As I read this article, I took in the quotes and the arguments about the Wisconsin Republican gubernatorial primary.
But the whole time...something kept flitting through the back of my mind. I kept revisiting the caption of the story's photograph.
Why did Mark Neumann bring a gun to the airport?
While it was only a conference room at Austin Strabel Airport in Green Bay, it still struck me as odd. Why would you hold a campaign event at an airport when you sought to criticize your opponent's concealed carry stance by wielding your grandfather's 1899 Savage .303? Sure, the Second Amendment is a significant issue - especially since the Supreme Court will hand down a case any week now that will likely tell us whether we have an individual right against the states to bear arms. Sure, Neumann likely posed no threat to anyone.
But at a very basic level, legal considerations aside, our country knows from recent history that weapons and airports don't mix.
The move seemed emblematic of the Neumann campaign's ongoing lack of wisdom in how it went about its attacks - on an opponent who had essentially locked up the state party base long before Neumann even entered the race. He's launched several attacks on Walker that I would never have expected from a member of the same party.
Bringing up Walker's vote years ago against concealed carry is, in a vacuum, a legitimate point of contention that should be up for debate and discussion. But as with most of his attempts along the way, Neumann misfired. The firearm he brought to the airport certainly isn't concealable - at least not for most normal people. His mention of the state's hunting tradition also has little to do with concealed carry. And the general salvo on concealed carry comes so late in the game that I wonder why Neumann took so long to bring it up.
Don't get me wrong. I have nothing against Neumann's posing with the gun in isolation. My grandfather, a resident of Brown County, has a collection of antique firearms that I find quite engrossing - my favorite is an old Turkish camel-mounted musket from the 1800s.
It's just that when a candidate makes an unwise move that sets me wondering about his judgment...after he lost the statewide party endorsement by a landslide...it's far more difficult to dismiss the statement by Walker's campaign manager that this is an act of desperation.