Ladies and gentlemen, we are in for a long campaign season.
It’s only March, and we’re already getting ridiculous articles like this one, which attempts to criticize gubernatorial candidate Scott Walker for buying meals using privately-raised campaign funds for himself, staffers, and supporters. I’m not supporting any specific candidate, so let me add that this article would be preposterous if it were about Mark Neumann, if it were about Tom Barrett, if it were about Russ Feingold, or whomever. (They’re still talking about the epic roast beef sandwich Feingold ate on the campaign trail in 1992. Turned his whole campaign around.)
Let’s just take the most obvious points first:
Walker has been running his campaign for governor for about 18 months – his competitors, Mark Neumann and Tom Barrett, have been running theirs for about six months apiece. So it should shock no one that Walker has spent more money on food and beverages.
Secondly, Walker’s message of frugality deals with the use of public funds – the article states so right there in the first paragraph:
“Republican Scott Walker wants supporters of his campaign for governor to join his “brown bag movement” to show how serious he is about cutting government waste and spending.”
Clearly, campaign funds are privately raised from donors – so it’s a completely different type of expenditure. How Walker spends his campaign money is really between him and the people who have donated money to his campaign.
And it appears almost all of that food and drink spending is either for his campaign workers or to hold fundraisers in order to raise even more money. I would bet somewhere in the vicinity of 100% of Walker’s donors would be okay with his campaign using their money to hold events to raise money from even more people. It may shock the press to know that it takes money to raise money – primarily for overhead for campaign events.
What’s perhaps even most ridiculous is the quote from “good government expert” Jay Heck, who suddenly has become an expert on how Walker should spend his privately raised funds. It’s laughable that Heck is somehow looking out for Walker’s donors. Keep in mind – Heck advocates for taxpayer financing of campaigns, meaning he’d be much happier if Walker was buying his staff sandwiches with your tax money, and not from private sources.
I would have loved to be in the meeting where they cooked up this idea to “expose” Walker’s “hypocrisy.” I know newspapers are having staffing troubles, but there had to at least be someone around to do even the most cursory fact checking.
And, course, what does any of this have to do with how a candidate is going to create jobs or balance the budget? Nothing.
March 15, 2010 at 9:38 pm
You know, the Walker campaign brought this on themselves. They used a recycled direct mail gimmick (http://www.scmassoc.com/hall-of-fame.html), saw some fundraising results,got all excited like a bunch of College Republicans running their first campaign, and are trying to build some kind of movement around it with a gimmicky and shallow website. It is crass and silly advertising more suited to selling tennis shoes than presenting a statesman to the voting public for consideration. It startles me a bit that they seem to think people wont see through it. It just so mercenary… unnecessarily so.
I swear, Neumann’s campaign is making more and more sense every day.
March 17, 2010 at 7:19 pm
Really, I don’t understand how a “recycled” gimmick and a shallow website equates to sloppy, biased journalism. Josh stated “the Walker campaign brought this on themselves”. It appears as if Josh and the biased reporters both have their own personal agendas…good luck with that!
March 18, 2010 at 1:27 am
I really don’t have an agenda. But if I did, Im not a reporter, so thats quite OK. I am a conservative Republican who is tired of my party shooting itself in the foot then crying about how mean the media is when it blows up in their face. I agree the journalism is sloppy and biased. Do we not expect this by now? Do we really have to give them more ammo by doing silly nonsense like this? Its my opinion that this silly brown bag insta-movement is beneath us. I actually appreciate a lot of what the Walker campaign has been able to accomplish. Still might vote for him in the primary. This amateur hour campaign has me concerned though. I just hope in the future they will stick to the issues and leave the silly advertising gimmicks in Ohio. Funny how the Walker campaign always seems to misstep when they outsource stuff out of state.