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Conservative media marginalizing itself in Walker-Mair drama

Conservative media marginalizing itself in Walker-Mair drama

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:

[Featured Image via Mediaite]


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Circular firing squads are counterproductive.

personally I think he did the right thing and thats from someone who is lukewarm over him.
IMO she was poisonous, she created the controversy by leaking the questions to others before people at breitbart made anything about it.
she made the story all about her and by doing that showed us her liberal policies.

    bw222 in reply to dmacleo. | March 20, 2015 at 10:37 pm

    Look at the damage liberal Republicans have to recent GOP presidential candidates: Steve Schmidt, Mark and Nicolle Wallace who may have actually been moles in the McCain campaign and dozens of liberal Republicans from Stu Stevens to Mike Murphy and Kevin Madden for the Romney campaign.

    Has anyone that Murphy or Madden worked for ever won?

Henry Hawkins | March 20, 2015 at 10:22 am

I am amazed when I see conservative bloggers using tactics they rail against when liberals use them.

    Anonamom in reply to Henry Hawkins. | March 20, 2015 at 10:43 am

    Gosh, next thing you know some Republican will suggest that failing to support the “Justice for Victims of Trafficking Act” is proof that the other side supports RAPE! and SLAVERY! and KICKING PUPPIES!

    Nah. That’d never happen.

“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”.

Jaaazus, the man is a MONSTER…!!! BURN HIM…!!!

Look, a lot of this is fueled by people…some of whom I think a great deal of…who know and like this lady.

I don’t. I know and like people who are in this field who are smart…even WISE. She wasn’t.

Walker seems to be. We still have miles to go, and the woods are dark and deep.

But on the scale of issues and indicators, this is a solid “meh”.

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.


Watching this blowup over something this insignificant by conservatives is very troubling. The GOP seems to have the same problem that was found in Afghanistan. There every issue had to go before warlords before anything could be done and there was a lot of bad blood between warlords. Even though what they were discussing was eventually for their own good they could never get past their feuds with each other. This seems to be the case with the GOP. We have about five different groups and they don’t seem to be able to see the vision for the country but only their near term goals. They also seem to not understand that the voters are not as jaded as the pols because we listen and take it to be true when they speak badly of each other. How are we to enthusiastically vote for someone who has been trashed by half of the GOP candidates?

“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.”
Walker’s choice of staff is a direct reflection on Walker. The public is feeling Walker out. If Walker appoints a Lib to a major role in his campaign, it is perfectly reasonable for the public to assume the worst. Walker is allowed to make mistakes at this time. How he reacts to and learns from his mistakes are what matters. So far, so good.

    Look at all the losers Bush43 had on his staff: the Wallaces, Gonzales, Paulson, Frum, Gerson, etc., etc., etc. The people on a President’s staff play an important role and affect his/her thinking.

    “W” could really pick losers.

Fluffy Foo Foo | March 20, 2015 at 11:33 am

Why did he hire her in the first place though? It wasn’t like she was working for him for a long time. The hiring had just preceded the hiring. He didn’t know of her disdain for certain voters before he hired her?

    She probably doesn’t disdain voters, but she gave the appearance of it. In this age – reality doesn’t matter. This is the management of the press & media & perception- it is impossible to plan for all things beforehand.

    Ragspierre in reply to Fluffy Foo Foo. | March 20, 2015 at 12:03 pm

    Have you ever contemplated “dating behavior”? As I use it here, it is the tendency in all of us to present a desirable persona to a potential mate. It runs on a continuum from dressing up for a date to pretending to be someone you simply are not.

    The only way I know to overcome this phenomenon is to date someone for a protracted period, because people TEND not to be able to sustain a false front.

    The same aspect of human nature applies in the workplace, and my observation is that the higher you go up the food chain, the more pronounced the veiling of negative attributes the employee knows they possess. There is considerable artifice in executive position interviews.

    This partly explains why people…once comfortable…appear to get cocky and stupid. In reality, they WERE those things all along.

    And sometimes people really do just change.

      scfanjl in reply to Ragspierre. | March 20, 2015 at 1:28 pm

      Great point!

      Lina Inverse in reply to Ragspierre. | March 21, 2015 at 10:05 am

      Problem with that theory is that if you spent 5 minutes reading her Twitter postings for the month before she was hired anyone of sound mind could have predicted a train wreck, she’s foul mouthed and nasty.

      So Walker either didn’t personally do that due diligence, or he trusted people he shouldn’t have when appointing her to such a critical position. And that speaks to his fitness for this office.

        Ragspierre in reply to Lina Inverse. | March 21, 2015 at 4:08 pm

        I have to assume you’ve never hired anyone, or hired anyone you shouldn’t have.

        I’ve done both. Like a lot of imperfect people, I’ve found I can either vet people or I can get other, higher priority, stuff done. And, yeah, this could have been the fault of people Walker trusted to do the vetting. THAT’s how you learn who you can count on, AND how THEY learn to do better work.

        Walker WILL make mistakes. I know I would. The deal is, how he steps up and handles mistakes. I like what I’ve seen here.

Screw the “conservative media”. I’m an Iowan and was sorely offended by Mair’s comments and Walker’s hiring of her. When he removed her from his campaign it did a lot to make up for that in my eyes.

The sin is not in making a mistake. The sin is in not fixing it. Walker fixed it.

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.

And a little Bush money spread around. I said a month ago that Jeb et.el. would do their best to tear Walker to bits.

This person was fired because of job performance. They failed.

The simple fact that anyone knows her name is the evidence she has failed.

Walker is supposed to be the story. Not this flunky.

    dorsaighost in reply to iowan2. | March 20, 2015 at 4:41 pm

    for a Communication Director she seems to be pretty bad at … well communicating … good fire … bad hire … 🙂

many of these bloggers bashing Walker over this realize that they have also said some pretty stupid sh*t on Twitter and realize they are bloggers and not campaign staffers because of it … this is just their own insecurities showing thru …

Doug Wright Old Grouchy | March 20, 2015 at 4:42 pm

Ah, so now Walker is judged not to be perfect! Sinful!

Well, throw Walker overboard and bring on who? Would that have be JEB or Christie or ???

Well, at least we’ll know who the MSM prefer based on the one they do not vet because every over potential GOP candidate is going to be thoroughly examined; JEB’s fatal flaws will be kept hidden under after the GOP Convention.

She was just auditioning, albeit prematurely, for Chief of Staff.

Based on history.