Monday, September 25, 2006

92% Pure Baloney

Back in August, the Doyle for Governor campaign unveiled an ad they called "Stands," which attempts to tie Mark Green to President Bush. The ad tries to set the world record by saying the words "Bush" and "Green" together 178 times in 30 seconds. One wonders why they don't just go the distance and include an interview with the owner of the Greenbush Restaurant on Regent street here in Madison.

One of the things they apparently believe "ties" Green to Bush is the fact that Green "stood with the President 92 percent of the time." First of all, nobody knows what the hell that actually means, since the citation they provide in the ad (Congressional Observer, Mark Green votes 2001-2006) doesn't say anything. They could have pulled this number from thin air, for all anyone knows. The perpetually hyperbolic Anson Kaye goes so far as to say that "Green has rubberstamped President Bush's failed special interest agenda 92 percent ofthe time."

As anyone who has taken a 5th grade government class knows, congressmen can't "stand with the President," or "rubberstamp" anything the President does, since any legislative action the President takes is after Congress has dealt with a bill. The President doesn't introduce bills or write new laws - he merely signs or vetoes legislation that passes the House and Senate.

My guess is that Green probably voted for 92% of the bills that President Bush signed into law. This isn't surprising, since bills that make it through the entire legislative process are generally bipartisan bills with broad support. I'd bet if you looked at Green's voting record for the two years Bill Clinton was in office, it would be up in that range, too. If Clinton signed a bill, Green probably voted for it in the GOP-controlled house. Does that mean Green was "standing with Clinton," or was a "Clinton rubberstamp?"

Think about using this same logic on the state level. I could gather a list of all the bills Jim Doyle has signed into law, and compile a list of legislators who "stood with" Doyle on those bills. Any idea which legislators are going to be up in the 90% range in terms of "standing with Doyle?" That's right - Republicans. Since Republicans hold both state houses, and most Republicans vote for bills that pass, there will be a strong correlation between Doyle and the GOP, if that's the way I wanted to cook the numbers.

Let's say a bill is introduced in the Wisconsin Assembly. The bill passes the Assembly and Senate on a party line vote, and goes to Doyle, who signs it. Is it fair to say GOP Senator Smith "rubberstamped Doyle's agenda" in supporting the bill? Of course not - Doyle had nothing to do with the bill until it got to his desk.

The mere fact that Doyle's ties between Bush and Green are so thin that he has to concoct numbers out of thin air like this speaks to the desperation of his campaign operation. Of course, the big papers are busy covering important issues like whether Mark Green uses actors in his commercials, so I wouldn't hold my breath waiting for any explanation of this ridiculous ad.

IRONIC SIDE NOTE: The new Greater Wisconsin Committee ad is premised on the goofy "Mark Green hired actors" line, when the commercial voice-over is performed by - you guessed it - an actor.