With the goal of encouraging a dialog with the citizens of Wisconsin while presenting specific plans to address job creation and economic development, gubernatorial candidate Mark Neumann today challenged his primary election opponent to a series of town-hall style joint appearances that cover every Congressional district by March 31, 2010.In one sense, it's a clever move. This is an old tactic -- if Neumann can be seen frequently with Walker, he gains legitimacy; he's presented as an equal opponent, not as second-stringer. And as such, Walker had exactly no reason to accept. But it's clear where Neumann was going with this: trying to paint Walker as the Milwaukee candidate, someone who doesn't give a rip about the rest of the state.
But even still, it's a weak move, and betrays desperation on Neumann's part. The man has run out of ideas -- ideas that were thin in the first place. His announcement was all about using technology to lower costs to the state, and thereby save money. It all seemed a bit mystical to me -- a lot of hand-waving about the magic of technology; it makes no appearance on his official bit about taxes on his site. Instead we get a lecture about economics, and no concrete solutions.
Contrast that with Walker, who lists five concrete steps he'd take to lower the budget. When you've got actual plans, and have them listed, there's no need to legitimate your opponent by appearing with him. There's no need to distract from you campaign, to take time off from your battle plan to play with your opponent. There's no need to take time to debate ad-nauseam, letting your opponent figure out live which responses hurt you best. Walker got that, and Neumann is looking increasingly desperate.