Over at Right Wisconsin, I wrote about some of the legal issues presented by what appears to be an intentionally false ad ran by the Mary Burke campaign. Since I wrote, Politifact (certainly not in response) rated the ad as "false." As a First Amendment absolutist, I am not about to call for anyone to be prosecuted. While I think it's too simple to say that there is a constitutional right to lie, I think that the circumstances under which the state can punish or restrict political speech because it is false should be essentially nonexistent.
But the voters can take notice and what bothered me about the Burke ad is that it attacked Walker's character. It's one thing to lie or mislead about the budget, jobs, abortion and equal pay - Burke and her allies have done all of that - it's another to lie about your opponent as a person. It strikes me as a more serious form of sin.
The other thing that is noteworthy is the frequency with which one is able to point out that Walker attack ads are simply not true. No, Walker didn't abolish "equal pay" laws. We don't have a budget deficit. Job creation is not "worse" during the Walker administration (just the opposite if fact). Walker and the legislature have not mandated transvaginal ultrasounds.
What type of Governor would Mary Burke be if she thinks this type of thing is OK?
Some of this is undoubtedly the residue of Saul Alinsky's odious philosophy for the political left. If one is head over heels self righteous about using the coercive authority of the state to promote equality or some notion of fairness, hum drum concerns about things like honesty and intellectual integrity seem like fiddling while Rome burns - roadblocks to the revolution.
But I think that some of it is Mary Burke. I doubt that she is a bad person and I understand that politics ain't bean bag. But the larger problem is not what she does but that she is simply not there. She seems not only like an empty vessel, but a spectator of, rather than participant in, her own campaign. There is no there there and some pretty bad things have filled the vacuum.
Of course, what kind of governor Mary Burke will be doesn't matter. As recent polls have shown, no one is voting for her. They are voting for or against Scott Walker. But here's the thing.
If Walker loses, we get Burke. How can anyone be comfortable with that? The best thing that could happen for the Democrats in this state is for her to lose. She will be a disaster that will lead to a Governor Vos, Fitzgerald Duffy or Vukmir in 2018. (I chose those names randomly so no offense intended for anyone else.) That GOP victory won't be permanent, but it may last for quite some time.
Cross posted at Purple Wisconsin