Tommy Has a Tea Party Problem

Jan 26, 2010

Tommy Has a Tea Party Problem

Wall and Westlake Stay Silent


Madison, WI – As Washington D.C. insiders try to talk one of their own, Tommy Thompson, into entering the Republican primary for U.S. Senate, Wisconsin conservatives are saying what they usually say, “No.”

Since quitting his job in 2005 as a cabinet secretary for President George W. Bush, Thompson has collected millions of dollars representing Washington D.C. lobbying shops and corporate interests – including the health insurance, pharmaceutical and financial industries.

“If Thompson thinks the message out of Massachusetts is that a partisan, well-connected, D.C. insider who has made millions of dollars representing corporate interests, should run for U.S. Senate in Wisconsin, then he needs to listen to more people in Wisconsin – not Washington,” said Mike Tate, Chair of the Democratic Party of Wisconsin.

Yesterday, conservative WIBA radio host Vicki McKenna said that listeners to her program feel, by 2 to 1, that they don’t want to see Thompson enter the race against Terrance Wall and Dave Westlake. So far, Wall and Westlake have both been silent about the fact that Republican Party leaders in Washington are telling Thompson to join the race.

McKenna said there is distrust of establishment Republicans like Thompson by the libertarian-type Tea Party conservatives.

One caller, Dave from Oconomowoc said, “Tommy is the consummate politician, he is a Washington insider, he’s a lobbyist and to think we can influence his decision is a little naïve.”

“Yet another Tommy dance is not helpful to Wall and Westlake,” Tate said, “The big question that needs to be asked is – Will they get out if Tommy gets in?” 

For his own part, in 1999 Thompson told the Associated Press “Why would I want to go to Washington and be a part of a debating society.” In 2000, the Wisconsin State Journal reported that Thompson “said his ‘time has come and gone’ to run for the U.S. Senate.”

“It’s worth knowing what Wall and Westlake think of a Thompson comeback,” Tate said.