A former GOP aide to Senate Republicans: “You can beat Walker” by Bob Schwoch

This post by Bob Schwoch appeared on the blog of Jack Craver, otherwise known as The Sconz. I am bogarting his blog, so please do Jack the favor of following him on twitter or liking his facebook page. He’s a very good writer with Isthmus.


As a former Republican aide in the Wisconsin State Senate, part of my job was to help read the governor, and advise my senator accordingly. If I were still advising a Republican state senator, this is what I’d say right now.


This governor is not hard to read. He’s a giant fiery ball of ambition. When he sneezes he compares it to how Reagan sneezed. His first major act, after netting a modest 52 percent in a GOP wave election, was to pick the most dangerous and inflammatory political fight he could think of. His next major act was to propose a budget that might get him re-elected in Texas, but not Wisconsin. Why?

Clearly he doesn’t care about getting re-elected in Wisconsin. He doesn’t care about protests, or poll numbers, or recalls. He barely even cares if what he’s proposing passes. So long as he gets attention for proposing it.

Scott Walker is driving a fast bus to Washington, estimated time of arrival 2012. Fourteen of his Senate passengers jumped off and hid the moment they knew what was happening. The other 19 might want to wake up before their own districts disappear in the rear-view.

I’m not the only political watcher walking around Madison wondering what’s holding the GOP caucuses together on the Walker-for-Vice-President express. Saunter into a bar near the Capitol, find people in suits and eavesdrop for five minutes. It requires only a two-year sense of history to identify the last photogenic gubernatorial novice who turned into a conservative folk hero when a presidential candidate needed some far-right street cred.

So attention Alberta Darling. Attention Dan Kapanke. Attention Dale Schultz (well, Dale, you already get it, apparently, but you need some support). Attention all you Republican senators who need a few union votes to hold your districts. I served alongside you and I respect you. So pretend I’m your staffer.

You’re toast if you stay on this bus. Here’s your way off it.

Get three of you together. Congratulations. You’re now the governor of Wisconsin.

Call a press conference. Here’s your spin: The truth. It goes something like this.

“We’re here to repair the budget. We accept the union concessions – budget repaired. Beyond that this state is not ready to allow.

“Some of us Republican senators support an end to public bargaining. Others of us have reservations. But it does none of us, or our constituents, any good to lose our majority and see whatever is done now quickly undone.

“We’ve heard from our constituents, and we’re here to represent their spoken wishes – by ending this destructive impasse and getting to work, together with the governor, passing a good, solvent, conservative budget.”

Then you stand back and let all the people in the caucus who hate collective bargaining and don’t need the union votes to blast you a new one. You’ll get some nasty letters and e-mails and phone calls. But you’ll all get to keep your jobs. You’ll have a chance at holding the majority you just won in the Republican wave of a lifetime. You can let Baby Guv pilot his fast bus to Washington.

And not be on board if it crashes.

Bob Schwoch, is a UW professor of communications and a former chief-of-staff to Republican Sens. Carol Buettner and Peggy Rosenzweig, as well as Democratic Rep. Peggy Krusick. .

10 thoughts on “A former GOP aide to Senate Republicans: “You can beat Walker” by Bob Schwoch

  1. I would not be surprised that there is some quid pro quo — I can imagine Scott Walker having been toldd that if he successfully establishes Wisconsin as a model for the new fascist America then he can be President.

    Sure, he would be a Kalinin-like puppet (Mikhail Kalinin was President of the Soviet Union when Josef Stalin exercised despotic power as Party Boss), but he could see his face enshrined among Washington, Lincoln, and FDR.

    He is a failure.

  2. I grew up in Wisconsin, and got my education and sense of justice from a well run state government and its constituent agencies, back when Cheese Heads were just Packer Fans. I am dismayed by the Republican Statutory Rape of this great state and its hard working people. Send Walker to the dressing room with the biggest electoral concussion you can muster. RECALL.

  3. Unfortunately here in Wisconsin an elected official has to be in office before you can try to recall them. A database has been started so we know where to go when his year is up. Other recalls are starting on some of the republican senators that are recallable. Hopefully Walker doesn’t totally destroy this state before his year is up!

  4. Unfortunately here in Wisconsin an elected official h Hopefully he hasn’t totally destroyed our state before that!s to be in office for 1 year before we can start a recall on them! Signatures & email info is being collected so when his year is up we have a database to work with!

  5. The fact is the republicans should agree to tax corporations and the wealthy in order to keep teachers and city workers in their jobs, period. Education is the most important thing for the kids and making it harder for them to learn is the worst thing you could do to the future of the country. Wall St. and their ilk has gotten enough blood from the middle class. It’s our turn to take our government back from the Corporations and end the Right Wing corruption. Scott Walker needs to go just like the other republican slobs in the state senate who must be recalled. It’s time for a major do over. Walkers political budget bill will only make the economy worse for the state, but that’s the plan isn’t it?

  6. Bob Schwoch is not a professor. He is a student academic adviser (helps them pick classes). It doesn’t undercut what he says but it is a big difference

  7. Good analysis. I marvelled at Walker’s seeming indifference to public opinion. Aside from higher politcal aspirations, maybe he knows “higher ups” such as the real Koch brothers would find a comfy place for someone who’s done their wishes in the past (like former lawmakers hired as lobbyists)

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