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Charlie Sykes: Sykes Writes

Unsolicited Advice for Team Walker

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At RightWisconsin, a political insider we call Conservative Consigliere has some tough love for Gov. Walker and his team. 

It’s time for a little tough love for Team Walker.
 
It is an understatement to say last week was not their best week of their administration.   They started the week by looking evasive and guilty on national TV, and by the end of it they looked heartless and desperate firing Department of Transportation lawyer John Schulze in a panic over a 15-year old satirical news release sent to friends using his personal e-mail.
 
The most disturbing thing about this week’s events, however, is what it exposed about the inability of Team Walker to manage a crisis.  Mind you, this current episode will be a long forgotten memory by Election Day.  It is not, however, the last or likely the most serious crisis the Governor’s campaign will face.  Unless they improve their ability to effectively handle a bad story it could have politically fatal consequences this November for a Governor with a disturbingly small electoral cushion to fall back on.
 
So, after the week that was, let’s act like a good football team and go to the film room to see what went wrong and what can be learned from it.
 
1. Beware of hubris.   Governor Walker is an extremely disciplined and articulate messenger, but that does not mean he should always be the messenger.  Going on national TV with Chris Wallace within days of the Rindfleisch e-mail dump was a choice.  
 
And it was a very bad choice.  Wallace is not some fawning Huckleberry from the Waukesha Freeman.  He’s going to ask tough questions and he’s not going to let you get away with non-answers.  Taking this interview was pure hubris. The Governor apparently believed he could spin his way out of this jam and get the national TV jump on Chris Christie who was taking a more cautious course by taking a pass on the Sunday morning talk show circuit. As talented a media presence as Governor Walker is, he still needs to learn that there are times and circumstances in which "you say it best when you say nothing at all."
 
2. Don’t be a prosthesis.  If a story does not have legs of its own, don’t give it artificial ones.  The e-mail dump was a lame story. National press yawned. Locals obsessed over it with a voyeuristic fascination but the story line with regard to Governor Walker himself  was weak at best and petering out. The Governor’s evasive performance on national TV and his panic firing of John Schulze gave the story new legs, new angles, and new vigor it never could have sustained on its own.
 
Read the entire post over at RightWisconsin.com.

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