Thursday, January 18, 2007

Should Peg Lautenschlager Run For DPW Chair?

Judging by the results of a recent Democracy for Wisconsin online poll, Peg certainly would have a lot of support if she did:

What would you like to see Peg Lautenschlager do next?

45% - Run for Wisconsin Dem Party Chair in '07
24% - Run for Congress against Tom Petri in '08
18% - Retire from politics (trolls and the Governor's staffers?)
9% - Run for AG in 2010
3% - Run for Governor in 2010

This indicates that a pretty hefty chunk of the party's most active progressive base wants Peg to pull a Howard Dean and run for chair. Given Peg's frosty relationship with Doyle, and therefore much of the party establishment, it would be an interesting race, but I think she would be unbeatable. And with her solid progressive roots, proven management skills, and work ethic, she could really whip the party into shape.

The only problem is convincing Peg of all this. She hasn't exactly expressed much interest yet from what I can tell. So if the idea of Peg doing for our state party what Dean did for the DNC intrigues you, it might not be a bad idea to her know...


jody said...

I spoke with Peg once, all the while, and unbeknownst to her, I subjected her to both my unwavering scrutiny AND The Invisible Side Street Character Test.

Peg did extremely well. Not many do. She also gave a much more rousing and authentic speech than Wineke can, and without arrogance yet! Amazing.

While I have no deep love for Howard Dean, I will, on bended knee (you'll have to trust me on that part) say -

Peg Dear,
Go kick some Wineke Ass.
You can DO it.

Thank you

Russell Wallace said...

OK Jody, now I'm curious. Just what is the Invisible Side Street Character Test?

proletariat said...


I think a comparison of Dean and Peg is way off. Dean came in to gently reform a party with another party's president in power, Wisconsin still has a very centrist governor in power. If, what his name now oh yea Green, had won it would make sense.

If she did run for something my preference would be governor, and not as a Democrat.

Anonymous said...

I think the Howard Dean comparison is apt. We have moribund party in Wisconsin thanks to the poor leadership from HQ, but not for a lack of will among the membership. One of the hallmarks of Dean's leadership at the DNC is that he's putting the party into the hands of the membership and pulling it from the consultants and insiders.

Peg would be a brilliant choice! I agree with Jody on Peg's ability to inspire a crowd. She'd also bring a lot of women in the party. Most importantly, I'd like to see her work with the county parties to clean up the lame voter file of the state party and bolster membership in the party. said...

Before you go drafting Peg, give her a little time off from politics. She hasn't even been gone a month. Let her catch her breath.

Russell Wallace said...

If you know Peg, you know that nobody can make her do something she doesn't want to do. She's as tough a politician as you're ever going to find. So I'm not worried about the draft Peg movement. She will make up her own mind, as she always does.

boblaughalott said...

Only we Dems could want the most divisive among us as Chair. The job is not the job of high priest(ess) or head of a cult of personality; the job entails uniting the party to common ends.

Peg has never been able to do that and can't do it now.

And, as an aside, for thos of us who want a democratic Democratic party; is it not a factor that Democratic voters sent Peg packing not too long ago?

Northwoods said...

After the way Peg got dissed by Doyle and legislators like Pocan, Krueser, et al, I'd love to see her lead the party purely to see those losers have to kiss her ring.

Also, I'm sure she'd do a good job organizing the party for the '08 presidential election. She's very articulate and would be a good spokesperson. I can see why people would want her to do it.

boblaughalott said...

Why would it be a good thing to make someone chair only because she can't get along with the other folks in the party? I don't get it; this sounds like a plan to disrupt the party rather than furthering its goals.

If folks hate the Democratic party so much, why do they concern themselves with its leadership?

Northwoods said...


Where do you get this notion that Peg doesn't get along with people?

My point was that Doyle and a few weasels in the legislature have dissed Peg, not the other way around. Peg is beloved by the party members and vis versa. Anyone who attended the last party convention could tell you that.

BTW, I googled your handle, "Boblaughalott" and found that you've had an issue with Peg going back a ways. Time to take a chill pill buddy.

Russell Wallace said...

Bob, I'll bet you hate Howard Dean nearly as much as you hate Peg. People like you said the exact same things about him; he's divisive, his supporters are nothing more than a personality cult, the Dem Party rejected him, he can't get along with people, he can't raise money...

So who had the last laugh on that one?

You also seem to have overlooked the fact that Peg overwhelmingly won two separate straw polls for AG at the convention last year. I know you were a Falk supporter, but the majority of Dem Party members backed Peg and it's time for you to accept that and move on.

boblaughalott said...

I don't hate anyone. Actually, I think Dean has done a fairly decent job but has made some serious mistakes. I also have trouble with his pro-gun and pro death penalty stances.

You also highlight a problem with us progressives. Peg won straw polls by 12 or 22 votes that involved a couple hundred attendees at the convention. So what? You seem to view with disdain the thousands who actually vote in the real world. I simply don't share your view that a couple dozen insiders should follow their own preferences without a care for the party's voters or the people who's lives we are actually trying to improve.

In the end, tho what really led me to post was (1) the notion that Peg's electoral loss is somehow a demonstration of how popular she is (but, yes 200 hundred insiders voted for her in a straw poll) and (2) that we should make her chair because she doesn't get along with other Dem officials.

This is elitism run amok frankly. And, its an elite who seem to loath the Democratic party and who have politics defined only by the desire to tear at the elected Dem officials who are actually changing policy for the better. And your strange notion that losing at the ballot box shows popularity, I just don't know what to make of it.

And Northwoods, the condition for which you prescribe a chill pill is called consistency.

Northwoods said...

Blah, blah, blah...

Bob's telling stories. Peg is team player. She's a loyal Dem with a long and successful career. She'd be a good choice for chair because she's so articulate and well respected.

The bit about sticking it to the handful of pols that stabbed her in the back was for my own satisfaction.

If losing a primary is grounds for elimination, I believe Joe Wineke lost his last two elections for higher office. And he went on the be party chair. So, let's not damn Peg just because she wasn't reelected as AG.

The exciting thing about Peg being party chair is she's so well known and respected in the state. She'd have a platform to speak from.

Also, this would be a good move for Peg personally. She's still a viable politician in the state who could run for office again as your poll rusults suggest. This would be a good way to keep her in the public eye for some future run for office.

Ultimately it's up to Peg of course. But I'm sure that she'd find a lot of support if she chose to do it.

Carol said...

I have an idea! If you'd like to see how Peggy would do as a spokesperson for the party, email Joy Cardin to have Peggy represent the liberal view on her weekly Friday "Political Week in Review".

Email Joy Cardin at

Russell Wallace said...

Bob, let me get this straight, you're saying that a bunch of "elitists", who happen to be a significant majority of the members of the Democratic party, actually loathe the party and want to tear it down because they don't agree with your views of Peg Lautenschlager.

Can't say I really follow your logic.

Just in case you were wondering, here are the exact numbers from the straw polls at the last convention:

DFW Poll: Peg 162 votes (59%), Falk 115 votes (41%)

WisPolitics Poll: Peg 315 votes (58%), Falk 228 votes (42%)

Almost every convention delegate voted in one or both of these polls, and Peg won by a heck of a lot more than "12 or 22 votes".

Anonymous said...

I'd never support her as state chair.

But I'd wholehearteldy get behind her running for Congress, or even a possible resurgence at an AG candidate in 2010.

And I say that as someone who supported her opponent this time around.

I think she's got a comeback in her, but not as the chair of the DPW. Her skill, talent, poise, and charisma are far more useful as an elected official, not as a party insider.

proletariat said...


This is exactly why I think Pro Dems like you are wasting your time. They will include in so far as the energy you bring to the process, but will tear you down and spit you out like a piece of meat, like they did to Peg, when you put principles before politics.

Truth be to told Peg would have easily won the general, and the primary too if it wasn't for Milwaukee.

Peg is about the only Dem I can think of I would give serious consideration to voting for Governor. I would of course prefer her running as something other than a Dem with all its baggage and all.

Russell Wallace said...

I like you proletariat, but you're always going to be on the outside looking in because you don't have the courage to challenge the establishment in a meaningful way.

You've chosen to be a big fish in a small third-party Green/socialist pool, which provides you with a safe and accepting environment in which to express your views, but little power to do anything about them.

I've chosen to play in a much bigger and more hostile ocean, and while I may never fully succeed, what success I do have is far more likely to make a meaningful difference that what you do.

Reward is almost always proportional to risk. Although we share many values, we've taken fundamentally different political paths. You are correct that mine is much more difficult, but I would rather shoot for the moon and fail than sit around watching it in the sky and wishing I could be there.

Anonymous said...

My god russell, how do you keep from drowning in such an ocean of self-importance and piety?

Russell Wallace said...

My comment above was meant to be provocative, and it seems to have worked. Third parties are an important and necessary part of our democracy. Unfortunately they're also almost always a political dead end for the people in them.

But this has nothing to do with Peg running for DPW chair, so I'll get back to this debate in a series of future posts.

Anonymous said...

As a 20 year member of the party, I would love it if Peg ran. I am still upset about the last election. When Rammelt ran, your ballot had a number and that number was listed by your name. People where afraid of voting for Rammelt for fear of retribution from Doyle.

Get Peg in there...she will stop the petty crap killing this party. Even though we have won elections, this party is in shambles.