Post debate gleanings

Scott Walker never finished college and managed to avoid any reference for an hour by diverting any related comment towards his children. I wonder if he thinks they should finish college once they start? How sad that Walker couldn’t capitalize on the fact that he was sitting in a Marquette facility for this event.

His drinking game line: “Like I did in Milwaukee County.”

Mark Neumann would have soused even the strongest with his line, “business 26 years.”

This defines the two candidates: career politician and that means politically experienced Walker; businessman Neumann with political experience. I have to say the non-incumbent atmosphere combined with the way Republican newcomer Ron Johnson is hammering the career politician subject in his race against Russ Feingold, it could fall Neumann’s way.

Super interesting reading can be found on either candidates’ Facebook pages. The tone from Walker’s:

Yo scott, a few of us showed up to the debate with some walker signs outside. Thanks again Nate for the sweet Scott Walker T-Shirt. Debate ended, Mark Neumann walked by, shook my hand, and said: “In 3 weeks we will all be on the same side” whatever that means???

(Frightening the gentlemen doesn’t understand Neumann’s class, huh? And if I remember correctly, that free t-shirt is a violation of the state’s campaign laws.)

Please Neumann, for the sake of the State, back off by supporting Walker!

(Guess he’s not going to get his way.)

Here was a fascinating idea from someone’s page who supports Neumann:

If those buddies live in Milwaukee County, ask them… “How can you vote to send Walker to Madison, leaving the MKE County Exec. seat left wide open for the likes of Lee Holloway? No matter what Walker saves, Holloway will take away in County Property Taxes.” … See the blank “uh oh” look on their face and try not to laugh.

(I hadn’t considered that one. So Walker’s ambition is going to leave Milwaukee County to drop off into Lake Michigan.)

And from Neumann’s Facebook page:

you are very wise Mark Neumann, but, but 26 years in business just isn’t enough for me. If only you had 27 years in business. Oh well.

(Like I mentioned before, maybe you could back off that phrase a wee bit.)

I’m leaning Neumann, and that’s no surprise. You’ll have to watch the debate for yourself to see what you think.

I’d be remiss not to thank WISN and the incredible Mike Gousha for the air time and effort. Gousha has found his place in the world, that’s for sure. The format the station chose with all the outposts really gave this a statewide feel.

Excellent work.


  1. My daughter and I were discussing the debate and she commented on the numerous ’26 yrs in business’ quote frequency also. I thought perhaps that ultimately the repetition made for an advantage (intended or not) for Neumann because that and the book ‘promos’ were posted numerous times on Walker’s facebook wall, mocking Neumann. The end result, from my perspective? Everyone, even Walker supporters, have it pounded into their heads that Mark Neumann has a vast more amount of real experience in the world than Scott Walker. As my daughter said (so true) it is like those ‘Head On’ commercials from a while back….annoying but your remember it. Could be Neumann is on to something.

  2. Yes, RL, the repetition is indeed one way of driving home the message. Sooner or later, just by talking about Neumann’s 26 years in business, someone will smack themselves in the forehead and get it – He’s the real thing in a sea of career politicians.

    Here’s something I thought of yesterday: Why reward Walker for all of his failures? From poor facilities to the trouble at the Mental Health Center, he’s proven he can’t administer effectively. Only a life-long bureaucrat like Walker would think he deserves to be promoted with his resume.

  3. I somewhat understand how Walker would feel he ‘deserves’ the upgrade for his failures – – how would he know differently? He has no scope of experience. What I don’t get is how some of his brighter (I am now suspicious of their intellect and character, I do admit) and more business-savvy supporters can intellectually align with this guy and his obvious lack of executive ability.

    You make a frightening observation about endorsing and rewarding Walker’s failures. A resume in a downward spiral like his should not get a promotion, especially in this economy. Especially as governor.

  4. BrkfldDad says:

    Neither candidate ‘wow’ed me last night. If anything I thought Neumann looked nervous. I can’t remember the exact context of the question (it was about the 2011 tax deferral), but Neumann said 3-4 times the ’26 years in business, I understand real estate tax’ line in his answer (and it was one of the ones that Gousha pushed for brevity!). Plus, he started stumbling over it. Sort of surprised me, he does have that monotone/unemotional delivery, but that seemed sort of forced and nervous. Anyway, neither moved me off the fence.

  5. Yep, you mentioned that already on another post.

    So, by what criterion will you decide? I kind of doubt you’ll be voting the Democratic side of the primary ticket, bdad. I suppose you could always wait it out until November.

  6. BrkfldDad says:

    No Barrett vote here.

    Honestly, I need to spend more time reading Neumann’s book, and Walker’s position papers/statements. I really don’t feel comfortable with either gentleman, and my real fear is that Barrett is one heck of a sleeper that could take out either. When either speaks, I never get that ‘trust’ feeling. Maybe I’ll write Ron Johnson in for Governor 🙂

  7. Bdad – you know it’s a free download, right? I’ll confess, as a junkie it seemed rather simplistic. I suspect you’ll have the same response. You’ll just have to remember that darn it, we’re different. He did a good job conveying the details as long as we aren’t the intended audience.


    political history in Wisconsin tells that a milwaukee-person cannot be elected to state office. this has been somewhat dispelled but is still an issue. astute pols can correct me but i think this is still a contention. an election between 2 milw. oriented people would be against the grain.

  9. Considering that most the population of Wisconsin lives out side of the Milwaukee area, and are marginally aware of Barrett or Walker, I think you are correct in your assumption, Dick. Add to that the fact that Barrett is a Dem and voters are sick of Doyle, that Walker’s name has become synonymous with scandal in MC, and that they are both career politicians, I’d say Neumann has a pretty good profile for winning the race.

  10. BrkfldDad says:

    The dynamic has really change for this election, though, as for the first time in generations, there’s a reasonable chance a conservative could carry Milwaukee County. Outstate’s conservative base was unable to defeat the Milwaukee/Dane County liberal vote and push a conservative to victory. It’s all in play this year. And, in the case of a Milwaukee candidate, I am straining to remember any truly strong/viable candidate for governor that came out of the Milwaukee area anyway. Someone, refresh my memory!

  11. The Lorax says:

    I don’t think Milwaukee County will go red. That’s a losing man’s bet.

  12. I agree with The Lorax. No GOP candidate will will win in Milwaukee. Statistically improbable. Logically unlikely that Walker can get any lift in numbers with his recent mismanagement escapades, and the primary is still two weeks away. Who knows what other Walker debacle will surface in that time.

  13. BrkfldDad says:

    I wouldn’t take the bet, but to so easily dismiss the possibility is naive. Walker, a Republican, has won election/re-election, easily, in Milwaukee County, I believe the last time by over 15 points. I may be wrong, but I can’t recall a conservative candidate that has ever been seated in that position. His recent escapades, had they any impact would have shown significantly in the recent polls. They have not. In previous elections he’s faced similar concerns (decimation of the park systems, etc…). Milwaukeean’s have long term memory, and nothing incenses them more, nor resonates stronger and seems to be a repeating message than the pension scandal. Walker’s problems, great as they are, never seem to ‘stick’. Statewide, and more so in Milwaukee, the antics of Doyle and the state legislature have irked the voting population. Barrett unfortunately gets tagged with that group.

    While I won’t take the bet, unless someone shows me some other compelling reason, I still say Milwaukee County is a toss-up. Heck, even if a conservative doesn’t win the County, if it’s a close race, then all bets for the ‘norm’ are out the window.

    I’m still intrigued by the Judge’s claim that political history shows no one from Milwaukee is electable to a state office. Has there ever been a viable Milwaukee candidate for governor, not looking for some token Milwaukee candidate, but one who on the surface had the strength, funding and support to win, but was defeated by out state votes?

  14. B-Dad. You realize the last poll that had Neumann gaining and Walker dropping in percentages (Neumann now leads over Walker in a face-off against Barrett) was taken the night before the debate (Neumann appears to have won it) and also a few days prior to the nastiest information surfacing in the Mental Health scandal? In reading your post, you seem to be making an attempt at coy logic, I don’t know if you support Walker or not, but that is the conclusion I am coming to. IF you do take a bet on it, I’m in. There is absolutely no way Walker is taking the vote over Barrett in Milwaukee, and I think Neumann has stronger voter support out side of Milwaukee. Who knows what other scandals will hit the news before the primary. The goodwill of people accepting Walker’s failures has flat-lined.

    I think the comment made by Dick S. referred to 2 candidates being from Milwaukee in an election. I am far from an expert in politics, but my guess is that 2 candidates from Milwaukee make for a far worse electability outcome for either.

  15. BrkfldDad says:

    Nope, no coy logic at all, just looking at it factually without emotion. As I’ve said before I am on the fence between Walker and Neumann.

    If you look at the polls, while support between all candidates has shifted nearly every poll, I believe Walker’s numbers are statistically (within the margin of error) the same as they were from the start of the poll. Translation, support for him has not statistically waivered. The next poll will be interesting.

    I personally think the reaction to the mental health scandal is minimal compared to the O’Donnell Park tragedy. Staffing issues aside, don’t forget it was Walker who proposed buying St. Michaels Hospital and remodeling it as the new location for the Mental Health Complex, but the supervisors rejected it. His campaign will pull out that card and claim how the supervisors vote resulted in the now substandard facilities and an increased burden to County taxpayers for the new complex now supported. If so, ‘Teflon Scott’ sees minimal impact again.

    We will see. If there were any other major scandals I am thinking they’d have all ready broken.

    That all said, I do believe Neumann has the momentum and is probably more electable.

    So back to the Judge’s point, if the final election is between two Milwaukee candidates, I’d say the electability outcome of a Milwaukee candidate is pretty good! 🙂

  16. BrkfldDad. OK, you seem like a good guy, so I am going to trust that you are undecided between Neumann and Walker.

    I am most curious as to what you see as a major positive factor in supporting Walker. Is it the perceived electability you are describing from Milwaukee County voters?
    Is it his leadership? His honesty? His ability to deflect scandal time after time? I don’t mean to be cheeky, I just can’t fathom a strength in electability with Walker, because I contend that Walker (or any GOP, although I wouldn’t be surprised with a Neumann surge in the city due to his business background and exemplary work with his inner city school system) will not ‘win’ the urban centers of Milwaukee or Madison. The contest will be won outside of those areas. I’ve heard Neumann address these statistics twice, and his strategy makes sense (he is the math whiz) , based on his experience in an extremely state-wide, highly competitive race against Feingold. I get the sense Neumann really knows those numbers and Walker and his campaign are clueless as to the statistical measures and projections or are blindly relying on a Milwaukee area win. We will just have to wait and see if my ‘instinct’ or your ‘logic’ prevails.

    As for Walker’s past campaigns, I would add my observation that his contests were parochial in scope; he has never been in a highly-contested state-wide race. His metal has never truly been tested outside of MC. Neumann has the chops to go against the Dem machinery and not be unhinged. Your reference to the last election and out-state conservatives not being able to swing the election of a conservative guv has logical flaws in the assumption that it was a lack of numbers of out-state conservative voters that swayed that election to Doyle. Two things brought Doyle in, 1) a weak GOP candidate (we would commit a repeat of this with Walker, I believe) and Barak Obama. It was not statistical weakness of voters in outlying areas of Milwaukee. It was a bad showing that year for conservatives. This time around, I think the anti-politician wave is in play. That means Barrett and Walker are perceived as the same, and both being from Milwaukee does not help the define either.
    Agreed, I think the only way you’ll get a Milwaukee guv is IF both candidates are from Milwaukee, you are safe on that bet. 🙂

  17. BrkfldDad says:

    Want my honest opinion 🙂

    I liken this Republican primary to Clinton/Dole – I don’t want to vote for either, but I’ve got to choose one.

    I find them so similar it’s disturbing to me. I don’t particularly like Walker, but I don’t find Neumann to be any dynamo either. Neumann has some good fresh ideas, but putting them into action worries me. I do like that Walker has the executive experience, and frankly I look at the governor’s position as one that, like the county executive, is so reliant upon your support staff and elected regional officials, that you really don’t wield ultimate power. I like the line item veto in Walker’s hands rather than Neumann’s.

    I don’t think Walker is relying on the Milwaukee win, that’s why he did the fake state tours to promote Milwaukee County, when in reality they were just pre-gubernatorial promos.

    I still sting from Walker pulling out of the Governor’s race 4 years ago. But to confuse me even more I sat at a Brookfield fundraiser for him, and the keynote speaker, major cheerleader and primo endorser that evening was none other than Mark Neumann.

    In some respects for me it’s coming down to smarts (Neumann) vs. savvy (Walker) and who I think will surround themselves with top-notch statewide staff and be able to work with what I hope is a conservative majority in the Legislature. Neither side is a winner yet in my mind.

    On the reference to Doyle, perhaps my message was confusing. What I meant to convey was that if the Democrat (as they normally do) takes Dane and Milwaukee counties, then out-state conservatives must sway the election to the Republican side, which is nearly impossible to do. I haven’t been able to find a breakdown of the election results, but even with an anti-conservative wave (which wasn’t as strong in ’06 as it was for the cycle in ’08 of Obama/Congress) I’d be willing to bet that Doyle’s margin out-state was not as large as it was in Dane/Milwaukee counties.

  18. Thank you for your thoughts, B-D. Gives me some insight as to why one would support Walker, as I for one can’t find a good cause for such a decision. 🙂

    So, not to beat the drum endlessly, but you see both GOP guys as equal in character and true-to-their word reliability?

    I would argue with you on executive management qualities/experience. What I hear (from those who are more familiar with Walker’s style — I can’t bring myself to call it ‘management’, sorry) is that his only skill is appointing dept. heads who are supposed experts, and telling them to cut their budgets. Period. No executive communication skills, idea/solution development, team development, leadership skills, just point and cut management. No unequivocal evidence of bringing real jobs to the county, or solutions beyond cutting in this economic downturn.

    Conversely, I see Neumann as a true executive leader. He has shown that in his years in Congress, in his development of the private schools and in the success of his company during these difficult economic times. He has a bit of a genuine realness to him that I find refreshing and compelling in a candidate (as opposed to your reference to Walker’s electable determining quality: being savvy). I actually liked Neumann more for his tentative nerves at the beginning of the debate, and as a voter was repulsed by Walker’s pandering political ploy of ‘call outs’ to his ‘friends’ across the state. That was demeaning. And uncomfortable to watch.

    I think I know someone who can research the election results — are you saying ’06?, not ’08 is representative of this upcoming primary?

  19. Randy in Richmond says:

    Brkfld Dad
    I’m confused. How do out of state conservatives sway an election in Wisconsin ? I know about endorsements and political favors–is that what you are speaking of ?

  20. Randy. Sorry for the confusion…I may have also used the term in reference to voters in areas not near Milwaukee and Madison, the two urban centers. As in ‘out in the state’ as opposed to ‘out of state’.

  21. BrkfldDad says:

    RL has it right, out-state, not out of state. In WI when the vote is tallied, the blue urban centers of Dane County and Milwaukee County on their own often swing an election to the candidate that wins the majority of votes in those counties. Out-state voters are those outside of those two counties.

  22. DICK STEINBERG says:

    right. milwaukee and dane counties are the votes needed to win by a decent margin. milw. mayor henry maier decided not to run because of the milwaukee stigma upstate. a number of milwaukee pols in the past could not be elected to lt. governor.