I had not expected the opportunity to interview Lieutenant Governor Rebecca Kleefisch at Saturday’s Defending the American Dream summit held by Americans for Prosperity, so I went into the interview completely cold. Fortunately, Kleefisch is an ex-TV reporter, so I don’t think it turned out too badly, at least in content.
Before I get to the highlights (full, if a bit scratchy, audio here), I do have to point you to today’s column from Michelle Malkin, who was also at the summit. She hit on one of the themes she did on Saturday – how the War on (Conservative) Women and the War on Wisconsin converged:
The outlook for the unhinged Left’s secondary targets, however, is not so bright. Lt. Gov. Rebecca Kleefisch, a tea party candidate who is not part of the GOP establishment, is being treated as collateral damage by the party. Outside of Wisconsin, most conservative activists are not even aware that she may be booted from office for simply doing her job. Kleefisch told me that on a recent fundraising swing in D.C., national GOP leaders were shocked to learn of her plight.
While Democratic femme-a-gogues continue their plaintive wailing about a “war on women,” Kleefisch has battled vile misogyny from liberal detractors. When lefty Wisconsin radio host John “Sly” Sylvester accused Kleefisch of performing “fellatio on all the talk-show hosts in Milwaukee” and sneered that she had “pulled a train” (a crude phrase for gang sex), feminists remained silent. A former television anchor, small businesswoman and mother of two, Kleefisch’s quiet work on economic development has reaped untold dividends for the state. But if conservatives who preach the gospel of fiscal conservatism do not act, the profligate progressives’ vendetta against Wisconsin may result in the first-ever recall of a lieutenant governor in American history.
My own interview did not touch on the misogynic aspect of the unionistas’ hate of Kleefisch, but we discussed the economy, as she has been an integral part of the effort to get business to locate and expand in Wisconsin, and the recall.
On the economy, which after a good start and a mid-year stall, is moving forward again with the best projected growth in 9 years – “The governor said, from the very beginning, that I was going to be the jobs ambassador, travel the state, having small-business round-tables, talk to our small-business owners, find out what’s working, what’s not, and how we can get government out of their way. We have made great strides towards making sure that we’re correcting the things that aren’t working, enhancing the things that are working, and reviewing great ways to get out of their way.
“Now, Moody’s rated our budget credit-positive. That is a signal to job creators everywhere that we’re headed in the right direction, that we’re putting certainty and stability back on the Wisconsin commerce map…. You compare that to Illinois, where Moody’s has them now scraping the bottom of the bucket. I mean, they’re worse than California, which is tough to do, and you have Governor Pat Quinn actually saying he is encouraged that one of the big three downgraded that badly. That is like saying you’re encouraged your kid is failing all of his classes but got kicked out of only one….
“For those folks who were expecting us to reach 250,000 new jobs in a year and a couple of months, that’s not exactly what we said. We said that we had hoped to reach 250,000 new jobs in our private sector in 4 years. That’s still what we hope for. Just because a goal is ambitious, that doesn’t mean you stop striving for it. We knew those numbers would be back-loaded. We’re starting to feel the hope and we’re starting to feel a genuine recovery. 94% of our job creators in this state say they believe Wisconsin is headed in the right direction, but a majority of job creators also concerned by this recall situation.”
On the recall situation – “I think that this recall is something that people are frustrated with because we have seen a non-stop electoral churn in the last year and a half. We were elected in 2010 by the vast majority of Wisconsinites, who expected they had just elected us to a 4-year term…. People are irritated with the non-stop political ads, and they’re frustrated that we don’t have two sides working together on the most-important thing, the biggest challenge facing Wisconsin – jobs. We just saw in the last couple of weeks the biggest jobs bill that Wisconsin has seen in decades go down because of politics. That type of stuff irritates people, and you know what, it should….”
Malkin asked, “What message would it send to young tea party moms across the country if Walker survived but Kleefisch was hung out to dry? Will Beltway Republican strategists and donors who constantly harp about the need to diversify the party step up to the plate? [Donate to Kleefisch’s defense here.]” We cannot forget the “undercards” of this recall.
Revisions/extensions (4:27 pm 3/28/2012) - Charlie Sykes talked with Rebecca Kleefisch about the recall and the War on (Conservative) Women on today’s show.