When a prominent politician scoffs and laughs off a question, but never really answers it — well, that’s enough to fuel wild speculation in political circles.

Such is the case with former Congressman Dave Obey, the 7th District Democratic icon who retired after over four decades in Congress. He’s staying politically involved, and recently joined former Democratic majority leader Dick Gephardt’s liberal think tank.

But when it comes to speculation of whether Obey may run for office yet again, he hasn’t made his future entirely clear.

Recently he has been mentioned as a possible candidate against Gov. Scott Walker, should opponents be able to force a Walker recall election next year.

Now, this was partly fueled by a column by liberal Madison columnist Dave Zwiefel, who wrote more than a month ago how a long-time Democratic activist and advisor Bill Dixon openly called for Obey to run. Dixon said it would be tough to convince Obey to do it, but thought he would respond to a call from the people for him to run.

Asked about the column in a recent phone interview with the Herald, Obey joked “I wonder what bar they were in when they thought that one up.“

And at the FightingBob Fest North in Chippewa Falls last month, Obey railed about Republican policies and abuses of power, and commented that it made even someone like him mad enough to consider running.

That brought a wild ovation from the crowd, but afterwards Obey said he was only joking.

Obey has denied having an interest in running for office again, but was indirect when asked if he ruled it out.

He joked again that if people wanted a “grumpy old gus” that wouldn’t care whether he got re-elected, then maybe it would make sense.

But a more serious comment took a wait-and-see stance.

“What we have to do first is see what happens with these recalls,” he said, referring to upcoming recall elections against six Republican and three Democratic state senators.

Indeed, whether there is a Walker recall election may depend on how those elections go.

So may a definitive decision from Dave Obey.

(7) comments

Sand-Blaster

I consider myself to be mostly of the Democratic persuasion...
(Actually "Moderate")
Please... Mr Obey... Stay Retired! You lean Too Far to the 'Left' Ideology.
You Are Not a candidate I am likely to support or vote for.
You did many good things for our area, And... A few not so brilliant votes in your political career.

an80sreaganite

Some people just don't get it. Apparently, 42 years of eating out of the taxpayer funded trough is not enough. Please, stay retired and just fade away into oblivion.....

reader

You retired from the government and it is time you stay retired. To many special interest groups involved.

You did a great job for the most part. Lots of special projects written into bills for this area. We need to stop this type of budget bill process where the elected officials can add their own agendas to the entire bill. Yes it helped us, but in the end, it was all tax payer money and we really paid for it.

Truth Serum

Rex Systems needs another blank government check. Labor unions are in a death spiral. Yeah, Obey, we need you back.

Keepin it Real

A lot of our current problems are from those like the Dave Obey's. The politician that has been around too long that start spending your money and my money without regard as to how they spend it. Also all their pet projects that help a segment of the population that typically ends up hurting another segment of the population. Dave stay away from politics you helped some but hurt many folks with your policies.

bluehillsmike

This is an answer to a question nobody has asked. Dave, couldn't you just stay busy working in your son's multi-million dollar lobbying company that he just happened to 'set up' while you were in office? If you do run, have your friend Mr. Gunderman run for LG. Victory will be assured--for the incumbent.

Merlin
Merlin

Obey says that the Republicans are abusing power?

SERIOUSLY?

Isn't this the same guy who brought us ObamaCare, who told his constituency to "shut up" because they were too "stupid" to know anything? The same guy who brought us bail out after bail out? Who voted for the largest tax increases in the history of the country? Whose district was one of the poorest in the NATION?

Oh that's right, it's only an "abuse of power" if you disgree with his elitest methodology...

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