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Kevin Fischer is a veteran broadcaster, the recipient of over 150 major journalism awards from the Milwaukee Press Club, the Wisconsin Associated Press, the Northwest Broadcast News Association, the Wisconsin Bar Association, and others. He has been seen and heard on Milwaukee TV and radio stations for over three decades. A longtime aide to state Senate Republicans in the Wisconsin Legislature, Kevin can be seen offering his views on the news on the public affairs program, "InterCHANGE," on Milwaukee Public Television Channel 10, and heard filling in on Newstalk 1130 WISN. He lives with his wife, Jennifer, and their lovely young daughter, Kyla Audrey, in Franklin.

Losing Elections has Consequences

By guest bloggers Bob and Jean Dohnal
Wisconsin Conservative Digest

Losing elections has consequences and we are about to have that magnified.  Thank God that we still have the House, but that is shaky.  We have lost a battle, but the war always goes on.

We were out smarted, out worked and out organized.  Despite the fact that Wisconsin did the finest job ever on Grass Roots politics, we were smacked good. WE are Boy Scouts and they are running Junk Yard Dogs.  No wonder we lost.

Despite the fact that we spent millions of dollars on ads, most of it of little value, and probably, in many cases, costing us votes.  These outside groups, biggest headed by Karl Rove, enrich the TV stations with their bare knuckled attacks, but the needle doesn't move.  Rove, incidentally is getting a lot of heat from his donors.  He wasted millions of their money on useless attacks. Many donors are now asking if that money should have been spent on GOTV and precinct organization and got better results??  They are right.

Let's go back to last year in October when the recall petitions went out.  I toured the state and talked to all of my old buddies, on the liberal side, to find out what they were doing.  And it is simple.  They follow the AFL-CIO COPE book, the rules from Tammany Hall and the Chicago Mafia that rules Cook County. Simple: "Find every Democrat and get them to the polls.”  They had 160 or more Victory Centers, last fall that canvassed every block in the state.  They went into the inner city and by canvassing, going to churches, meetings etc., they located everyone of voting age that would back them.  They then put them into their handy, dandy little computers and then rolled them out at election time.

In Urban Milwaukee Bruce Murphy said it best:  "The explanations for Obama's victory are many, but arguably begin with his superior ground game.  I was actually contacted many more times by Mitt Romney's campaign. As my Democratic-leaning zip code includes many wealthy Republicans. But it was old-school stuff:  I was showered with Romney mailers and literature and robo-calls, but received almost none of this from Obama.  Romney's old fashioned top-down style of campaigning seemed to echo his proposed economic policies. Recent research has found that blanketing a neighborhood with campaign literature has no impact and that robo-calls generate one vote per 900 calls.  By contrast, one study found Obama's network of small inexpensive field offices made a one percentage point difference in his national vote in 2008.  In key states like Ohio, Obama had a huge advantage over Romney in field offices.”

We have lost 8 statewide presidential elections.  You think that at sometime, people would find out that something isn't working and do something else???  Not us, we keep doing it and more of it:  Ads, robo-calls, mailings, everything except hard work.

After all, it is much easier to sit on your butts in a nice office and order TV ads, radio, flyers, robo-calls then get out into the trenches and work.  Course you also pocket nice commissions at the same time.  Makes those of us that work for free for years a little peed off!!!!

Why, then did we win in 2010 and also the Walker recall??  Because a lot of their people agreed with what Walker was doing and were unhappy about the way state government was being run under Jim Doyle and company.

Now we come to Barack Obama vs. Mitt Romney.  The Democrats succeeded in making Tommy and Mitt out to be greedy Capitalists that were only out for the rich.  Many of them feel that they are victims and as O'Reilly says, they want "stuff.” We did not answer those attacks on Romney and Tommy, so they were thought to be true, by many.

The stage was set.  They zeroed in on young women, like Sandra Fluke, who were made into heroes, to that group, by Rush and Hannity.  The youth vote and minorities were the top of their list to organize.  Our efforts, at the grassroots level, were miniscule compared to theirs, despite the fact that we can have a good message to those groups if we try.  They flooded the area with organizers, buses from Illinois and thousands of volunteers.

When the election rolled around the paid organizers, thousands from around the country, descended into our state the last few months, many of them voted, but we did not lose on account of that. They were ready to get out the vote.  We used phones and some door to door, while they used every method that they could dream up, to accomplish their goal of getting people out.  

I was at my polling place when an organizer came in, with a kid, obviously not even slightly interested in politics, as I watched them explain the ballot to him. Then I watched him spend 10 minutes figuring out how to vote for Prez and Senate.  This has been done for years, very successfully.

They, the organizers, zeroed in on two lines on the ballot, vote for Prez and Senate. They taught their people how to vote that way.  Skip all of the rest, took too much work too get them to do that. There were 647,000 votes or so, cast for Obama, over the votes for the legislature and 338,000 votes cast for Obama, that were not cast for Democrats in Congress.  Yes, they just went out and rooted out more than half a million people just to get them to vote for Obama and Tammy. Luckily the legislature had eliminated straight ticket voting or the legislature and Congress would have been a disaster.

After a losing election, the argument is always about what the candidate and the campaign should have done to win, never about the mechanics. Our guys feel that our people always come out, and that is not so.  Since the Liberals brought out almost all of their votes, where were our guys?  

Supposedly, 70% of the people voted, not true, as it was actually somewhat lower.  They measure the vote percent based on the people registered before the election and then compare that to the total vote.  Since we allow on site registration the totals ballooned giving us the belief that we got our votes out.  We did not, our votes were left on the table in the 30% plus that did not come out for various reasons.  Most likely lots of them were conservative but not fans of Mitt.

We lost this election on the streets; simply, they got their vote out and we did not.  If we had followed the same methods that they followed, we would have gotten out the other 5% that we needed to win.  In Milwaukee 89% of the registered voters were out.  Liberals won 69% of the vote, highest that I have ever seen.  WE did not cover every precinct over 35% GOP, on foot. They did and they followed up till everyone was out.

How do they do it?  They have a built in organizational advantage because they have the unions with headquarters and lists.  They have well paid and well trained organizers that know how to do this job.  For some reason, the GOP spends little on training and lots on TV.

They, the Libs, follow the old AFL-CIO COPE book, plus Saul Alinsky's rules for Radicals. We sleep in too much.

I have outlined on how to organize a precinct on many occasions.  I have taught it at many campaign schools, but locals say that they just cannot get people to do precinct organization or door to door.  I say that if you can't get people to do that work, then find someone else that can. We need leadership, not excuses. We count on phones way too much.  In the 60's, when everyone actually answered their phones, had land lines, Campaign Central's were much more successful. We still walked the wards to get people out.  We must do everything possible to use their methods to beat them or no one will ever come to Wisconsin again to campaign.

Many of us have screamed about this for years.  We followed the old Kasten plan, developed by Fritz Rench, who went on to found the Heritage Foundation with Paul Weyrich.  The Kasten plan was used by Paul Ryan, Dan Quayle and others to get elected.  It is simple precinct organization. It works.  You can actually wage a very strong campaign for Assembly, without much money, by recruiting 20 or so volunteers and following the plan.

The rules in campaigns have changed.  Wisconsin used to be a capitol of ticket splitters, but in the last two elections they vote almost the same, down the line.  In 2010 Walker and Johnson got almost identical votes, same with Tommy and Mitt.  

They, the Libs, zeroed in on 4 counties:  Milwaukee, Racine, Kenosha and Dane.  We cannot do much in Dane but we can, in all of those counties, get our vote out plus work the GOP counties harder.  We must do what Waukesha does every year.

They concentrated on the youth vote, minorities and young unmarried women.  These groups are shown politically to be the most vulnerable.  We played right into their hands on young women by demagoguing Sandra Fluke when she testified in favor of insurance companies providing birth control pills on their insurance. Contrary to what Hannity, Rush and others said there are many BC products that cost more than a hundred dollars per month.  As a practicing pharmacist up until May, I dispensed them daily.  One talk show host, when confronted with facts, told me I was wrong.  Every time we zapped Fluke, the young women ran over to their side.  You might not like it, but those are facts.  We can present young women with a program, just like we can get to Latinos and other minorities with a message of jobs and the future, not just "stuff.”

While there is some fraud, we did not lose the election on that.  We are losing because the organization of the GOP is letting our candidates and our futures down.  This cannot go on.  The GOP needs to wake up and get to work.  I will go into that in the future.  Right now, if I were running in 2016, I would not have Wisconsin on my list as a swing state.  I would have plans to reach out to the Latinos, young women and the youth.  We can have a message for them that can win their votes.

The issues are war, economy, jobs, deficit, debt, Medicaid, Medicare, SS.  Immigration is far down the list and surely not enough of a problem. To solve that, we want to hand over the reins of the government to the Liberals for the next 50 years.

But mostly, we have to decide if we want to go all out in organization, work, and dedication or just raise money and run ads.  Unless we do that, we are doomed. It is time to turn over the leadership of the GOP to a new generation that recognizes the problems and wants to solve them.  

We have to take a strong look at the "Ruling Class" that Rush and others talk about.  In the last 50 years, we have seen groups in Madison, composed of big donors, political operatives, lawyers, lobbyists and some GOP leaders,  forge a policy that tell us that Conservatives cannot win. They say that if we put Conservatives up they will drag the whole ticket down.  Guess what, they got their candidates: Romney, McCain, Dole, Bush and they not only dragged the ticket down but the country as well.

Conservatives have to step out, work with the local legislators who do listen to us, and forge policies that will run the state and the country. We will win.

We have to confront these big money guys, who raise and spend millions on ads, then stuff millions into their pockets while doing it, and knock them down.  They are screwing up the whole system.  This is the bankrupt "Ruling Class", headed up by Karl Rove and company that are doing that.

Tommy and Tammy

What a disaster.  I worked with Tommy on numerous occasions and I have never seen a candidate work so hard.  I saw his schedule and it was nuts.  I could not keep up and I am in good shape.  The worst part is that what ever he did, by himself or the campaign, was pretty much meaningless as the people voted the ticket.  They were not enamored with Romney and we did not get out our vote.  Lots of people stayed home.

The rush of millions of dollars of TV ads drowned out Tommy's message, whatever the campaign did get out.  Tommy could not get a strategy going because his efforts were drowned by the 527's.

After the primary, he was broke and no one came in to give him some effort to get out his message.  Then Tammy, flush with money, made Tommy, one of the most solid Wisconsinite backers in history, out to be some greedy capitalist out to line his pockets with their money.  He could not counter that and that set the stage.

Why we let the Libs do that to us time after time is beyond me.  WE have a group of operatives in Mad City that just cannot "get it.”  You cannot sit at your desks, order ads, robo-calls and literature and win consistently in this state.  You need to get in the trenches, find your vote and organize it. The NRA identified 1.4 million people in this state that were prime Tommy backers.  If they did nothing but concentrate on that group and got them out to vote, Tommy would have walked to victory, dragging Romney along.

KF NOTE: While I am happy to post the writings of a long-time dedicated conservative soul like Bob Dohnal, I take issue with a few of his points.

1) Please don’t question the effort of the GOP on the ground. They worked their butts off. To suggest otherwise is insulting. 

2) My God, national talk show hosts were absolutely correct and appropriate to shish-kabob Sandra Fluke. Why handle her with kid gloves? Those of her ilk would never vote with us, ever, no matter what the message. We must stick to our principles. Rush and Hannity did and should be commended, not blamed for GOP losses.

3) Rip Karl Rove and the boatload of $$$ he brings? Please.

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