If you have been waiting for verbal bouquets to be thrown in Tommy Thompson's direction now that he has "unofficially" entered the race for the US Senate, you are looking in the wrong place. As Ricky used to tell Lucy all the time: "Tommy, you got some 'splainin' to do."
The Club For Growth is already on the attack--running TV and Internet ads that call out Thompson's support for "ObamaCare". They feature a smiling President Obama touting the so-called "moderates" and "Republicans" who were jumping on-board with the budget-crushing program. In response, Tommy has given us the Jackie Gleason "Hama-nuh-hama-nuh" reaction of a child caught with his full arm in the cookie jar and no good explanation.
You know what I would like to hear? How about: "Like a majority of Americans, I was overcome by temporary insanity in my support for anything President Obama has proposed. As a slick politician myself, I was star-struck by his smooth-talking, smartest man in the room persona--and before I could come to my senses I was saying 'That sounds like a great idea, Mr President. Count on my support.' But now that I have left the gas chamber of Washington DC, I realize what a horrible idea it really is and just how much Kool-Aid I drank."
In fact, Tommy should give us straight answers on a bunch of Wisconsin-related issues as well. For instance, all of the Wisconsin Works programs that are costing us an arm and a leg now. He could start by saying: "You know what, all of that paid babysitting and stuff that we could easily afford when unemployment was three or four percent, really is a back-breaker when the jobless rate is doubled. Perhaps we should have considered that before starting the programs. And, yes, I should have realized that people would figure out ways to cheat the system and cost taxpayers millions."
On SeniorCare: "When I first floated this idea--and my successor Scott McCallum got it passed in an election year--I swear we all said it was a temporary program until Medicare started picking up the cost of prescription drugs. I have no idea why the State keeps paying for it."
And on union worker contracts: "I certainly realized that the private sector was seeing its workers pick up a greater share of their health and retirement benefits and that we should probably expect our employees to do the same--but you didn't see me ever getting recalled, did you?"
Would Tommy Thompson be the worst Senate candidate the Republican Party ever nominated? No. But in supporting him, we who believe in fiscal responsibility have to place a lot of faith in the hope that he has learned some lessons from past mistakes we can't afford to make again.