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Tommy's fun-lovin' past may emerge

I have the names of the four women, and while some of them held some sort of Wisconsin Department of Administration position while Thompson was governor, they tend not to be public figures today; one was a Milwaukee-area state representative, one a county campaign manager, one a member of the gaming commission, one a staffer at the state Division of Health, one a Portage resident. While Thompson was governor, many of the liaisons allegedly occurred at Madison’s Concourse Hotel. One of my correspondents wrote, “After he moved into the [Governor’s] Mansion, Tommy quit the practice of logging in the names of guests and visitors. Can be verified by Mansion officers.”
— reporter Jay Rath, about 2008 GOP prez candidate (and married man) Tommy Thompson’s colorful love life while Governor of Wisconsin. Apparently a lot of other reporters weren’t asking or telling about it back in the day.

It looks like The Party of Family Values has yet another candidate with an interesting personal life that has to get Dobson certified.  But hey, if Newt can repent for Daddy D, Tommy can step right up too! (

“Tommy had an apartment in Madison before he was elected governor,” read the June 22, 1994, letter. “He kept the apartment after he was elected [to the state legislature]. Supposedly there were several women who joined him there.”

In fact, there allegedly were as many as four long-term affairs before Tommy Thompson finally left for Washington, D.C., to become secretary of Health and Human Services.

These are old notes in my files that suddenly are current again. Now that his hat is in the presidential ring, it’s time for journalists to finally look at the alleged extramarital affairs of the latest presidential candidate of the family-values party.

Reporters are a clubby bunch, and the problem in getting the story while Tommy was governor was that statehouse journalists — the ones who could most easily have reported on the allegations — historically tended to be part of an old boys network; everyone was pals, and so everyone looked the other way. The rumors were a “secret” that many working reporters knew about.

Now, I couldn’t care less about who the guy’s boinking, but as “the reliable conservative” he may need to explain himself a bit better to the religious masters jerking the GOP chain, such as Talibangelist Rod Parsley, head of the pious Center for Moral Clarity, who believes that state adultery laws should be strictly enforced.

“Adultery is a violation of biblical instruction as well as an offense against the other partner in what should be a sacred relationship. Furthermore, the breach of faith is disastrous to children – as well as the broader society,” said Pastor Rod Parsley. “Too many men and women are willing to surrender to passion and desires of the flesh without considering the repercussions of those fleeting moments of pleasure.”

Uh, oh. Rod wants to find a morally “clean” candidate, and the rest of the adulterers can go to the pokey. So if those rumblings about Tommy are true, he joins these luminaries of the Right running or thinking of running:

Sen. John McCain (affair, divorce), former House Speaker Newt Gingrich (affair, divorce, affair, divorce), and former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani (divorce, affair, nasty divorce).

Religious leaders like Dobson and Parsley are part of The Base of the GOP, the folks that these candidates are pandering and courting in the primaries. Instead of marginalizing them, folks with problematic pasts like Gingrich go crawling to Daddy D to get their moral blessing. It’s pathetic. But it’s entertaining to see this bumper crop of GOP presidential wannabes navigate this mine field.

Imagine if the Dem field were so maritally challenged. The bible beaters would be all over them.

* Tommy Thompson’s in 

Hat tip, Ginny.

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Pam Spaulding

Pam Spaulding