Extremists Force Dick Leinenkugel Out (5/23/10)
Small Tent Republican Party Runs to Ultra-Right, Big Money
MADISON — Today, Secretary Dick Leinenkugel finally figured out what many Republicans — like Tommy Thompson, Ted Kanavas, Tim Michels and others — already have: Senator Russ Feingold is highly regarded by Wisconsinites and trying to paint him as anything other than an independent voice isn't a winning proposition. But the announcement that Leinenkugel was forced out of the Republican primary by the far right Tea Party forces is a clear sign that only extremists with a checkbook need apply.
"Apparently the only thing that does matter for these primary candidates is that they have truckloads of cash, and that they follow lock-step with the extreme hard-right fringe of the Republican Party,” said Mike Tate, Chair of the Democratic Party of Wisconsin. "Senator Feingold is a hard-working, independent voice for the people of Wisconsin, and voters weren't buying Leinenkugel's all slogans, no solutions rhetoric. When will the candidates who are left in the Republican primary field get that same message, and at the very least, offer up more than just sound bites and slogans?"
Like Tea Party superstar Rand Paul — the GOP Senate candidate in Kentucky — multimillionaire, extremist Ron Johnson has said “I’m joining the Republican Party and I’d like to bring the Tea Party with me.” But he and other Republican's have yet to express their opposition to Tea Party leader Paul's recent extreme views on the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Their silence is a loud and clear expression of true politicians — when regular citizens find comments like Paul's easy to condemn.
"While another pachyderm enters the elephant graveyard, the message from Republicans is clear: Extremism and a big checkbook is all they have to offer the people of Wisconsin," said Tate. "Senator Feingold has worked hard to earn the trust and support of the people of Wisconsin. The choice will be clear for voters. Do they want an independent voice, who is working hard to move our state forward and get the job done for Wisconsin, or do they want a far right extremist intent on buying the election to represent the partisan fringe?"
On Friday, outgoing Wisconsin College Republicans Chair Lora Rae Anderson, a UW-Eau Claire senior, left the Republican Party and joined the Democratic Party because of the GOP's embrace of the Tea Party. On Saturday attendees at the Republican Convention reconfirmed their overwhelming support for Tea Party extremists in a Straw Poll conducted by WisPolitics, voting 425-20 in support of the Tea Party.