Herb Kohl is calling it quits. After four terms, and becoming 19th in seniority, he is moving on. Recently, Herb Kohl made the news for bringing a defense contract in Wisconsin that will build ships in the Marinette area. I agree that this is good for Wisconsin, but what else has he done in his 24 years?
How many times has Herb Kohl brought home the bacon? How many projects has he gotten for the state Wisconsin during his tenure as a senator? I'm having a hard time thinking of examples. For just about all of his campaigns, this slogan has been "nobody senator but yours."This, of course, refers to his self financing of his campaigns. He has not spent a lot of time raising campaign cash nor has he made a lot of public appearances with his hand out. He hasn't needed to.
On one hand, I believe this is how politics should work. People should not have to pay for their candidates. The candidates should not be tied to special interest money and campaign contributions. On the other hand, this means that only the very rich can make it into the Senate. Or into politics in general. Look at Michael Bloomberg in New York City. Look at the Kennedys. Look at Ron Johnson right here in Wisconsin. They are rich, and self financed. Is this good or bad? I would argue both. But the past few years, Herb Kohl's votes have been practically a rubber stamp for the Democrat agenda. This is how politics has become in the 21st century. Straight party ticket, blind faith.
The question now becomes, who will fill his seat? Who will warm his seat? Paul Ryan has declined. Although I believe he would make a good long-term senator, and Wisconsin certainly likes long-term senators, he has a lot more clout and power as chairman of the budget committee in the House of Representatives. That would be a lot to give up to be a freshman senator. What about Tommy Thompson? As the texters and say, OMG! I am not a Tommy Thompson fan. I've never really gotten past the "stick it to 'em." Plus he is old and senile. He likes the idea of winning, but he is not a long-term solution. He makes Ron Johnson look appealing.
What about Russ Feingold? LOL ! Maybe I should say, WTF? It's too early for Rusty to make a comeback. Plus can he make a comeback? I hope the citizens of Wisconsin remember what little he has done in his three terms in the Senate. Aren't there any candidates who are interested in bringing home some pork? Sure, now that it's fashionable to be frugal, Feingold and Kohl have made Wisconsin a donor state for many years. Did that help reduce the deficit? Not a dime. They both voted for every high spending, government expanding, budget busting bill they could, in Wisconsin only got the bill.
It's still early to put down my projection for who the winner will be in November 2012. After all, Ron Johnson only got into the race in late spring. And it was time enough to win. The factors that could determine the election next fall can still change. The candidates could change. Will there be a rich guy who can practically by deceit? Or will it be some SOB who needs a lot of campaign cash from the voters? Perhaps there will be presidential coattails. Of course it would depend on who we elect as president. And that's a whole 'nother story.