If you want to see the corrupting influence of big money on politics — especially when big money flows from outside of our state — look no further than the race for U.S. Senate in Wisconsin.

If you believed all the paid campaign blather, you would be convinced that two of the most evil creatures on earth are running to represent us.

Of course, the candidates haven’t exactly been shy about calling each other out, either.

Regardless, we think U.S. Rep. Tammy Baldwin and former Gov. Tommy Thompson are bright, honorable public servants who would represent this state with honor.

Clearly, there’s more that separates Tammy and Tommy than a vowel.

They are different people with different strengths.

One of them will be our U.S. senator — and there are reasons to have faith.

They are fighting to fill the seat of Herb Kohl, a fiscal conservative and social progressive who has long been a caring, generous leader for the people of Wisconsin.

Kohl couldn’t always be defined by labels or party — a good thing, actually.

We have been impressed over the years that Baldwin — who has served the Madison area in Congress since 1999 — has visited the La Crosse area a number of times as part of her congressional committee work.

Those visits happened long before she announced her bid for Senate, and she was able to get a good feel for the quality of health care and the importance of renewable energy to our region.

It is clear she’s passionate about serving others — a passion that serves her and her constituents well.

Thompson, the former 14-year governor from Elroy, certainly isn’t a stranger here, either.

He also isn’t bashful.

Our endorsement comes down to the simple idea of collaboration and compromise.

In Washington and throughout the country, we stick to ideology at the peril of accomplishment. Both candidates, we’re sad to say, would have voted against the Simpson-Bowles plan that blended federal budget cuts and revenue increases — an approach pushed last week by CEOs in this country.

That plan wasn’t perfect — but it was billions and billions of dollars better than gridlock for our debt and our economy.

While we value Baldwin’s passion for social justice and her pride at working across the aisle, Thompson runs on a rich record of accomplishment in leading our state during a period when the governor and Legislature were on different sides of the political fence for 12½ of those 14 years.

Thompson was able to be pragmatic in order to reach consensus for the good of the state. We think that ability is needed in Washington, too.

While we’ve long admired Baldwin and believed the negative labels didn’t do her justice, we endorse Thompson because of his record of achieving compromise and accomplishment at a time when those are sorely needed.

We challenge him to make good on one area that requires compromise — health care.

We’re tired of the shrill opponents of health care reform who offer nothing in the way of reforming Medicare reimbursement, reforming the quantity-instead-of-quality payment structure or providing more preventative care.

Thompson was about the only Republican we’ve heard from who talks about the good points of the Affordable Care Act that he would like to retain — covering people 26 and younger on their parents’ policy, insuring those with pre-existing conditions, paying for successful outcomes and investing in wellness and prevention.

His knowledge of the topic as former secretary of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services came through. If he can help make the Affordable Care Act even more affordable for small business and others, that’s a plus.

(41) comments

Cassandra

Thompson feathered his nest at taxpayer expense and the Tribune seems to think that's OK. War profiteering used to be frowned on, but not any more.

independent

Thats a load of disingenuous c**p cassandra and you know it. Tammy Baldwin has no record to run on, so she makes up this c**p so sheeple think Baldwin is somebody that never was ranked the most liberal member of congress. Tommy Thompson has done far more for Wisconsin than Tammy Baldwin, and represents the core of Wisconsin values far closer than Baldwin.

independent

From the Beloit Daily News - endorsing Tommy Thompson for US Senate:

HERE’S OUR TAKE. Baldwin’s record ranks her as one of America’s most liberal politicians. Thompson’s record is moderate and pragmatic, despite his awkward attempts this year to pacify the cranky right.

We think what both Wisconsin and Washington need is what Thompson offers — a senator who knows how to be independent, even if that means working with the other side, in the interest of getting things done and solving problems.

Thompson has a proven track record as a deal-maker and problem-solver. Considering the magnitude of the issues facing the nation, and the get-nothing-done partisanship which has hogtied Congress, we believe Washington could use someone who knows how to get to the handshake.

Tommy Thompson gets our endorsement.

The Tribune must want me to renew my subscription that I cancelled; if they endorse Mitt Romney I may just do that.

retiredone

Please do and then we won't have to read your trash

Cassandra

How much did Tommy pay the Tribune Editorial Board for this endorsement?

pheasant

He and his friends filled several balls with tax dollars. Then they ran out into the private sector for a 'long one' and caught the ball. Shameless! ANd we are to vote for him because Tammy sucks? LOL!!!! They both suck!

independent

Great endorsement Tribune - common sense prevails.

olderthandirt

Yippie Tribune! You finally made me believe you do have a fair common sense side! Go Tommy!

otherwise

The Trib decries the corrupting influence of big money, but then endorses Thompson, who built a career around big-money sources like ALEC, a powerful group of multinational corporations forcing its agenda through state legislatures. Thompson stated he "loved" attending ALEC meetings so he could take ALEC ideas "back to Wisconsin, disguise them a little bit, and declare that it's mine."

The Trib's valid concern for small businesses is undermined by this quote from Eric Hovde regarding loophole-lobbyist Grover Norquist and his Pledge: "How is a small business going to compete if they're trying to compete against General Electric, that in some years, pays nothing because they can buy off Washington." Like anti-Pledge Senator Lugar in Indiana, Hovde lost after a barrage of big-money negative ads.

Thompson signed Grover's Pledge and supports ALEC's big-money legislative agenda. The Trib fails to appreciate the full impact of big money and its global- not US or Wisconsin- interests.

David Lee
David Lee

When deciding folks, remember, It was tommy to had a budget surplus when he took office as governor. It was Tommy who lied about a 2 billion dollar surplus when he left for washington. It was in fact a 3.6 billion dollar debt. That's a 5.6 billion dollar lie folks. Also when you talk about reform of federal giverment, pun intended, it was tommy who was the engineer for the biggest unfunded budget program in the history of the United States the medicare drug program. If you think that's the kind of leadership we need, we are going to continue circling the toilet as our economy get's flushed.

independent

Again, David Lee, there was a budget surplus in Wisconsin in 2000. BUDGET SURPLUS. That is a FACT.

I proved you wrong multiple times in these forums. You keep repeating the same lies. You have no credibility. Maybe you should google "credibility", David.

Baldwin voted for the medicare drug program also in 2000. It is not like the program appeared out of thin air in 2002. The program has been legislated since 1998 and took four years to pass. Seniors give the program a 90% approval rating and it is actually one government program that is running UNDER budget, by 28 to 40% (according to the CBO, and actuaries, respectively).. Misinformed who try to gain political points by deriding the program (Tammy Baldwin et al) ignore the impact of generic drugs and participants involvement in controlling their costs as well as the costs to Medicare. Part D.

I'm sure the Tribune endorsement of Tommy Thompson has chapped your muffins again, David Lee. :(

David Lee
David Lee

Your facts are nonsense, just like you posting. Quit making stuff up. As for the drug act, it is still the largest unfunded program in the history of the united states.

retiredone

Way to go. David Lee is a real idiot

otherwise

Yes, with GAAP (Generally Accepted Accounting Principles) it was a debt, So since then, non-GAAP accounting has been used to balance the state budget as mandated by state law.

When Walker was running for governor, he called Doyle's use of non-GAAP accounting "a world class lie" about the $3 billion state debt, which makes Walker a self-described world-class liar since he also used non-GAAP accounting to claim he balanced the budget. Non-GAAP accounting is powerful stuff; it can flip a debt into a surplus.

capedcrusader

Hockeydad - What business sense did he have when the deficits in Wisconsin were ballooning when he was Governor?

Tim Russell
Tim Russell

That's why he needs to attack Baldwin. He can't run on his record.

RetPopo

Why anyone would vote for Baldwin is beyond me. Far to radical, liberal, and her ideology is far left even though she spouts bi-partisanship. Thompson has a proven record. He reformed welfare and that was sorely needed and still is (if you have been around and seen what goes on). Its laughable that people attack Thompson for his LHI dealings. LHI is a big successful employer. Isn't that good? Or do you wish they were out of the area and many did not have jobs there. So what, that he made money while there. Thats capitalism and good for him. I bet Thompson also spends a lot of money. Gee, that must be good for the economy. Its apparent that since Obama and company came into power they have been successful at demonizing money makers and job creators. Good old conquer and divide tactics along with wealth distribution.

CelticMan

Money makers? Really? How about "game riggers" or "tax evaders".

Job creators? Just as stupid. The real "job creators" are the people in the middle and lower classes who buy things. People who have companies don't create jobs out of the goodness of their heart. There has to be demand.

Buggs Raplin

Tommy, like Shilling, engaged in gutter politics in his campaign ads by questioning Tammy's patriotism. Yes, I know he denies that, but the ads do exactly that. I'm voting Tammy, the only Democrat who'll get my vote this year.

independent

Patriotism? More like her judgement. Do you think a politician like Baldwin, who has existed on the outer fringe of liberal in Washington for 14 years, can step into the Senate and work in a bi-partisan manner? do you think her decade plus of extremism would be an asset when we need compromise to get Washington moving again towards solutions to problems that need quick action, like the fiscal cliff? Tammy Baldwin's votes on the 9/11 resolution, opposing IRAN sanctions 4 times, and being 1 of 3 in congress to not condemn Ahmadimejad's comments to the UN that the holocaust never existed are a few of many political judgements she made that put her in the extremes.

Tammy Baldwin is an obstructionist. Tommy Thompson is a reformer, a progress minded leader who works for bi-partisan solutions. This is why the Tribune endorsed him for Senate.

Buggs Raplin

Yeah, her judgment...that was Tommy's fall back position. However, the ads question her patriotism. Just watch them with an open mind.

BIGTERR1

what? you would only vote for 1 democrat, an ultra leftist-no doubt here- and the rest of your votes would go to republicans? sure.

Buggs Raplin

You're making the assumption that if you don't vote Democrat, you have to vote Republican. That's a false assumption.

BIGTERR1

communists? point is,you didnt answer th quesion

Hockeydad

Thompson has the business sense that we need in Washington to actually do something about the ballooning deficits and debt.

Mumbles

Just as I'd all but given up on the Trib for being nothing but a Liberal promotional rag, they show me a little common sense in the endorsing of Tommy Thompson!

Tommy for Senate!

The Veteran

Boy the libs are sure whining today,must smell defeat in the fall air, its just like the summer air ,I think it is just GREAT!!!!!

retiredone

Good post Veteran.

Opus
Opus

Veteran - where are all the conservatives who were whining that the Tribune is nothing but a liberal mouthpiece?

I agree that we need people who will build consensus, but Thompson did that LONG ago. His ridiculous ads against Baldwin show that he can't be trusted to tell the truth and has absolutely no interest in building consensus.

independent

Tammy Baldwin gets a pass on ridiculous ads? That is very hypocritical. Baldwin's whole campaign is negative ads, lies, misrepresentations, and smears on Tommy Thompson. Baldwin has held the edge on money since the primary and IMMEDIATELY ran only negative ads against Thompson after the August 14th primary. Baldwin had the whole month of August on the airwaves to herself. Baldwin ran negative ads the whole time. What does that tell you?

Answer: Baldwin is running FROM her 14 year record in congress. When you dont have a record to run on, you paint your opponent as someone to run from. That is the playbook of the Tammy Baldwin campaign and is another reason why not to vote for her.

Opus
Opus

Baldwin's ads, while distasteful, have not come close to the lies that Thompson has been spreading. Look at any fact checking site and you will find that to be true. Why did Thompson not put out ads early? Because republicans were running from him!

logical thinker

The epitome of everything stereotypically ugly about rich old, fat, sexist, middle-aged white guys. Turns my stomach in ways that other politicians do not even on their best day.

CelticMan

I think Thompson reached across the aisle years ago because everything was going his way anyway. The economy was booming, etc. He didn't have to make tough choices at all. Yet, he didn't do much to help regular people. The only credible thing he did was the Welfare to Work program, which has since been dissolved.

k

I also dont believe the polls we see each day,they are always way skewed for the Republicans!

k

I watched the debate,no way am i voteing for Thompson-after all the negative ads againgst Baldwin,which i am so sick of seeing over and over again,I wouldnt vote for him if you paid me!!!

Napoleon
Napoleon

Re: "Our view: Thompson best choice for Senate"

Told you, the Tribune makes its endorsements in the following way: Republican, Democrat, Republican, Democrat, Republican, Democrat,.....they did it in 2008, et cetera. The endorsements this week, same deal. BTW, the Tribune endorsed the incompetent George W. Bush... so much for the Trib's street cred!

Why? The Tribune tries to steer to the middle, to keep its subscriber losses down.

This Tommy Thompson endorsement is a laugher though: Tommy is one of the most corrupt politicians this nation has ever seen. He's pure Tammany Hall, pure Billy Tauzin, pure Blagojevich...pure quid pro quo, he's one of the greatest influence peddlers of all time.

Don't believe me? Ask Don Weber. He knows!

"LHI sale completed; Tommy Thompson out as board chairman"

http://lacrossetribune.com/news/lhi-sale-completed-tommy-thompson-out-as-board-chairman/article_26129d38-7c2f-11e0-bd29-001cc4c002e0.html

BIGTERR1

love the rhetoric.worst, most corrupt ever? no, you just dont like him. i dont care for tammy baldwin, think she votes against my best interests. think she is wrong, ultra left wing liberal. but she is not worst ever. good god, look at things logically, not partasin all the time.

LAX

What an absolute joke! The Trib decries government corruption and then endorses Thompson! What a crock!

retiredone

Poor EXLAX-whine on. Great endorsement. Suck it up

BIGTERR1

why do leftist want to decry those mean republicans, yet overlook there own slime? gonna put you all back in chains!

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