Former Wisconsin Gov. Tommy Thompson can be excused for over-generalization.
He blames Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney’s poor performance on the campaign trail for dragging down the rest of the GOP slate in the State of the Cheeseheads. He also says it’s inevitable that when the top of the ticket is faltering that it has an impact on the down-ballot races.
It’s too bad Lloyd Bentsen isn’t around to refute that contention.
The late, great Texas U.S. senator had the high honor of running for vice president in 1988 on a ticket led by another guy from Massachusetts, then-Gov. Michael Dukakis. Bentsen also was running for re-election to the Senate that year against Republican hopeful Beau Boulter, a congressman from Amarillo.
Bentsen faced the same “drag” in Texas that Thompson is facing up yonder in Wisconsin. The Dukakis-Bentsen ticket didn’t fare too well in that election, losing big to George H.W. Bush and Dan Quayle. The Republicans carried Texas handily en route to their Electoral College landslide.
Bentsen, though, fared much better against Boulter, thumping the Senate challenger by an even bigger margin than the one run up by Bush-Quayle in the Lone Star State.
Thus, maybe it isn’t all Mitt’s fault. Besides, doesn’t Romney have a guy from Wisconsin running with him at the top of the ticket? Thompson’s sliding poll numbers might have as much to do with his own candidacy … you know?