I know that Scott Walker doesn't want to hear what I'm going to say. I guarantee that it won't win me any friends within the campaign or RPW, but I don't much care about that. What I care about is a conservative winning in November and getting Wisconsin back on track.
Right now, I don't think that's going to happen. The problems are best highlighted in the recent controversy over Walker and Barrett's responses to the floods in Milwaukee. I know that Walker has insisted that the county was on top of things from the start, and that's great that it was. It's also great if the county got things under control so that Walker didn't need to be there to get the cleanup underway. Unfortunately - and here's the bad news - it doesn't matter. There were homes on the verge of falling into sinkholes. Over 8 inches of rain in some places had fallen in a matter of a few hours. The county executive needed to be in the county, not on a campaign swing.
In contrast - whether it mattered in terms of getting things done or not - Tom Barrett was there all weekend, touring the damage and publicly asking for disaster relief. That's the template that now exists from the storm. Doesn't matter if it's accurate or not, it's the perception and that is all that matters. If you are an executive and your city/county is in crisis, you stay put and fix it. It's Politics 101, hell, it's Leadership 101.
And this is the problem with the Walker campaign and RPW. Barrett's campaign is running a fairly tight ship thus far. They have put forward a "plan" for the budget and have been trumpeting job creation. Their message has been very focused. Walker's messaging has been rudderless. As far as I can tell, they are more concerned with boasting about the campaign's tactical and organizational success as opposed to any type of coherent strategy or vision for the state.
I know Scott Walker and firmly believe he'd be a good governor. But Scott, you're getting bad advice. Every time you talk to the media or in public you should be talking about jobs. Every thing should come back to that single issue. Talking about taxes? We need to reform the taxes in Wisconsin to bring in more jobs. Talking about spending? Less government - or better, more efficient government - in terms of regulatory climate will make us more competitive to bring in jobs.
We have a $2.5 billion deficit for the next budget right now. You should be rolling out your own budget initiative to close that gap with specific, easy to understand cuts. I know you have people to help you on that. If no one on your campaign wants to do it, fire them and hire someone who will. Hell, I'll work cheap.
My point is this: drop the Brown Bag stuff. Ignore Mark Neumann. Focus on your vision for the state. I know you have one, we've talked about it before.
This year is a great opportunity to enact huge, positive change in the state of Wisconsin but only if we lead. The organization that the Walker campaign has put in place is impressive, but let the campaign take care of it. The candidate's job is to offer a vision; solutions for the problems we face. But we don't hear enough of it from Walker himself. All we hear is how great the campaign is doing - just look at their own press releases, most of the recent ones either tout campaign "success" or blast opponents.
With all due respect, I don't give a damn about the phone calls or lit drops last weekend. Tell me how great Wisconsin will be after 4 years of Governor Walker or how you'll reform the state to bring in good jobs. If you don't focus on that, you end up looking like you care more about the campaign and adoring fans than leading the state. We all know that Tommy Thompson loves adoring fans more than anyone else in Wisconsin politics, but he had a great knack for making it always about the state and her people. He was a cheerleader for Wisconsin, not his campaigns.
That's why people loved him and why he never lost a race. It's what Scott Walker should be doing: he should lead, not campaign. If he doesn't, Tom Barrett - regardless of whether or not he's lying through his teeth about his own "plan" for the budget - will win in November. That would be horrible for Wisconsin and put us on the road towards economic and fiscal ruin.
We are in a great position as conservatives and should win big, but you still must win with a message and vision. That message must be one of economic growth and freedom. Scott, you want us to Believe in Wisconsin again. Give us a reason. Give us a plan and make us believe you first.