Saturday, December 20, 2014

Welcome to the Dystopacratic Party Part IV

Mike Tate and The Second Coming 

Liberal Jesus' Democratic Dogma

"Of course he's the Messiah!  I should know...  I've followed a few!"  John Cleese - Monte Python's The Life of Brian

Q: Why wasn't Jesus born a Democrat? 
A: He couldn't find three wise men among them.

Early in 2013 Mayor Justin Nickels won a sweeping 83.6 %victory over restaurant owner Tony Burgarino.  Burgarino was cast as a TEA Party candidate by local Dems who then (and more so now) are looking for Liberal Jesus to lead them out of the political desert.  Nickels appears to be their choice for the second coming only the assertion that Tony was a TEA favorite and that Justin was a Liberal never crossed the young mayor's lips.  That legend appears to be more an act of faith than fact which requires no proof, only belief.  The more recent facts tend to say something else.
Tony Burgarino
one and mostly forgotten

Tony was a businessman.  (emphasis on past tense).  His restaurant, "Tony's Pizza" had once been doing well but was obviously having difficulties by the time he declared his candidacy.  Rumors were already flying that he had had to sell off a major interest in the business in order to pay off personal debts that some said were the result of gambling.  Tony is now completely out of that business and has left Wisconsin for a job in Chicago.  Whether any of that is true or not  is not the point here.  It is that he never had any respect.  It was generally felt that he was running for mayor because he needed the job.

  He was the proverbial fish an a barrel just waiting to be taken down by a charismatic young and energetic politician who himself has gone to great lengths to become the darling of the local business and country club crowd.  At no time was either Burgarino's conservativism nor Nickel's alleged Liberalism a factor in the election.  It was all about image and rumor and largely Tony's bungled underfunded campaign.  It was a foregone conclusion.

Despite all that the Nickels campaign was intent on more than just winning.  They wanted to run up the score and they said so.  They poured it on with as many volunteers as they could knocking on doors and doing lit drops, signs, radio ads, you name it!  You would have thought he was running for his political life.  The hapless pizza man never had a chance.  That election was not about beating Burgarino.  It was about the elections to come....

Such was the reality of the reelection of Mayor Justin M. Nickels.  That is, until DPW chiar Mike Tate got wind of it....  Nickels instantly became the poster boy for how the Democrats were going to defeat the TEA Party.
Tate latches onto the buzz
Tate invited Nickels to the 2013 convention to speak about how he beat the TEA pizza guy.  The speech that came out of it had little to do with reality.  It was 13 minutes of pure Liberal red meat.  Those of us who had watched the election and were still not wrapped up in the euphoria were left wondering just exactly where those issues were when the race was held.  It was in short, a dog and pony show that bore no resemblance to actual events and crafted especially for the convention.  In fact, Nickels campaign manager and side kick Matt Kadow was busy in the crowd doing his best to take credit for it claiming that he and not Nickels had written the speech and included details of the number of late night hours it took him to write it and then rehearse it with his boss.

Kadow is a strange contrast to Nickels who is well polished and reserved next to his pal's tendency to run off at the mouth.  Nickels will say little and let you assume things.  Kadow is more than outspoken, he can be offensive.  What's more he believes himself to be a political master mind.  It is not difficult at all to believe that he did in fact write the speech and that he crafted it specifically for that audience.  Certainly the young mayor never used any of it in his campaign but it made for great political theater to a crowd hungry for some good news.

In a 2009 profile at Nickels denied having a political mentor.
But none of his advisers has ever emerged as a true political mentor.
"And if they tried, I don't know if I'd let them," Nickels said. "I like to learn from people, but I like to set my own course."
Only on his linkedin profile Kadow tells a different story.

Campaign Manager

Justin Nickels for Mayor
 –  (4 years 5 months)
Orchestrated the election of Justin Nickels as Manitowoc's 27th Mayor and as the youngest full-time Mayor (22 years old) in Wisconsin history (2009). Orchestrated reelection victory with 84% of the vote (2013).
Based on actual observation Kadow's version is closer to the truth.

If you want to know who Nickels really is you have to look at Kadow. 
At home Nickels is anything but a Liberal but does nothing to discourage the glow.  In reality he follows Kadow preferring to go with what he feels is the stronger political hand at the moment.  In fact his go to guys on the city council are the most recklessly conservative pols in the city.  When the mayor found himself taking flack over the removal of the iconic Busch beer signs after the malting plant had changed hands he needed political cover to cause money to be spent in saving them.  He used a loop hole to avoid a full council meeting and called on his go to guys, Jim Brey, a self hating Democrat and Jason Sladky a full blown TEA Party Republican who quickly complied.

Brey is a notorious political hack (see the first article in this series The Candidate From Hell).
 Brey campaign image
 In the 2012 Democratic primary both Nickels and Kadow collected signatures for Brey and openly endorsed him.  Later when Brey and I were both elected to the Dem executive committee Nickels worked behind the scenes to have me removed in order to pave the way for his friend which ended in a wholesale purge of all the at-large members.

While Brey is at least a Democrat Sladky is harder to explain.  Crude and belligerent Sladky resorts to public insults in typical TEA Party fashion.  A professional plumber he hates unions but got his plumber's license through a union apprenticeship, hates government but currently holds two government jobs, hates regulation but his day job is as a city inspector.  For a supposed anti-government activist he seems to love the power it gives him.

On any given day you can see these three joking around on their facebook pages or in person at city events and social gatherings.  An odd trio to be sure.

The political reality of Nickels is that he really believes that he can play both sides.  He recently posted a quote from F. Scott Fitzgerald's essay, "The Crackup" believing that it gave him intellectual underpinning for his duality only his knowledge of American Literature proved lacking.  Fitzgerald was actually mocking the idea.

The essay rejects liberalism and describes compromise as a "cracked plate" no longer fit for use.

On his own here at home there is little if anything to distinguish Nickles as a Democrat much less a Liberal one.  In fact there is quite a bit that points to a more Kadow-like conversion.  In a 2009 JSonline article Nickels described himself as a "fiscal conservative".  At the age of 22 one has to wonder if he fully understood the implications.  There was no mention of that in his speech.

Knowing all this one has to ask, What was the purpose of Tate featuring Nickels as a Liberal icon at the convention.

Had the mayoral race been on Tate's radar at all before the big victory?

Did Tate play any role in the election?

Did he know about the mayor's close associates?

Was there ever any actual connection between the speech and the political realities of Manitowoc City Hall?

Did Tate know that the speech was a total fabrication?

To all of these the answer is probably, no.  But that didnt stop our State Chair from trying to take credit.  Like most motivational talks it was mostly (if not entirely) fiction.

GOP PR photo - Nickels and Glenn Grothman + ald McMeans

See the complete speech on Kadows youtube page