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This Just In ...

Kevin Fischer is a veteran broadcaster, the recipient of over 150 major journalism awards from the Milwaukee Press Club, the Wisconsin Associated Press, the Northwest Broadcast News Association, the Wisconsin Bar Association, and others. He has been seen and heard on Milwaukee TV and radio stations for over three decades. A longtime aide to state Senate Republicans in the Wisconsin Legislature, Kevin can be seen offering his views on the news on the public affairs program, "InterCHANGE," on Milwaukee Public Television Channel 10, and heard filling in on Newstalk 1130 WISN. He lives with his wife, Jennifer, and their lovely young daughter, Kyla Audrey, in Franklin.

Wherefore Goeth Wisconsin GOP?


By guest bloggers
Bob and Jean Dohnal, Publishers and Editors
Wisconsin Conservative Digest

Another deer season has come and gone with my usual results, an empty  freezer. Same with the Wisconsin GOP.  After pulling off an incredible recall win for Scott Walker in June, we stumbled badly.  We were thoroughly outworked, out organized and outsmarted for the Big One, the presidency. We also put Tammy Baldwin in the Senate.

Now we have to ask, why?  What could we all have done to remedy this almost 30 year long losing streak?

I commended Reince Preibus and Brad Courtney for improving the Grass Roots effort, by the state GOP, the last 6 years, but serious problems remain.

GOP membership statewide is at the lowest level in my lifetime, probably a lot less than 10,000 members.  We used to have that number in Milwaukee County alone in the 60's and 70's.  It has been decades since the party had a major membership drive.  Why do we need membership?  We need boots on the ground, going door to door plus the membership fees can help staff year round headquarters, to keep on organizing.

We had 26 Victory Centers to their 126, plus they had been working non-stop since last year or more on the recall, organizing every voter in the state.

Bruce Murphy, former editor of Milwaukee magazine details how he got tons of letters from the GOP but the Dems were all over the place in person.  In the Latino section, groups made 10,000 phone calls but went to 27,000 doors.

Phone banks are great, but largely outmoded in the days of cell phones, call waiting, caller ID and answering machines.

We have a lot of people watching at the polls that would be far better off working the last two days, in their neighborhoods, to get out the vote.  By the time the people come to vote the damage is done.  I have supervised the polls for 40 years and you cannot do much except see what is happening.

We have the new generation of Conservatives organizing in the Tea Party groups that want nothing to do with the GOP. I know, as I have talked to most of the leaders almost weekly.  They meet regularly and are now forming legislative agendas.  They worked in many of the local campaigns, for local legislators, and also the big campaigns.  They are manpower that the GOP desperately needs, if we want to win something.

We have seen the development of the "Ruling Class", as termed by Rush, in Madison, that overshadows the GOP.  These lawyers, former legislators, political operatives, lobbyists and donors control the operation.  They are desperately afraid of Conservatives and keep pushing the Casper Milquetoast candidates that continually lose.  Many of them pushed Romney because he would lose less badly, than anyone else, and help us gain the Senate.  What happened?  Now they are immediately pushing Jeb Bush for 2016.  When we get the marshmallow candidates the Conservatives stay home.

We need monthly training programs for people, that are just getting involved, for fundraising, precinct organization, rallies, phone banks, door to door, electronic communications and many other things.  

We are up against master organizers who use Saul Alinsky methods, organizations developed by Tammany Hall, Cook County and the Unions, for decades.  They flood Wisconsin from all the solid blue states, organize, get out the vote and many also vote, the ones that are here for months. How do we counter that?  By working and out organizing them.

How many GOP leaders know how Tammany Hall was run?  How did they transfer their Cook County organizational plans to the whole country?  What are the rules of Saul Alinsky?  How did George McGovern manage to organize South Dakota?  How did the 7 people that met in Green Bay in the 50's manage to re-organize the modern Democrat party to take over so many offices? How do union organizers work?

If you bring pea shooters to gun fights, guess what happens?

First the party has to take a long look at the county units.  Over the last few years, I have encouraged Tea Party members to join the GOP, so that they can vote at the conventions, in the endorsement races.  But all I get back is the word that they are not wanted.  Many counties, especially Milwaukee County have developed into little cults, just as Ken Clausen and I predicted, when they reformed Milwaukee County in 2005.

The same people are in charge, doing the same thing and watching the county go down to Obama by 69/30 this fall.  That is the definition of insanity.  Why should the rest of us work our butts off when the leaders cannot formulate winning plans?

How can new people get into the mix, become leaders, when there are not any meetings to go to, any avenue for them to come out and become leaders, as there was in the 60's through the 2004 elections?  Wauwatosa, of which I was an officer for over 30 years, does not even meet anymore. This was a club that had 1500 members and supplied many dollars to our candidates forty years ago.

Worse, several people who were instrumental in the really stupid campaign follies being investigated by the John Doe, are still in charge.  You go to the HQ and there they are, surly at best.  How many good, honest people want to be involved with that kind of a situation?

The party has to do serious work on the fraud problem. This time it made no difference, but in the future it will.  Investigate the early vote and the on site registrations. How many of those voters are still here a month after the election?  People in this state do not want to see their vote negated by illegal votes.

We need to survey the people that did not vote, that have done so before, to find out why they failed to show up and help elect Obama. Were they lazy, didn't they like Romney?  Was it some issue?

Since the 90's, we have seen a disastrous disintegration of the GOP in Wisconsin.  Former strong areas, except for Waukesha County and other spots, at least six counties really kill us; Milwaukee, Racine, Kenosha, Winnebago, Dane and Brown plus the whole Southwest go to hell.  What is done in between elections in those areas to rebuild?

The leaders from the 90's were only interested in big dollars and ads, screw the grassroots, they are just in the way.  Well, we have spent untold millions the last few years and where are we right now? Have we tremendously improved the Voter Vaults?  Can we field a precinct organization for Roggensack and Walker in the next two years or are we just going to dump in millions and pray?

The Dems put up the straw men, same as FDR, in the 1% and then beat on them making Tommy and Romney look like greedy rich guys, all unanswered. They zeroed in on the groups that make up their coalition:  Dems, libs, union guys, youth, minorities, Latinos and young women, all vulnerable groups that are scared of reducing government.  They convinced them and they got them to vote.  End of story.

We need to have the party do some education with these groups, we have a good message but it does not get delivered.

When Scott Walker ran for County Executive, he went after the inner city vote and got some of it.   We can easily make a good case for the education of minorities, families and future jobs to young women and our youth.

In a simple message:  “Keep it simple Stupid, change minds, influence people and get them out to vote.”

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