order to keep government operating.

What I care about is that the strongest candidate emerges from the GOP Primary and uses the victory as a springboard to victory in November.

The scorched earth policy that some of the GOP candidates are using against each other is strangely reminiscent of what happened in the three-way Democratic Primary for U.S. Senate in 1992.  In that race, the two leading candidates, Jim Moody and Joe Checota, spent millions trashing each other.  This gave little known State Senator Russ Feingold an opportunity to pull what was at the time a huge political upset. Feingold went on to defeat Kasten and serve three terms in the U.S. Senate!.

I think spirited Primaries are good for democracy and often good for the candidate that emerges as the winner.  In this case though, the big winner from this negative "He's a bum" GOP Primary campaign could turn out to be Tammy Baldwin - and that would be a travesty!

There are a little over two weeks before the election.  My sincere hope is that the candidates all pivot and start arguing why they are best suited to beat Tammy Baldwin in November (instead of each other in August).

In other words, come on boys - play nice!