Maybe Mike Tate is a nice man. Maybe he has a lot to offer the world. I don’t know him except as the chairman of Wisconsin’s Democratic Party, but in that capacity he has been a dismal failure. It is time for Mike Tate to leave. Maybe he could become a Republican and lead them to sure losses on upcoming election days and help even the score a little bit. He’s had his chance and has completely blown it. It is time for him to bow out gracefully and move on to something else. The Democratic Party in Wisconsin, and the people of this great state, cannot endure more of his leadership any more than we can endure four more years of Scott Walker in the governor’s seat.
Take a look at Tate’s career and then defend the idea that he should be allowed to stay on any longer than the time it takes to clear out a desk and walk out the door.
Below are some of the highlights of Tate’s career.
He was the State Field Director for Kathleen Falk’s losing bid for the governorship in 2002. In 2004, a year before he graduated from the University of Wisconsin with a bachelor’s degree in political science, he was named the Deputy State Director of America Coming Together (ACT). The national organization disbanded in 2005.
Also in 2004 he served as the State Director of Dean for America. Howard Dean had lost several primaries by the time Wisconsin’s came up. Dean had pretty much listed Wisconsin as a must win and indicated he believed that a win in Wisconsin could turn his entire campaign around and lead him to the Presidency. Under Mike Tate’s leadership of the state campaign Dean finished third here with only 18% of the vote. It pretty much ended his campaign and any chance of becoming President.
Fair Wisconsin in its desperate bid to defeat the 2006 Constitutional amendment banning gay marriage in the state of Wisconsin hired Mike Tate to lead the campaign against it. The citizens of the state voted for the amendment with just under 60% of the voters supporting discrimination against their fellow citizens.
In 2008 he was the Executive Director of Advancing Wisconsin, a group that funneled money into the 2008 campaign to elect Barack Obama. Obama did win Wisconsin that year, one of the few things Tate has been associated with where his candidate or position fared well. According to an NPR special series called “secret money project” by Will Evans (11/3/08) Tate was quoted as saying that instead of the group fading away after the election he wanted to create “a permanent grassroots field-organizing infrastructure in Wisconsin.” Great idea if it were true. The organization’s website is no longer active and they are no longer registered with the Internal Revenue Service.
After his service with Advancing Wisconsin Tate became the chairman of Wisconsin’s Democratic Party. There has not been much to cheer about during his tenure. Wisconsin lost one of its most popular Senators when Russ Feingold fell to Ron Johnson. Also in that time Scott Walker won the governorship in 2010, became the first governor in U. S. history to survive a recall election, and proceeded to win re-election in 2014. The Democrats put forth Milwaukee mayor Tom Barrett against Walker in 2010 and tried him again in the recall. This year the party, under Tate’s leadership, got behind the virtually unknown businesswoman Mary Burke almost as soon as she announced her candidacy. It was clear they had handpicked her and while Tate denied the party was endorsing her they did everything but come out and say it. Party regulars were denied a meaningful primary and never got fired up for her candidacy. She lost by 5%. Madison and Milwaukee voters did not turn out for her.
How many executives with this kind of record would still be in their positions in a corporation? The shareholders would riot and demand a resignation. It is time for the stakeholders in the Democratic Party of Wisconsin to do the same thing. Tate had his time and he had his chance and he has failed.
Let’s close with a couple other tidbits. If his record doesn’t convince you, how about his own words? These quotes are from a WisPolitics e-profile of Tate from November 20, 2006.
- When asked about the winning political formula in Wisconsin, Tate responded with this quote: “I don’t know that I should be asked this question given my track record.” It’s nice to see that he has a sense of humor about it, but his answer rings true.
- In answer to the question, “Most people don’t know I’m good at . . .” Tate’s response was, “I’m not really good at very much. I used to be a good golfer now my game comes and goes.”
Mike Tate, ta-ta. Time to go play some golf. Or just time to go.