Tag Archives: Tammy Baldwin

Baldwin’s tragic record of inaction

Now that we’re through the primary, here’s my full column from the Washington County Daily News.

At the writing of this column, we do not yet know who the Republicans will select to challenge incumbent U.S. Sen. Tammy Baldwin in November. What we do know is that Leah Vukmir and Kevin Nicholson would both be a tremendous improvement over Baldwin. Irrespective of which Republican moves forward to challenge Senator Baldwin, all Republicans must unite quickly if they are to unseat a sitting Democratic senator in what looks to be a strong year for Democrats.

In her lengthy career in politics, Sen. Baldwin has a curious record that is almost completely barren of accomplishment. Baldwin’s passion for inactivity has led to her only accomplishment of note — sitting idly by when she could have done something to stop the opioid abuses at the Veterans Affairs Medical Center in Tomah.

In the summer of 2014, Sen. Baldwin was quietly passed an inspection report by the VA inspector general from a friendly administration looking to give her a heads up. The report detailed a history and pattern of prescription drug abuses at the Tomah center that dated back to 2011 whereby powerful opioids and other drugs were handed out with impunity. Not only did the behavior endanger the lives of the veterans, but it was a conduit for opioids to be funneled onto the streets.

Sen. Baldwin ignored the report. She did not do anythingabout it. For months, the whistleblower and veteran Ryan Honl vigorously pushed Baldwin’s office to do something. He called and emailed her office asking her to take action on the VA inspector general’s report. Still Baldwin did nothing. The pleas from her constituent fell on deaf ears.

One must remember how little effort it would have taken Sen. Baldwin to do something on behalf of the veterans being drugged in Tomah. At the time, President BarackObama was in office and the secretary of VeteransAffairs is a member of the president’s cabinet.

A simple phone call or letter from a Democratic senator to a member of a Democratic administration would have carried a lot of weight. Still Baldwin did nothing.

It was not until January 2015 that Sen. Baldwin finally decided to act. Wisconsin news outlets began to run the story of a 35-year-old Marine Corps veteran who died of an overdose while an inpatient at the Tomah facility. Those news reports also shared details of the inspector general’s report — the same report that Baldwin had in her possession for months — regarding the incredible amount of opioids flowing out of Tomah.

Then, and only then, Sen. Baldwin acted. She called for an investigation. Baldwin knew of the abuses at the Tomah VA Medical Center for months. She was badgered by a constituent and veteran to do something. But neither her conscience, concern for veterans or pleas from constituents compelled her to act. The only thing that got Sen. Baldwin’s attention was a news story that was unfavorable to her. At least we now know what it takes to get Sen. Baldwin to do something on behalf of her constituents. It takes the media running a story involving her.

Wisconsin deserves better. Wisconsin deserves a senator who will dive into the thicket of Washington politics and fight like a Badger for the people of Wisconsin. Sen. Baldwin has had six years — four of which were during the presidency of President Barack Obama — to deliver results for her constituents. The only measurable result has been the tragic consequences of her dithering.

Baldwin’s tragic record of inaction

My column in the Washington County Daily News today looks ahead to the general election and how Senator Baldwin’s record of inaction has not been harmless. Here’s a taste:

Then, and only then, Sen. Baldwin acted. She called for an investigation. Baldwin knew of the abuses at the Tomah VA Medical Center for months. She was badgered by a constituent and veteran to do something. But neither her conscience, concern for veterans or pleas from constituents compelled her to act. The only thing that got Sen. Baldwin’s attention was a news story that was unfavorable to her. At least we now know what it takes to get Sen. Baldwin to do something on behalf of her constituents. It takes the media running a story involving her.

Baldwin Not Worried About Massive Tax Increases

Eh… whatever. It’s not like she’ll be forced into the socialized healthcare system.

Appearing Sunday on the “UpFront with Mike Gousha” television talk show, Baldwin said she wasn’t worried by the big price tag.

 […]

She admitted that a single-payer health care system would mean significant tax increases, but said it would also mean no more premiums.

“Prior to the Affordable Care Act, half of all U.S. bankruptcies had a health-care related cause. That’s a system that is broken,” she said.

Wasn’t Obamacare, which Baldwin supported and voted for, supposed to fix healthcare? It didn’t. It made it worse. But NOW we’re supposed to think that she has the answer?
No thanks. I trust people far more than I trust politicians. Let the market work.

Go Pack Go Act

It must be an election year. Senator Baldwin has shaken off her characteristic lethargy to address this terribly important issue with a mandate from the federal government on media providers. Because… you know… the fact that some Wisconsinites are inconvenienced when they try to watch the Packers requires a federal regulation /sarcasm.

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senator Tammy Baldwin today introduced the Go Pack Go Act to make sure all Wisconsinites, no matter where they live across the state, can watch Green Bay Packers game broadcasts.

Currently, Green Bay Packers fans in 13 Wisconsin counties are assigned to an out-of-state local TV market, in either Minnesota or Michigan, which means these Wisconsin households get Minnesota Vikings or Detroit Lions games, not Packers games, when those teams are playing at the same time.

“Every Packers fan across our state should be able to watch Packers games,” said Senator Baldwin. “My Go Pack Go Act would give Packers fans in every Wisconsin county the opportunity to watch Packers games and cheer on our beloved green and gold.”

[…]

Senator Baldwin’s Go Pack Go Act would require cable, satellite and other video providers to provide their Wisconsin subscribers with access to programming from the broadcast television stations in a Wisconsin media market.

Baldwin Won’t Vote for Kavanaugh

I’m shocked. SHOCKED!

U.S. Sen. Tammy Baldwin says she’ll oppose President Donald Trump’s nominee for the U.S. Supreme Court, Brett Kavanaugh, citing his views on health care and abortion rights.

“The people of Wisconsin need a fair, impartial and independent Supreme Court Justice who will stand up for them, not for powerful special interests. I don’t have confidence that Judge Kavanaugh would be that justice,” Baldwin, D-Madison, wrote in a Facebook post Thursday.

Baldwin’s opposition is not surprising. Kavanaugh has yet to have any Democratic senators pledge support for his confirmation, though a few remain undecided — and most have come out strongly opposed.

Baldwin’s Empty Chair

Ouch

Brennan Confirmed For Appeals Court

Finally.

WASHINGTON – Milwaukee lawyer Michael Brennan was confirmed for a key federal judgeship Thursday, filling the oldest appellate vacancy in the country but deepening a partisan schism in the U.S. Senate over judges.

Brennan will take a seat on the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals in Chicago that has stood open since 2010 amid a bitter political standoff.

He was confirmed 49-46 with only Republican votes, over the objections of Democrat Tammy Baldwin, Wisconsin’s junior senator.

That has typically been enough to sink a nomination in recent years, because senators from both parties have enjoyed an effective veto over the selection of federal judges from their home states, a tradition known as the “blue slip.”

Outside of party loyalty, there was no rational reason for Baldwin’s intransigence.

Baldwin Votes Against Qualified SOS

Well, there’s an incoherent rationalization.

But Baldwin, D-Madison, said Tuesday the nation needs a secretary of state that is “committed to using American diplomatic leadership to solve problems, protect our national security interests and advance human rights.”

“After meeting with Mr. Pompeo, I don’t have confidence that he shares this commitment and I am concerned that he is inclined to choose military force as a first option over diplomatic solutions to the many challenges we face around the world,” she wrote on Twitter.

So based on a conversation, Baldwin thinks that Pompeo might prefer military action instead of diplomacy in some future unnamed conflict.

Uh huh. That’s not even enough of a fig leaf to cover a toe.

Sen.Tammy Baldwin to face a tough re-election

My column for the Washington County Daily News is online. Here you go:

The next big election is 14 months away, but the electoral combatants are already sallying onto the field. Wisconsin Sen. Tammy Baldwin will be seeking her second term and the liberal backbencher is facing a formidable challenge.

Baldwin’s resume is notable for its remarkable lack of achievement. Born and bred in the belly of liberal Madison, Baldwin was first elected to the Dane County Board during law school in 1986. She graduated from law school in 1989, worked as a lawyer for three years, and then became a full time politician in 1992 when she was elected to the Wisconsin Assembly. In 1998, Baldwin was sent by Madison to Washington as their representative in the House of Representatives, and was then swept into the U.S. Senate by the Obama wave in 2012.

It is difficult to serve in public office for more than 30 years, get elected to higher offices, and not have a single achievement to one’s credit, but Tammy Baldwin has accomplished that incredible feat. The secret to Baldwin’s success is that she is gay and a liberal’s liberal who reliably supports every leftist idea proffered. This attracts gobs of money from every liberal/socialist/Marxist PAC and activist group throughout the nation.

Most recently, she gave her fullthroated support to complete socialist health care in the failure of Obamacare. This is particularly ironic given that Baldwin callously ignored repeated cries for help from abuse taking place at the Tomah VA Medical Center. Why would anyone want to hand over more control of our healthcare to politicians like Tammy Baldwin?

Without Obama on the ballot next year, Baldwin is vulnerable to a credible challenge. So far, two formidable and well-funded Republicans are vying for the opportunity to be the senator that Wisconsin deserves. There is still time for more candidates to enter the fray, but the window is closing.

Kevin Nicholson is a Marine combat veteran who now works in the private sector. Nicholson defines himself as a social and fiscal conservative who is pro-life, pro-Second Amendment, pro-strong national security, etc. Running for office for the first time, Nicholson relishes his status as an outsider who can attack the liberal redoubts in Washington.

Nicholson does, however, have a nagging problem in his resume. He used to be a vocal, activist Democrat. When he was in college, Nicholson served as the chairman of the College Democrats and was eventually the national president for the College Democrats of America. At that time, he was pro-choice and spoke at the 2000 Democratic National Convention.

Of course, Nicholson would not be the first person to convert from liberalism to conservatism with the advancement of age, life experience and wisdom. Some of the best-known, thoughtful, and stalwart conservatives in the nation used to be liberals.

The other Republican seeking to challenge Tammy Baldwin has no such history to overcome. Wisconsin State Senator Leah Vukmir has been a proven, reliable, accomplished conservative Republican for more than a decade. Vukmir is a registered nurse who worked as a nurse for more than 20 years before running for the Wisconsin Assembly in 2002 to replace Scott Walker. Vukmir was then elected to the State Senate in 2010.

Vukmir has been one of the driving forces in the Wisconsin conservative movement for her entire tenure in office. She has been instrumental in advancing school choice, tax reform, education reform, healthcare reform and every other pillar of the conservative agenda. It is difficult to name a conservative issue in which Vukmir was not a staunch defender and advocate. All the while, Vukmir has maintained her career as a registered nurse.

While I don’t doubt the sincerity of Nicholson’s conservative conversion, there is no need to put it to its first political test in the crucible of Washington when there is already a proven conservative candidate in Leah Vukmir. She has been a granite conservative throughout all of the tempests in Madison and would serve Wisconsin well in the U.S. Senate.

Uihlein Backing Nicholson

Eh..

Illinois businessman Richard Uihlein has now donated a total of $3.5 million toward a super PAC supporting Republican Kevin Nicholson’s potential campaign for Wisconsin’s U.S. Senate seat.

Uihlein, who is one of the nation’s biggest Republican donors, founded the Pleasant Prairie-based Uline company.

He gave $2 million earlier this year to start the super PAC “Solutions for Wisconsin.” A spokesman said Uihlein donated another $1.5 million last quarter.

So far, Uihlein is the super PAC’s only donor.

Solutions for Wisconsin is focused exclusively on supporting the potential U.S. Senate bid of Kevin Nicholson, a Marine veteran, businessman and former Democrat.

“I strongly encourage others to support this effort and avoid a repeat of 2012’s divisive Republican primary,” Uihlein said in a statement released Wednesday.

While I appreciate Uihlein being willing to seriously support an effort to defeat Senator Baldin, his choice of candidate leaves something to be desired. Could he put his money behind a real Republican instead?

Baldwin Might Vote for Socialized Healthcare

Ummm

EDGERTON — Count Sen. Tammy Baldwin as a “maybe” on supporting a single-payer health insurance proposal.

“Ultimately, I’ll look at the bill when it comes in, but I anticipate I will (support it),” the Wisconsin Democrat told reporters Thursday. “It’s been a long position of mine, and frankly, it’s really time that we address this partisan nonsense that’s been going on.”

…isn’t Senator Baldwin the member of a governmental body in which she can write and submit bills herself? Why does she have to “look at the bill when it comes in”? Can’t she write her own?

Baldwin Wants More Money for TSA

Heh.

Senator Tammy Baldwin is one of 23 lawmakers calling for increased TSA funding to help alleviate long wait times at airports.

“Recent reports indicate that some TSA security lines have stretched for several hours, in extreme cases, causing individuals to miss their flights. Security is absolutely paramount and these long wait times indicate not only a discomfort to our constituents, but more importantly a severe lack of security resources at some of the busiest airports in the country,” the lawmakers wrote. “For this reason, we urge continued funding to ensure TSA has an adequate number of staff and resources to meet the needs of the traveling public.”

The funding would increase staffing levels, reinforce screenings, and expand security programs to ensure passenger safety.

This is a typical liberal government response. We have an agency that is failing in one of its core missions, so what does Baldwin want to do? Throw more of our money at them! Baldwin wants to reward the TSA’s poor performance with budget increases. Why? Because it gives the politician the cover that she “did something” without actually doing the hard work of taking corrective action.

If Baldwin gets her wish, the TSA will simply continue to fail while spending more money. The money isn’t the problem, so more of it can’t fix it. The problem is the leadership and policies at the TSA.

Tammy Baldwin Objects to People Exercising their Religion

NewsBusters caught this statement from Wisconsin’s senator.

“Certainly the first amendment says that in institutions of faith that there is absolute power to, you know, to observe deeply held religious beliefs. But I don’t think it extends far beyond that.”

Notice that she extends the right to exercise religion to religious institutions and not to individuals. The last time I checked, the Bill of Rights enumerates and protects individual rights – not institutional rights.

Ex Baldwin Staffer Files Ethics Complaint

You always have to be wary about complaints from fired employees, but the accusations in the complaint are very specific and there is a lot of documentation.

MADISON, Wis. (AP) — A former state director for U.S. Sen. Tammy Baldwin has filed an ethics complaint against the Wisconsin Democrat saying Baldwin placed blame about problems at a Department of Veterans Affairs medical center on her.

Marquette Baylor, who was fired in January, in the complaint filed Monday said Baldwin used her as a scapegoat in the office’s mishandling of reports of overprescribing of narcotics and retaliatory behavior at the hospital.

Baldwin in February said Baylor was terminated due to long term performance issues that weren’t exclusive to her dealing with concerns about the hospital. Baldwin later admitted responsibility for her staff’s mishandling of reports.

Tammy Baldwin Speaks

Yeah… right.

“I am in a very detailed and careful fashion, comprehensive fashion, seeking to understand everything that happened in my office in terms of the handling of a whistleblower case,” the Madison Democrat said. “And I will have lots more to say when we come to the end of that process.”

It was the first time she has answered questions about the issue since USA TODAYreported January 19 that her office got the report in August but didn’t do anything with it, despite repeated emails from a former Tomah employee in November and December asking her to investigate. Baldwin didn’t call for an investigation until last month, when news reports revealed a veteran died from an overdose as an inpatient in the Tomah facility in August.

Baldwin did not indicate when her internal review will be completed, saying only “as soon as we can.”

How long should a review like this take? The facts are pretty simple. Baldwin was contacted about the issues in Tomah and didn’t do anything. Either a staffer or Baldwin herself decided not to look into it. This “investigation” should take about 5 minutes and it’s already been almost a month and a half.

Furthermore, Balwin fired a staffer presumably because of this. In the process, that staffer got a great severance package, which is odd if she was fired for cause. Why was that action taken if an investigation had not already been completed?

This isn’t about investigation. It’s about delay and cover up.

Senator Baldwin Sat on VA Report

And now she jumps in and pretends to be a champion for veterans?

A whistleblower who learned in November that Baldwin had had a copy for months and hadn’t acted, repeatedly emailed her office asking that she do something to help the veterans at the center, according to copies of the emails obtained by USA TODAY.

In them the whistleblower — former Tomah VA employee Ryan Honl — asked that Baldwin call for an investigation, that she push colleagues on the Veterans Affairs committee to take action, and that she help bring the issues in the report to public attention. The report had not been made public, but Baldwin’s office received a copy in August.

When she still had not taken public action in December, Honl sent a message to her staffer with the subject line: “Final plea for Help from Senator Baldwin.”

“All we ask is that our senator publicly support our desire to have an open forum rather than remain silent publicly, which is what the VA does in hiding reports from the public,” Honl wrote.

Honl, a Gulf War vet and West Point graduate who left the Tomah facility in October, said in an interview Monday he believes Baldwin’s inaction after receiving the report is a “travesty.”

Baldwin’s office declined to explain what she did between receiving the report in August and last week, when she called for an investigation after the Center for Investigative Reporting published details of the inspection report outlining opiate prescription amounts at the center and recounting the overdose death in August of a 35-year-old Marine Corps veteran while he was an inpatient.