Walker increasingly surrenders his jobs hype in favor of misogyny | WisCommunity

Walker increasingly surrenders his jobs hype in favor of misogyny

It's becoming increasingly clear as the campaign for governor proceeds that Scott Walker's got nothing. At least,
nothing besides tens of millions of campaign dollars and a willingness to bend reality in his bid to win another term as governor. Here's how you can tell:

After nearly two weeks of flogging the issue, Walker's campaign is still busy running lots of ads attacking opponent Mary Burke on the specious charge that "she" willfully and personally "plagiarized" language in a economic development policy paper written by a campaign consultant. Meanwhile, Burke's gender is precisely why Walker is now also running an ad featuring a domestic abuse survivor who says she supports the Republican incumbent.

Philosophically, objectively and to some extent strategically, Walker -- the self-proclaimed Wisconsin tea-party original -- already has lost, and Democratic challenger Burke already has won. That's because Walker's "we're creating jobs" meme hasn't gained traction, thanks in part to Burke ads pointing out his dismal performance over the past four years. Those ads of course are accompanied by plenty of objective facts confirming that same dismal result.

So, Team Walker lately has downplayed the jobs issue in his advertising. Instead he is swiping themes from amazingly misogynistic GOP campaigns in other states. He continues to frequently run the "plagiarism" ad questioning Burke's ethics even while the ad unethically lies about her. New reports indicate we should expect to see another ad for Walker in which shopping for a wedding dress is a metaphor for choosing between candidates. Hey, it could have been about shopping for a jock strap, so no misogyny there!

Meanwhile, a new Walker campaign ad has a well-known, female domestic-violence survivor portraying Walker as a champion of women under duress. The ad ignores the larger backdrop that Walker has worked hard in other ways to put women in duress by restricting access to birth control, fighting abortion rights and signing a repeal of the state's equal-pay law that would have brought women workers more in line with male salaries. And let's not forget Governor Ultrasound's eager signing into law that physically invasive, unnecessary and intentionally intimidating mandate.

Teri Jendusa-Nicolai, the Racine-area victim who was the subject of big headlines a decade ago, appears in the new Walker ad promoting his relatively non-controversial, anti-domestic violence efforts. His stance on domestic violence in fact would only be noteworthy if he had opposed what is now pretty much a social norm. It's not like he's been some special kind of leader on the issue, unless you confine yourself to the general views of the Republican Party and no one else.

Voters certainly can assume Jendusa-Nicholai is sincere, and that she has every justification to promote such efforts. And perhaps Walker deserves some credit for pursuing measures that many Democrats supported long before he became governor and before Republicans in general realized they needed to stop dissing women voters so much. But, arguably, from Team Walker's perspective, the ad is really intended as a placeholder to encourage women voters to regard him as their great ally in general. But he's not, really, and here's another part of the reason why:

Walker continues working to cement support among male voters -- especially misogynistic white males who like guns and who like earning higher pay than women for the same kind of work. Helping with the former voter type is a massive National Rifle Association ad campaign across the state to help sell those guys on Walker's gun-centric policies. The NRA ads endorse Walker, noting he has backed Wisconsin's lurch toward concealed-carry laws, castle-doctrine permissiveness to shoot pretty much anyone who seems threatening, and opposition to a 48-hour waiting period for handgun purchases.

Yes, some women like guns, too, and if they've ever been afraid for their lives because of abusive husbands or boy friends, maybe a gun is in their minds or already under their pillows. Then again, that entire mindset is at odds with efforts to curb domestic violence, a crime that increasingly involves guns and shootings -- whether at home, work or school.

Of course, if the NRA thinks Walker needs a big boost in hanging onto male voters who think gun rights are the key issue in Wisconsin, then that's even more evidence his grip on a winning majority is tenuous -- or, at least, that Walker and his supporters think it is.

As fellow blogger Jud Lounsbury noted earlier here at UppityWis, Walker said when running for governor four years ago that job creation was the overriding issue in Wisconsin and that he would be judged on that and pretty much that alone. Now, after making a hard ad run at portraying himself as successful in that effort -- a claim that has essentially failed beyond his hard-core base -- he's turning to misogyny and "defend your freedom" themes. Clearly Team Walker is intent on keeping men in the fold, while hoping to peel off a few more women voters here or there.

And who knows? Those craven, cynical stunts could work. But in terms of his ever-evolving and contradictory campaign positions, Walker last week punted on third down.


October 5, 2014 - 11:20pm