Mar 16, 2014

Mary Burke's Campaign Will Not Ignite, Someone Get In Fast

Blame it on the Desolate One because
Wisconsin Dems Are Professionals
Scott Walker is vulnerable in his re-election bid for governor.

Walker can retail-campaign with the best of them (he reminds me of the late Hubert Humphrey in this one aspect). And tens of millions of dollars will be spent on Walker's behalf in the air war.

That's a lot of bucks for a medium-sized state in eight months, and this money will be invested on behalf of those Charles P. Pierce calls the "the goggle-eyed homunculus hired by Koch Industries to manage their Midwest subsidiary," in his coverage, Watching Scotty Blow.

Even so, Walker is vulnerable.

But Mary Burke is not the candidate to defeat Walker, and Wisconsin Democrats are too hopelessly stuck in the yawning pit of groupthink to face or voice this fact.

Everyone needs to get on board, say the Democratic Party mavens who brought us this accelerating transformation of Wisconsin into Mississippi.

Burke campaign communications director, Joe Zepecki, employed the innovative strategy that silence is golden, unusual for a challenger with little name recognition, bound to be heavily outspent by the incumbent governor who has been running for the office for nine years.

Still time for someone, someone to get in: Barca, Vinehout, Erbenbach, Lori Compas, anybody but Burke and the campaign that can't shoot straight.

Candidates cannot circulate gubernatorial nomination papers until April 15.

Many moons ago a first-rate national political operative working as a colleague in a campaign asked me an odd question.

What are you reading, watching on TV?

"Noam Chomsky, Bertrand Russell, 1,000s of pages of stuff, I guess," I said in a tone suggesting I thought the guy might be foolish for asking.

Put away Noam and Russell. Watch three hours of prime-time TV every week. You need to get in touch with the average voter.

Getting and staying in touch. Almost daily we hear from Scott Walker throwing out a press release, signing a law, ostensibly staying in touch with Wisconsin, though anyone sentient knows he's hiding.

In the gubernatorial race between Scott Walker and Candidate X, being in touch with voters is paramount.

As the Republicans have been pumping out the most repugnant legislation against voters, veterans, and families suffering from cancer, Mary Burke had no response. Dead air. Deadly silence. [Burke did have one statement out today on the Republicans' incredibly blocking of cancer treatment.]

Not all the money in Manhattan is going make Burke an effective candidate as she is running an historically inept campaign against this most vile of opponents.

Burke is out-of-touch with the key issues animating her would-be constituents, or she may as well be as she abstains from campaigning.

Following her first TV spot on Walker and jobs, an issue no one could screw-up, Burke's team screwed up.

Scott Walker is malicious and deceitful. But Walker is lucking out again facing the do-nothing satisfice infecting the Wisconsin Democratic Party enabling the Tea Party to inflict mayhem onto the people of our state.

This race is over unless one of Walker's many scandals explodes, another candidate gets in on a long-shot bid; or Walker goes for an early-April jog on Lake Mendota without any security.

Again, there is still time for candidates to get into the race.

As for Burke she should forget electoral politics and take up bowling or watch reruns of Under the Dome.


  1. I'm not as panicked as you are, but I am concerned over the fact that Team Burke isn't blasting out how unacceptable Walker's administration is acting and how corrupt they clearly are. Why the Burke campaign is deciding they need to spend more time behind-the-scenes and meeting with local Dem members (and doing well when she does, I'll add) instead of letting casual people get to know her through ads is confusing- with no major primary opponent, why are you wasting time trying to talk to us?

    If they're just holding their fire to keep from overloading people for 7 1/2 months, I guess I get that, but now is a time they could strike and make Walker unacceptable in the minds of many casual voters, and it seems to be a missed opportunity. I do think a primary would make these people focus in, and put up or shut up.

    P.S. Walker has ZERO retail politics skills outside of the right-wing bubble. Name the last time that guy's met with anyone in an unscripted moment. Burke can win major points by meeting with casual people at events, since Mr. "Unintimidated" won't have the guts to show up there.

    1. I agree that now Walker pretends to retail campaign out of the concerns you stated, unscripted moments. However, prior to assuming the office of governor Walker did campaign heavily.

      Nichols said it best in his July 2013 piece: "In the summer of 2009, more than a year before the 2010 Wisconsin Republican primary, I went to the Walworth County Fair. There, working the grounds, was Scott Walker."

      See .

      But you're right, now the retail-campaign war outside of the GOP base is a Sitzkrieg, all the more reason for Burke to engage.

      Nothing personal against Burke; she just sucks as a politician, a defect that is destructive when Scott Walker is literally destroying our state.

  2. mal, really well done. Thank you.

    I'd love to be wrong about Burke, but I see no evidence that she's serious. She can't get quoted in the JS, much less grab a headline. If by chance she does win, it will be her unelected staff running the state. My greatest fear is that Mike Grebe (Bradley FDN) will be picking them. Hope I'm wrong.