The results of last Monday's debate between Trump and Clinton show something different than just why conservatives don't like debates. Those results– demonstrated again just a couple of hours ago in an ABC News/Washington Post poll released this morning– show why an ill-prepared, adderall-fueled sociopath spouting conservative talking points he could remember, should probably skip debates… or any public appearance in front of people with 3-digit IQs. The big takeaway from the ABC poll is that, post-debate, 64% of Americans now express an unfavorable opinion of Trump, up 5 points from its pre-debate level. Only 18% of respondents said they thought Trump won the debate and only 29% of respondents think Trump's responses were factual– 32% saying he intentionally lied. What about down-ballot, where conservatives are doing their best to avoid debating challengers? In Wisconsin, the most notorious of the Trumpists is shady former TV reality actor and current congressman Sean Duffy.
Duffy has another long vacation in front of him. Paul Ryan adjourned the House a couple of days ago so that his members could go home and defend their seats. Duffy, Donald Trump's top congressional surrogate in Wisconsin, seems to be too busy campaigning for Trump to take his own constituents' concerns seriously up in a sprawling northern district that stretches from Castle Rock Lake, Marshfield and Wausau in central Wisconsin, way out into the Minneapolis suburbs and up to Superior across from Duluth in the northwest corner of the state. The progressive Democrat vying for the seat. Mary Hoeft, has asked him to join her in debating the issues in every corner of the district– 6 open, well-publicized debates across WI-07. He has continually ducked the question of debates and turned down invitations from nonpartisan organizations offering to host them. Suddenly, last week, he peremptorily announced that debates are set for Nov. 3 and 4, when early voting has ended– and when most weekly newspapers won't be able to report the debate results until after the election. He picked his two hometowns– one that has no television station, and he picked his own panelists and has indicated that Mary can take it or leave it. He even decided on the debate rules (with no opening statements so Mary can't talk about the aspects of his record that are important to Wisconsin's working families nor how he mishandled the whole debate situation).
Mary, a stalwart progressive, is a Blue America-backed candidate– you can contribute to her campaign here– and after she won her primary, in a landslide, the district was crossed off the DCCC candidates list. They're resfusing to help her in any way at all, even though Obama won the district, 53-45% in 2008 and then lost narrowly to Romney in 2012 and even though Russ Feingold is expected to trounce Ron Johnson across WI-07 on November 8. Clinton is also doing well in WI-07 and looking like she's going to run up big margins in Douglas, Bayfield, Ashland, Washburn, Jackson, Clark, Rusk, Barron, Sawyer, Forest, Oneida, Price, Lincoln, Chippewa, Juneau, Burnett and even St. Croix and Marathon counties. This is a district the DCCC could win– while helping Clinton clinch it– if they would just get over their obsessive hatred for progressives.
We asked Mary to take a few minutes away from her busy campaign schedule and explain how Duffy has been able to avoid a healthy public debate of the issues.
Is Sean Duffy Still Afraid To Debate A Woman?
-by Mary Hoeft, Democratic candidate for Congress, WI-07
“You've listened to Howie rake my opponent, Sean Duffy, over the coals, and justifiably so. I've been hesitant to go too hard on Duffy because of my Western Wisconsin Nice Girl Upbringing. But DAMN, that man's got me mad now (or maybe I've been around Howie too long). The white gloves are off.
For months, I've worked to get Sean Duffy to agree to debate me. He's scared. He doesn't want to stand in front of an audience while I tell people that he chairs the banking oversight committee and took $400,000 in “political gifts” from bankers. He doesn't want me to say he recently received the single largest donation any congressman received from Wells Fargo. He doesn't want me to say he's praising Wells Fargo CEO Stumpf while blaming underlings for the scandal Stumpf condoned.
To silence me, Duffy refused to respond to every nonpartisan invitation to debate we both received. And then, last week, I received a strange call. A Wausau television station called me, asking for my reaction to the debates Duffy and I had agreed to. I was dumbfounded, I asked, “What debates?” Duffy had sent out a news release announcing he would participate in two debates, on November 3 and 4, in his hometowns of Wausau and Hayward. He thanked his handpicked panelists for agreeing to participate. There was no mention of an opponent. Apparently he felt I wouldn't be participating and he would have the stage to himself.
Duffy thinks he can treat a woman this way. Two years ago, he was trounced by his opponent Kelly Westlund in their first debate and withdrew from the second two. Kelly Westlund scared him. He tasted what it was like to lose to a woman and he didn't like it.
Like Trump, Sean may think he can pull this crap on a woman he recently labeled “radical liberal socialist university professor!” He's wrong. I've spoken to every television station in my district. Our campaign has written to every panelist who agreed to participate. I've written to every newspaper. And now, I'm writing to you. The movement has begun.
If enough people know that Sean Duffy has violated my first amendment right to freedom of speech, people may pay attention. Sean Duffy isn't only a Wall Street Water Boy, he's a deceptive, manipulative politician who is about to be exposed.” Thanks Howie and Thank You!”
In Congress Duffy has spent his time working for the Wall Street interests that underwrite his political career– since being elected to Congress in 2010 and grabbing a seat on the House Financial Services Committee– Duffy has scooped up a whopping $2,319,422 in bribes from the Finance sector. This cycle alone, the banksters– grateful for his go-easy approach to their misdeeds on the Oversight and Investigations Subcommittee he chairs– have given him $823,909, more than any other member of Congress from Wisconsin other than Speaker Ryan. Mary would like to turn the congressional seat into one where the interests of working families are put forward, not just rich campaign donors. Please consider helping her get her grassroots message out. Corporate America isn't contributing to her campaign and the DCCC is ignoring her; she's counting on us:
“When fascism comes to America, it will be wrapped in the flag and carrying the cross.” — Sinclair Lewis