Sunday, June 14, 2009

Walker Vs. Neumann: Who's Easier To Beat? did a story about some polling that occurred at this past weekends Democratic convention. One of the questions asked of these conventioneers was who would be easier to beat, Scott Walker or Mark Neumann:
Party activists were also asked whether they believed Scott Walker or Mark Neumann would be more beatable as the GOP gubernatorial candidate next year. Walker, the Milwaukee County executive, received 124 votes, compared to 90 for Neumann, a home builder and former congressman from southeastern Wisconsin.
Well, at least now Walker can say he won one poll related to next year's election. It could very well be the only one.

Cory Liebmann, who wrote a piece on this story, has a number of questions and observations:
Frankly I'm not sure exactly how I would have voted on that particular question. The only two polls that I have seen so far (MacIver and Daily Kos) have both Walker and Neumann in basically the same position (behind by double digits). I think that the case for which Republican is the weakest could be made either way. Walker's failure as county executive is rich with material that makes a huge case against him all by itself. On the other hand Mark Neumann has not been in politics for over a decade and he is known for being wildly extreme (not that Walker isn't) while most of the population is trending the other way. So who is the weakest? If I had to choose, I would have to agree with the convention goers and pick Scott Walker. I could easily be swayed if someone could make a convincing argument that Neumann is actually the weaker of the two but in the end I think that there is too much current ammo to use against Walker.
I think it would come as no surprise to the gentle reader that I would be more strongly on the side of Walker being the more beatable candidate.

First, for the comparison between the two. Scott Walker has been in public office for quite a while now. First he was in the state legislature, then he has been in the county executive's position for the last seven. He has been actively, if not always publicly, campaigning for the past five years for the governor's office.

Mark Neumann, in contrast, has been out of office for the past ten years. He was a U.S. Congressman until ten years ago, when he narrowly lost to Russ Feingold. Since then he has been busy with things like home building and running Christian schools. While Neumann has indicated that he plans on running for governor, he has yet to officially announce his candidacy.

So while Walker has been puttinghis face out there, Neumann has been relatively invisible. Yet in two separate polls, they both end up in a virtual dead heat. Now, I am not a savvy political operator, but it would seem logical to me to presume that at such time that Neumann would decide to officially announce, he will get one hell of a bounce. Combine that with the fact that Neumann was fairly popular statewide (how else would he have gotten as close as he did to beating Feingold - no one can tell me Walker would have had that kind of contest), while Walker is not.

Walker's lack of popularity stems from two, three main themes.

One is he is from Milwaukee, which is often the kiss of death for any statewide race.

Two, as Cory pointed out, Walker does not have a great track record here in Milwaukee. He has not had one budget that did not blow up in his face. He has tried to close parks. He has tried to close community centers and senior centers. He has abdicated much of his responsibilities. He has failed to show positive leadership, but rather skulks around in the shadows until his misdeeds are brought to light. He has shown himself incapable of managing the Income Maintenance program (which is more vital than ever as people need more support). Most recently, there is his push to illegally tax toddlers for playing in a glorified puddle and stealing money from senior citizens. And don't get me going on all of his broken promises. That is a post, or even multiple posts, upon themselves.

Three, from all the people that I've talked to that know Walker, and have interacted with him, many people, from all spots along the political spectrum, have found him to be undeservedly arrogant and unpleasant.

It is understandable why Walker felt compelled to get such an extremely early start on his campaign, given how he was shellacked the last time he ran. But will he be able to keep his unpleasantness hidden for that long? Only time will tell.

While Neumann has a history of shooting his mouth off and scaring people away with some of his attitudes, such as his extreme anti-homosexuality stance, he hasn't hadn't any of these problems for ten years, while living out of public sight.

Neumann also has a much, much bigger personal bank account and even more importantly, as the support of most of the big money in the GOP.

In summary, Walker has a much steeper and longer hill to climb and he might very well lack the necessary qualities to get there.

Then again, something weird, like TOMMY Thompson entering the race or Neumann deciding to go after Feingold's seat instead, could easily happen.

That would just make it easier for Jim Doyle, Barbara Lawton or whoever the Democratic candidate is to win.

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