Monday, July 28, 2008

Jim Doyle Leaving, Barbara Lawton to Become Governor!

I'm jumping the gun a bit, but every indication is that Jim Doyle is packing his bags for an appointment in the Obama administration. The positions I've heard mentioned include AG, Health and Human Services, perhaps an appellate court judgeship, or maybe even ambassador to Ireland. Doyle really likes Ireland.

Normally the transition to a new governor in a situation like this would be fairly smooth. This one might be a lot more interesting due to the rocky relationship between Doyle and Lt. Governor Barbara Lawton. While I don't expect any big immediate policy changes, there might be an awful lot of Doylies looking for jobs when their patron saint leaves town.

No matter what position he takes in the Obama administration, Doyle is unlikely to bring more than a handful of people with him, and that means a bunch of folks who hitched their star to his are going to be out of luck. Few Doylies have ever shown Lawton much love, so she has little incentive not to roll heads at the capital and at party headquarters. Expect to see a lot of resumes floating around Madison during the next few months.

But it may not play out that way. Looks like Doyle has a plan in the works that would create a safe haven for many of his most loyal servants. A plan that would turn the Democratic Party power structure on its head. A plan that would also be an extraordinarily nasty parting shot at Barbara Lawton.

But more on that later...


Northwoods said...

Hmm. This is the first I've heard of Doyle leaving the Gov's office.

If I recall, he's been fundraising for his re-election. I think he's done a good job running the state despite a lot of Republican interference and I've been looking forward to seeing what he could get done if the Dems win control of the assembly this time around. It would be kind of a shame to leave just when the Dems win control of both the Senate and the Assembly.

Is this just conjecture? You don't really give any evidence that he's about to make a move. However, he was an important endorsement that helped Obama carry Wisconsin, so I could see him getting rewarded for that.

Russell Wallace said...

Jim Doyle hasn't exactly told me what he's going to do, so this is just conjecture, but conjecture with a fair bit of evidence behind it.

Unfortunately I can't share all that evidence yet, although I promise I'll write more about this in the near future.

For now consider these points: Jim Doyle gambled by coming out early and strong for Obama. He's too good a politician to take such a risk without the prospect of a significant return, and a position in the Obama administration is the most obvious, and likely, reward. A reward which Doyle has more than earned.

Also, it's easy for Doyle to be the Democratic hero when the Republicans control all or part of the legislature, but it'll get a lot more complicated if Democrats take back the assembly this fall. Doyle would suddenly change from a gatekeeper protecting us from Republicans into the referee of a Democratic free-for-all. Very different job requiring a very different set of political skills, and I could see why Doyle might not be looking forward to that.

Brad V said...

Slightly misleading headline, no?

It presumes Obama will win, Doyle will step down, Doyle will get appointed, etc.

Conjecture with a fair bit of evidence should at least reference a "source who asked not to be named" or something to give an appearance of credibility.

For now, this is simply wild sensationalism supported by your own political logic.

Russell Wallace said...

I have quite a few source who have "asked not to be named", but I didn't see much point in stating the obvious. If anybody had been willing to go on the record I would have named them, but every Democrat up at the capital knows it would political suicide to speculate publicly about Doyle's future.

The point of a headline is to get attention. Looks like it worked on you. Only time will tell if my post is right or wrong (but I'm pretty sure I'm right).

Xoff said...

Wanna bet?

Russell Wallace said...

Sure. A case of beer perhaps?

You have far better access to Doyle's people than I do, Xoff, but in addition to the usual gossip there are some odd things happening at the capital that certainly make it look to me like Doyle is planning to leave town. It would be quite interesting to hear your take on this, so please come back...

Compassionate Badger said...

i've heard about this from a few sources as well...i think it would be UNFORTUNATE for Doyle to take a parting shot at Lawton...i like the LT a lot :(

Anonymous said...

Good to see you using your "sources" on something bigger (and more important) than a petty dispute with college students and representatives. You may soon be invited back to the big kid's table!

That out of the way, it's obvious Doyle has what, a million dollars in the campaign bank? And it won't be going to Lawton!

Russell Wallace said...

Funny, but I'm not much interested in being invited to the big kid's table. I just play where I want to.

My worry is that Doyle's actions with regard to Lawton will cause a civil war in the party. Succession fights are never pretty, but they can get even uglier when the folks at the top try to ram their preferences down everybody else's throats.

Compassionate Badger said...

exactly my thoughts, russell...just let wisconsin choose!