Turning Scott Walker from hero to zero because of staffing decision.
Liz Mair resigned or was effectively fired by Scott Walker’s SuperPAC from her role as communications strategist after some controversial tweets came to light in which she trashed the Iowa caucus process and arguably Iowans. That her policy positions also were more liberal than Walker’s factored into the mix.
I wrote about this yesterday in explaining why I was Not outraged over Scott Walker and Liz Mair.
The reaction from much of the conservative media to Mair’s apparent firing was a full-blown freak out stoked, in part, by personal and professional friendships with Mair.
Hot Air’s Quotes of the Day yesterday is a compilation of conservative media trashing Walker over Mair, with some gloating by liberal media over the in-fighting. Twitchy has more reaction under the headline, Conservatives react to Liz Mair resignation: Is Scott Walker ‘ready for prime time’?
There is a consistent theme — that Walker has shown he is untrustworthy because he didn’t stand by Mair, that Walker is tough on the opposition but weak in defending friends, and that Walker has irreparably damaged his presidential candidate credentials in the process.
The concern trolling is intense, like this at Mediaite:
What happens when you hire a communications expert to help with outreach to prominent conservatives only to let her go because the fringes take issue with her? Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker and his team are learning the hard way that it only serves to alienate those you need most….
Indeed, by firing Liz Mair — yes, she “resigned” on her accord, but let’s call it what it is — Walker’s team undid the exact thing they set out to do by hiring her in the first place: Reach out to prominent conservatives and focus on expanding his message to a broader audience.
Good luck recovering from that.
(Added) More high-level concern trolling from left-wing The Guardian in Britain, which of course only has the interests of conservatives in mind when it declares Walker all but dead in the water:
In a whirlwind 24 hours that saw him hire and then quickly lose a well-respected digital strategist, the Wisconsin governor and presidential contender Scott Walker went out of his way to appease Iowa Republicans – and in doing so may have damaged his role as a darling of the conservative media….
No political operative or staffing decision can determine the fate of an entire campaign, but this kerfuffle may prove to deeply damage Walker. His entire brand has been built around his willingness to pick hard fights without blinking – even his campaign biography is titled “Unintimidated”. But giving in to [Jeff Kaufman, chair of the Republican party of Iowa] criticism undermines that strength and risks his looking like yet another pandering politician to fellow conservatives.
The conservative media reaction sounds to me like the liberal attack on Walker that he didn’t graduate college. It is the type of argument that works only within a certain bubble.
Walker has an explanation that makes perfect sense, If you’re on our team, ‘you need to respect the voters’:
Speaking in South Carolina Thursday, Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker alluded indirectly to the recent departure of a communications aide he had brought onto his political team after she had drawn fire over tweets she sent about Iowa, an early presidential state.
“One of my clear rules is, if you’re going to be on our team, whether on the paid staff or a volunteer, what I always say is you need to respect the voters,” Mr. Walker said in Greenville, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reported. “Because, really, if you think about campaigns, it’s not about the candidate or the staff. It’s about the voter. It’s about how to help people’s lives be better.
“One of the things I’ve stressed … in the last few days as I’ve looked at the possibility of running is you have my firm commitment that I’m going to focus on making sure that the people on my team, should we go forward, are people who respect voters,” Mr. Walker continued.
This all may be terribly unfair to Mair. And I truly mean no disrespect by taking a contrarian view.
But the campaign is not about Mair, it’s about larger issues of changing the course of the country in ways that Walker has accomplished in Wisconsin. Walker needs to do a better job vetting new hires that keep consistent with his message and his strategy.
Voters should vote on Walker, not his staff.
Mair and her supporters have explanations for the tweets, just as Mitt Romney had an explanation for his 47% remark. None of them are persuasive in the context of a putative presidential campaign in which any Republican has to overcome decades of liberal media bias which has conditioned voters to believe that Republicans hate voters.
At CPAC in early March, Walker was a hero. Now Walker’s apparently a zero to much of conservative media.
Conservative media friends, you are wrong on this one.
UPDATE: We have now reached peak concern trolling:
— EJ Dionne (@EJDionne) March 20, 2015
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