Former Republican Wisconsin Gov. Tommy Thompson is running in a primary for Senate against two challengers from his Right. Recently, he made some remarks that sounded like a less-than-wholehearted endorsement of Gov. Scott Walker, R, who now faces a recall election. Unions, angry that Walker has reduced their power in the state with collective bargaining reforms, have gathered over a million signatures to put him on the ballot, probably this summer.
Meanwhile, Thompson continues to speak in public on Walker's behalf, then distance himself from the governor whenever he speaks to the press.
Speaking at the Milwaukee Press Club on Monday, Thompson distanced himself from some of the policies that made Walker the target of an unprecedented recall drive -- and a cause celebre among conservatives in Wisconsin and across the country.
When asked about Walker's controversial budget repair bill, which restricted the collective bargaining power of public employees, Thompson said he didn't want to second-guess Walker. But he didn't exactly offer a full-throated endorsement of the law, which has drawn praise from conservatives and scorn from labor groups and their supporters.
"I was not there when he was making his decision based on the facts and evidence that he had. I'm not going to come now and Monday (morning) quarterback and say I would have done it different," Thompson said, according to the Journal Sentinel. "Probably would have, but I don't know."
Walker and the Badger State's Republican legislative majorities have argued that their collective bargaining reforms were necessary in order to prevent Wisconsin from going the way of Illinois -- a state dominated by unions and being bankrupted by their generous and hard-won benefit-concessions.
Right or wrong, Thompson seems to be undercutting them whenever he gets a chance, and running a general election race in the primary.