I don’t know Liz Mair. I had heard her name before, and apparently she is friends with a lot of conservative bloggers who speak highly of her.
Mair was hired by Scott Walker’s nascent presidential PAC to handle communications.
Then it came out that Mair trashed the Iowa caucuses and arguably some Iowa Republicans on Twitter.
Then some people in the Iowa Republican Party started to make a stink about that, and it was written up in The Des Moines Register, and all of the sudden, Mair was a campaign issue.
At the same time, Mair came under attack because of her more liberal policy preferences, particularly on immigration. Matt Boyle at Breitbart.com took it one step further, and questioned Mair’s dual citizenship, a true WTF line of inquiry.
As someone handling communications for a campaign, it’s never good when you are the campaign issue because of what you have communicated, or for your own personal policy preferences.
Mair resigned, it being unclear at this writing if she was effectively fired or if she recognized that her primary role had been compromised by her own actions and took the step herself:
Veteran Republican strategist Liz Mair told The Associated Press that she was leaving Walker’s team just a day after she had been tapped to lead his online communication efforts, citing the distraction created by a series of recent Twitter posts about Iowa’s presidential caucuses.
“The tone of some of my tweets concerning Iowa was at odds with that which Gov. Walker has always encouraged in political discourse,” Mair said in a statement announcing her immediate resignation. “I wish Gov. Walker and his team all the best.”
It’s not that big a deal in the grand scheme of a campaign: Staffer falls on sword placed there by staffer’s own conduct.
I expect that Mair feels bitter about it, and maybe I would too if I knew her personally.
But I don’t know many people involved in Republican politics, which I think is an advantage in evaluating this controversy. I just don’t think it’s that big a deal when a campaign makes a bad hire or a good hire gone bad. Move on, don’t let the issue consume all the oxygen.
Yet now we have outrage that this incident should be the death of Walker’s campaign despite everything he has accomplished for the conservative movement and the excitement he has brought to the electorate.
Betsy Woodruff at Slate notes that several leading conservative commentators, including Erick Erickson and Jonah Goldberg, came to Mair’s defense and criticized her ostensible firing.
Michael Brendan Dougherty at The Week has a hyperbolic post titled Scott Walker, the gutless wonder of the 2016 presidential race:
Sometimes the most inside-baseball political stories tell you something essential about a presidential candidate. That’s what happened this week to Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, who apparently wants to win the Iowa caucuses so badly that he’s willing to torch his staff and his reputation to do it.
Sorry, not buying in on that meme.
Maybe it was a mistake for Walker’s PAC to part ways with Mair if that’s how it went down.
But it’s way too much inside baseball, to use Dougherty’s term, to claim that this is a blow to Walker’s reputation or larger campaign.
Unless some people want that to be the outcome.
Walker has a long way to go before he establishes himself as worthy of the nomination. There will be many more real controversies and contrived fauxtroversies along they way, it’s the way things go.
In the meantime, Walker defeated everything the Democrats were able to throw at him in three elections in four years, has stared down the power of Democratic prosecutors in two John Doe investigations, eviscerated powerful public sector unions, and just signed right-to-work legislation.
I’m more interested in those accomplishments and Walker’s policies than in staffing issues.
Update: The anti-Walker messaging is eerily consistent across the board on the Mair deal, trying to push a meme that it’s a sign Walker will roll over to D.C. special interests. This from Tim Carney at The Washington Examiner:
The pattern is this: Scott Walker will stand up and fight the special interests, if they’re already his sworn political enemies. But when he gets pushed around by a political power broker, or a well-heeled lobby group that’s “on our side,” Walker rolls over.
Many conservatives first sensed this pattern in January when Walker, a former staunch opponent of ethanol mandates, travelled to the Iowa Ag Forum and said he wanted to keep the ethanol mandate until the alcohol-based fuel was on a more equal footing with gasoline. (Read: forever.)
Walker confirmed this suspicion Tuesday night when he fired Liz Mair, the campaign advisor he had just hired….
This pattern is so damning of Walker, because there’s no way we can expect it to end with Iowa. He rolls over for the special interests on “our side,” which is exactly the problem with today’s GOP writ large.
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