Case in point: A number of conservative Republicans find themselves supporting -- horrors! -- one of the hated liberal trial lawyers for a District II Appeals Court judgeship in southeastern Wisconsin, while the GOP establishment lines up on the other side.
Why? Because they looked no further than the fact that the other candidate was appointed to the bench by their arch-nemesis, Gov. Jim Doyle.
Doyle appointed Lisa Neubauer in December to fill a vacancy, but she already has to stand for election this spring if she is to keep the job. She's a longtime Foley and Lardner partner, and she and her husband, Jeff -- a former state legislator, Congressional candidate and Democratic state chairman -- have supported many Dems over the years.
But the fact that she is Doyle's appointee seems to have been enough for some conservatives -- including former Waukesha DA and attorney general candidate Paul Bucher -- to come down on the other side. That despite the fact that Neubauer has the support of a list of prominent Republicans longer than your arm.
The guy on the other side, one Bill Gleisner, isn't exactly a conservative. He's been an officer of the Wisconsin Academy of Trial Lawyers, edited their quarterly magazine, and was their Trial Lawyer of the Year in 2005. Not that there's anything wrong with that -- except that he is a poster boy for what the GOP complains about in the legal system.
Gleisner's biggest campaign donors are trial lawyers like Bob Habush, as Dan Bice points out in a Sunday column.
How, then, to explain Bucher, the conservative's conservative, saying this in a radio spot that's been running on Republican talk radio shows in Milwaukee:
Bill has the qualities we all want in a judge. He will be tough on crime. He will enforce the laws as they are written, not as he wants them written. He won’t be an activist judge who will promote his own agenda like far too many judges do today.Bucher and other Repubs who have strayed into the Gleisner camp were rebuked recently by Michael Grebe, one of the state's top Republican honchos, as Jim Rowen reported several days ago:
Law enforcement officials across the State respect Bill Gleisner for his skill, his knowledge and experience, especially in criminal law. They know he will be the kind of no-nonsense Judge, law enforcement needs and deserves.
With Bill, what you see is what you get. I strongly support Bill because I know he’s not only competent, but more importantly he has the strong conservative values we all want in a Judge.
Appeals Court Judge Lisa Neubauer has emerged as something of a consensus candidate for election to a full term on the Appeals Court, District II.Good grief! Bucher's supporting someone who gives money to Jim Doyle and Linda Clifford?
Among those supporting her candidacy as these co-chairs:
Governor Jim Doyle, who appointed her to the bench in the first place, US Sen. Herb Kohl, (D), Tommy Thompson's former unofficial Deputy Governor, Jim Klauser, and the biggest catch of all - - Attorney Mike Grebe, the former Republican Party's Wisconsin chairman and arguably, with his national connections to the White House, the state's most important Republican...
Grebe calls attention to campaign donations that Gleisner has received from Wisconsin trial lawyers - - a standard target of GOP politicians and major business lobbies - - and also notes Gleisner's contributions to high-profile Democratic and liberal candidates, including Doyle, former 2004 Presidential candidate and US Sen. John Kerry, (D-MA), and former State Supreme Court candidate Linda Clifford.
Grebe says in his letter, released by the Neubauer campaign, that he is airing Gleisner's history because he "neglects to tell Republicans and conservatives" about it when seeking their support.
Other Repubs who seem to have climbed aboard the wrong campaign train include a couple of our favorite suburban State Senators, Mary Lazich and Alberta Darling, who apparently didn't ask enough questions, either.
But Bucher's the one farthest out on a limb -- on the radio, bucking the powers that be in his own party in support of what clearly looks like a loser.
Afterthought: What do you suppose McBride thinks about her hubby sleeping with the enemy?