Tuesday, November 17, 2009

The State House Comes to Milwaukee

1. Barring some unseen development, it seems highly likely that two Milwaukeeans will square off in the race for Governor. Very few Governors have been from Milwaukee. The last, I believe, was Julius Heil, elected in 1938. And there were few before then.

2. This seems to me like an unusual matchup of two relatively personable and "cool" (in the McLuhan sense of being less obvious and more detached from the fray) candidates. Folks like Doyle, Loftus, Chvala, Garvey and even the garrulous Thompson were much more combative and tempermentally partisan. Going negative will be a challenge for both these guys.

3. It may be that the winner will have to be perceived as "from Milwaukee" but not "of Milwaukee," i.e., not associated with the more general view of Milwaukee as being a ungovernable and unsafe morass. Both candidates will have something to say on this, but, given what I expect will be the salience of fiscal issues, I suspect that Walker has the early advantage.

11 comments:

Jay Bullock said...

Going negative will be a challenge for both these guys.
The last few days suggest it seems to have come easy for Walker, actually.

Seth said...

Jay beat me to the comment, so I'll leave some examples: here and here (see the video, in particular).

Who do you suppose should get credit for coming up with the nickname for Barrett, the Walker camp or the RPW?

Seth said...

I should add, though, that your "going negative will be a challenge for both" comment was a nice attempt at undercutting Barrett's persona as a nice guy (amplified in real terms by the State Fair incident this summer) by claiming he and Walker are the same on that point.

But, on a related note, I'm not buying the backing away of Thompson's allies from Neumann as a sign they don't think taking on Walker is worth it, as Bruce Murphy is suggesting this week. I think Thompson fundamentally disagrees with Walker's brand of far right fiscal conservatism, and it wouldn't surprise me if he joins the race if/when Neumann pulls out in the next 2-3 months.

George Mitchell said...

Jay recently said


"As noted here previously, Tom Barrett has spent much of the last few months--and any number of Democrats have on his behalf--dumping on Milwaukee by slandering and demanding control of the Milwaukee Public Schools."

Is that going negative? I think not. No more than it is negative for Walker to differentiate himself from Barrett on taxes.

Stating a strong view is not "going negative."

Seth said...

Stating a strong view is not "going negative."

Coming up with a nickname for someone as a means for mockery isn't stating a strong view on an issue, George, and neither is the suggestion that Barrett doesn't really want to be governor b/c he only announced one year before the general.

There's a difference between drawing distinctions on issues in a fashion based on discourse (e.g., Scott Walker has presented a 2010 county budget that the non-partisan Public Policy Forum has characterized as unrealistic, unbalanced, and ham-stringing for the county board) and using campaign tactics designed to deride an opponent (e.g., Spinster Scottie and his one-trick-pony ways has been too busy running for governor since 2004 to truly invest time in and engage others on the issues facing the county he was elected to serve).

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