It’s easy to understand the temptation for state Sen. Leah Vukmir (R-Brookfield) to attack U.S. Senator Tammy Baldwin on foreign policy and American security. It’s a vulnerability that can and should be exploited by Republicans hoping to defeat Baldwin in November.

However, calling Baldwin a member of “Team Terrorists” and putting her in a picture with Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, on social media and in a press release, is not smart campaigning. Regardless of how one feels about Baldwin’s record, calling her pro-terrorist is irresponsible and will cause voters to tune Vukmir out should she be the Republican nominee for U.S. Senate in the November election.

Image from state Sen. Leah Vukmir’s press release attacking U.S. Senator Tammy Baldwin.

What point was Vukmir trying to make? Is she really saying that because Baldwin is silent on President Donald Trump’s nomination of Gina Haspel to lead the C.I.A., Baldwin is really supportive of terrorist attacks on the United States? That Baldwin wants to see innocent Americans killed like they were on September 11?

Does Vukmir believe her fellow Republicans, Sen. John McCain (R-AZ), Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) and Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME) are “Team Terrorists,” too?

This is one time Vukmir should have taken the lead of her Republican Primary opponent Kevin Nicholson. Nicholson has attacked Baldwin for supporting the deal with Iran which, as Nicholson has pointed out, helped fund weapons used by terrorists in Iraq against American soldiers. Nicholson has also been on target attacking Baldwin’s foreign policy naiveté in supporting a Department of Peace instead of funding the needs of the Department of Defense.

Or Vukmir could instead continue to focus on Baldwin’s failure and cover-up at the V.A. hospital in Tomah, WI, an issue much closer to the concerns of Wisconsinites. Baldwin is running ads now about the scourge of opioid addiction, but where was Baldwin’s concern when a whistleblower attempted to alert her office about the opioid problem affecting our veterans?

Vukmir and the Republicans have a good track record when it comes to battling the state’s opioid addiction problem. She should be contrasting her record with Baldwin’s record, not calling Baldwin a member of “team terrorists.”

This has been a good week for Vukmir, one that should end with her getting the endorsement of the state Republican Party convention. And Vukmir is right – Haspel deserves confirmation by the Senate.

However, this kind of “red meat” attack is insulting the intelligence and character of the Republican grassroots Vukmir has been so successful in courting up until now. Vukmir owes her fellow Republicans, and her Democratic opponent, more respect than this smear demonstrates.

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