What happened to Scott Walker? Donald Trump isn't necessarily the bad guy here. A lot of what happened was self-inflicted and some of it quite surprising even to a seasoned Scott Walker watcher like me. The finger pointing has already begun.
Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker pulled the plug on a bloated campaign that was headed into debt and was being undermined by furious donors, a warring staff and — at the root of it all — a candidate who was badly out of his league.
It gets worse.
When Walker and Wiley (campaign manager Rick Wiley) began building the campaign team in January, they made a bold, and ultimately foolhardy decision: Go big. Walker was the front-runner in Iowa polls through the spring and early summer, and he tried to capitalize on that momentum by hiring former Republican National Committee aides and Washington operatives, plus a Beltway PR firm to target conservative media, a full-time photographer and well-known consultants for outreach to evangelicals.
At the time, Walker could afford it. But as he began to fumble issues, and Donald Trump took over the race, the cash flow began to slow. Then, on the night of Walker’s mediocre performance in the first debate, Grebe warned senior staff that the campaign would need to prepare for a severe fundraising ebb — and the possibility of staff cuts.
(information in italics is my addition for clarity, bolding is mine for emphasis)
A lavish and large entourage including a full time photographer for a guy who ran past campaigns saying he was so frugal he brought his lunch in brown paper bags? Those bags, emblazoned with Walkers campaign logos were everywhere during his past campaigns as a visible symbol that he would be just as stingy with taxpayer dollars (PS: he never was).
And then there's more.
Johnson (Washington Post reporter Jenna Johnson), who starting following Walker on the campaign trail in April, wrote that it was unclear why he wanted to be president, seemed to lack an inner circle, and noted that, "For an everyman candidate, his campaign events were often elaborately staged."
information in italics is my addition, bolding is also mine
"In late July, Walker held a town hall at a family-style restaurant in Red Oak, a town with fewer than 6,000 residents in western Iowa. An advance team with a moving van of equipment arrived hours early to hang up flags, set up a sound system and arrange a stage with tiered seating to provide a backdrop of Iowans," she wrote. "Walker arrived with a large entourage: his security detail, campaign manager, personal aide, full-time campaign photographer, two Iowa-based staffers and a horde of low-level employees who handed out brochures. As he spoke for roughly an hour, one man on the stage had to shield his eyes from a bright spotlight.
Her entire article is well worth a read.
Yowsa! Walker spent money like there was no tomorrow. Despite starting out with millions in his campaign coffers, donations fell after gaffes, flip-flops, and terrible debate performances had him sliding in the polls.
Walker also didn't have his inner circle of close advisors with them. He placed them inside of his PAC and hired national political consultants instead. A pretty big flub for a guy who runs a tight ship and is well known for micromanaging.
I think he also didn't realize there's a huge difference between running a local or state campaign and a national one. In a local and state race, Walker didn't have the travel expenses he would incur with a national campaign (or easily bill them to the taxpayers using the flimsy excuse that he was out promoting Milwaukee County or the State of Wisconsin). And, with a large and lavish entourage, those expenses mount up quickly.
On top of that, here's a guy who's been heavily reliant on the spending of dark money groups, RW radio and compliant media in his campaigns. While RW radio in Wisconsin is at Walker's beck and call (he has the in studio phone numbers for all the local hosts here in Wisconsin), in the primary states they had plenty of candidates available to them and Walker faced serious competition for air time. The media in those states weren't as subservient as he was accustomed to either and the dark money groups which spend enormous sums on Walker locally and in Wisconsin also had plenty of other candidates available to them.
He was unprepared as a national candidate. Lazy about college and just as lazy about learning about national issues (which he did only AFTER declaring his candidacy), his lack of preparation showed as he made gaffe after gaffe, desperately trying to avoid questions he didn't want to answer.
In the end, he depended on his tried and true union busting record - a big hit with donors, not so much with voters who have concerns about other issues.
His bloated campaign simply ran out of cash. While appealing to big donors for his PAC (Unintimidated PAC), he failed to note that he needed smaller donors for his own campaign coffers. While his own campaign coffers were empty, his PAC had $15-20 million. According to one source, Unintimidated PAC was preparing to do something that might have raised some legal questions.
A source familiar with the campaign's final days said that the Walker loyalists running Unintimidated were considering whether the super PAC could act in a highly unusual role and take on many of the campaign's functions such as setting up events in early states. But Walker pulled out before that idea could be fully explored.
Walker might have a State Supreme Court in his pocket to declare that legal, but PACs, even highly funded ones, can't take over the functions of an actual campaign.
WHAT ARE WALKER'S FUTURE PLANS?
I'm sure he never really planned to come back to Wisconsin and serve as Governor because he saw himself in the White House. It's been his history, using each elected office as a springboard to the next and then exiting before the damage he does and the debt he's incurred become visible.
Ignoring the state he's supposed to be running has cost him dearly in the polls here, particularly after he promised in 2014 that he ONLY wanted to be Governor and wasn't going to run for President. The chaos that ensued as he was off pursuing his Presidential dreams was visible throughout the state.
As of now, if anyone can ever believe a word that passes his lips, he's claiming he wants to finish his second term as governor and won't accept a Cabinet position in Washington.
In a conference call with donors Wednesday afternoon, Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker said he'll serve out his second term, won't take a cabinet appointment in Washington, D.C., and is still considering whether to run for a third term as governor in 2018.
Nice of him to clue in his donor network after pissing them off by NOT telling them he was suspending his campaign.
Walker, who met with lawmakers in the Capitol Wednesday about the fall legislative agenda, is expected to hold an event Friday in Beaver Dam — his first since he suspended his campaign Monday. He'll concentrate on electing Republicans this fall and governing the state, he said.
Looks like Walker doing the job he's been paid to do is newsworthy these days. Bwahahahahaha!
Republicans are already talking with Walker about traveling the state in the coming days to send the message that he is back on the job, according to sources familiar with his thinking and his unsuccessful campaign for president.
"He is going to get around the state and hit all the media markets," one GOP source said.
Yes, he'll travel around the state (at taxpayer expense, of course), put his butt on a rented Harley on a few occasions to give him that "everyman" look, appeal to the masses on local RW talk radio, put on his best greasy campaign smile, wear his long sleeved blue campaign shirt with sleeves rolled up 3 times, shake a few hands with the locals and hope that everybody forgets the abject failure he has been.
RW media here is already proclaiming the victimization of Scott Walker and our traditional media will soon be back on the job polishing his image. 78% of poll respondents think Walker can't repair his image.
Will it work? Stay tuned.
For your further amusement:
I wonder if he plans on tweeting every day that he's doing the job he's paid to do?