Sour grapes

Wow. The Wisconsin loser, Daniel Kelly, is really pissed off about having to concede.

(Skip ahead to 3:40)

It’s hard to take his accusation that the Protasiewicz campaign was despicable, when Kelly campaigned with a version of the Willie Horton ad.

Conservative former Supreme Court Justice Daniel Kelly’s campaign for a vacant seat on the Wisconsin Supreme Court is running an ad on social media that is nearly a shot for shot remake of the “Willie Horton ad” run by supporters of former President George H.W. Bush during his 1988 presidential race against former Democratic Massachusetts Governor Michael Dukakis.

On Tuesday, Kelly’s official Twitter account posted his campaign’s version of the ad, which shows pictures of Kelly and his liberal opponent, Milwaukee County Judge Janet Protasiewicz, over a simple blue background while a narrator details the sentence she delivered to Quantrell Bounds, a Thiensville man who sexually assaulted a 13-year-old girl and posted a video of the incident to Facebook.

The ad, which includes a filter to make the video appear as if it’s playing on a VHS tape and match the period-specific look of the original, states that Protasiewicz “lets criminals off easy.”

It’s OK if you are a Republican, you know.

Also, they are extremely upset that Protasiewicz’s campaign for a judgeship was political. Wait, what? Republicans have totally politicized the courts, have been actively campaigning to get conservative judges installed, and now they’re complaining? Look at the US Supreme Court — if you don’t think that’s a politicized court, you need to get your ability to think checked. Also, and even I consider this weird, the state Supreme Court positions in Wisconsin are elected. They’re by nature political.

The bluntness of the Democrats’ message in Wisconsin inspired outrage on the right and worried chin-stroking from some liberals, uneasy with the concept of such openly partisan judicial elections. Republicans here warn that “the rule of law” might be replaced by “the rule of Janet,” and that if she wins, hyper-partisan court races will become the norm.
Protasiewicz and her allies say that they already were, especially in Wisconsin. After Dobbs, which put abortion rights back in the laps of state legislators and courts, the trend only accelerated.
“My value is that we have fair maps,” Protasiewicz said at the Tuesday night forum. “My value is that people should be able to make their own reproductive health care decisions.”

OK, Democrats, get over it. How can you be uneasy about “openly partisan judicial elections”? Elections, man. If you don’t recognize that people are going to be partisan over political decisions like gerrymandering and health care, you’re going to lose.


  1. says

    The bluntness of the Democrats’ message in Wisconsin inspired outrage on the right…

    …because it’s totally uncivil and unfair when Democrats win anything.

  2. mathman85 says

    Judicial elections in Wisconsin are nominally nonpartisan, but everyone with a pulse knew who supported whom here.
    Given the Republicans’ (and conservatives’ more generally) penchant for viewing society through the lens of hierarchies of dominance (with their demo at the top, natch), I suppose it shouldn’t be that surprising that they’d not be okay with the Democratic Party treating (e.g.) judicial elections as partisan. At least 80% of their entire political movement is aimed at enforcing unpopular policies through the judiciary.

  3. Akira MacKenzie says

    It’s OK if you are a Republican, you know.

    No. No it’s not.

    Nor is it OK to be a Christian (or any other form of theist), a racist, a capitalist, a homophobe/transphobe, a fascist, a libertarian, a conservative, etc..

  4. anxionnat says

    The same thing happened a couple of decades ago, here in California, when RWNJs ran an overtly sexist and racist campaign to defeat a couple of liberal state supreme court justices. Except that, unlike yesterday in Wisconsin, the progressive judges lost. Vicious right-wing campaigns against everything from affirmative action to fair housing to gay marriage to labor rights have been the norm here for as long as I can remember (1960s at least.) Just a couple of years ago, a ballot initiative that denied labor rights to workers like Uber drivers passed–with the companies in question outspending by 10 to 1. Not a lot of accountability for where all that money came from either. Unfortunately, it seems like what disgusting crap starts in California (Nixon, Reagan, etc etc–apologies for inflicting them on the rest of the country) doesn’t always stay in California. Good for people in Wisconsin being able to see through the money and bullshit.

  5. Ed Seedhouse says

    Claiming that your opponent is being “political” is, of course, a purely political tactic. Trump is trying to use it against Bragg. An elected D.A. being “political”. Imagine that!

  6. says

    “It’s OK if you are a Republican,” or IOKIYAR, is an old-timey slogan from the liberal blogosphere of yore, and is intended to point out the attitude Republicans have about their own hypocrisy.

  7. rx808 says

    Also, and even I consider this weird, the state Supreme Court positions in Wisconsin are elected

    They’re elected in Minnesota, too.

  8. says

    Politics has become another right-wing scare word, like agenda. All a liberal has to do to warrant an accusation of being political is…run for office. How dare they!
    Or…try to change a law. How dare they bring politics into lawmaking!
    Every time there’s a mass shooting in the USA, which is like, every ten minutes now, liberals call for gun control, and Republicans scream at them for “politicizing a tragedy.” Of course, if the shooter has the audacity to, say, use pronouns, the solution is to prohibit gender-affirming care. And that’s not political, because, uh, children, I suppose.
    And we get this shit from a political party that has managed to politicize public health measures and climate science, among other things.
    Okay, that’s my morning rant. Thanks to everyone for your patience. Sorry about all the italics; I count Hunter S. Thompson and J.D. Salinger among my primary writing influences.

  9. says

    Well, if they’re really all upset about hyper-partisan electoral politics for state judgeships, they can amend their state constitution to do it like the USA does: governor appoints, state senate confirms, lifetime tenure, both houses can still impeach.

  10. chrislawson says

    I think the US made a grave error in deciding that several important LEO and judicial appointments should be made by direct election. It was a mistake made by a young nation trying to work out democratic processes that had not been tested by history. And, to be fair, it’s not like government appointment eliminates politicisation. But for the Republicans of all people to complain about partisanship is just extraordinary.

  11. billseymour says

    chrislawson @17:

    But for the Republicans of all people to complain about partisanship is just extraordinary.

    It strikes me as fairly ordinary for Republicans. 8-)

  12. says

    Here in Montana, judges are elected. Our Constitution provides that our State Supreme Court Justices be elected by the people. The problem for our Republican dominated Legislature is that it can’t seem to keep itself from enacting laws that precipitate lawsuits that end up before the Supreme Court elected by the people. That Court often declares what the whack-a-doodle Legislature does as unconstitutional so now they are trying to take electing those justices away from the people and moving to justices named by the Governor, who is also a Republican. What could go wrong? The smart money says they are going to lose on that one, too.