By Sean Parnell
Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker, one of the contenders for the Republican nomination in 2016, has survived three tough campaigns in four years. Over at RealClearPolitics.com, Heather Wilhelm has an interesting observation regarding Walker and how he somehow manages to bring out the worst in his opponents:
Imagine that I’m a political consultant. This week, my clients, who are all government employees, are hopping mad about cuts in their state’s spending.
“Don’t worry, folks,” I tell them, muttering something random about “optics” and “externalities,” which is the oldest political consultant trick in the book. “Here’s the plan. Gather a group of about 100 protestors, invade a quiet residential neighborhood, and shout through bullhorns at the governor’s house!”
Talk about winning hearts and minds! Lest you doubt, the plan gets even better. Having forgotten that the governor lives in the state governor’s mansion, not his old house—details, details—my gullible group of protestors will actually be bellowing at a house where the governor’s elderly parents live, all alone!
“Wow, you’re a terrible political consultant,” you’re probably thinking. “That’s laughably bad advice.” You’re right. It is. And yet, this week, this exact scenario unfolded in suburban Milwaukee, Wis. Incensed by spending cuts, demonstrators bombarded a house where Gov. Scott Walker’s parents, both in their mid-70’s, currently reside…
The protest, in other words, was the definition of bad optics. More importantly, it reflected the strange, resilient genius of Scott Walker. Somehow, wherever the Wisconsin governor goes, and whatever he does, he manages to bring out—and highlight—the worst of the political left.
Those who have followed Walker’s career know this is nothing new. Over the past four years, he has won three political races in a largely blue state, including a contentious union-led recall effort. Things often got ugly. At January’s Iowa Freedom Summit, Walker described how left-leaning labor activists threatened to “gut” his wife “like a deer.” Walker’s victories in this hostile environment—with progressive groups devoting major resources to try to take him down—have gained him major buzz as a GOP frontrunner for 2016…
Getting your opponents so enraged they discredit themselves is certainly an asset as a politician, although of course it’s going to take a lot more than that for Walker to win the nomination and the White House in 2016. But it’s an interesting take Wilhelm has, and worth reading the whole thing.