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Charlie Sykes: Sykes Writes

Mary Burke's Scorched Pants Strategy

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My friend Jerry Bader takes a look at the strange Mary Burke campaign.

Students of American history don’t need the military "scorched earth" strategy explained to them. It’s often defined as destroying anything of value to the enemy during an advance or retreat, such as Sherman’s march to sea during the Civil War. It’s also been used to describe what some consider excessive use of force by a superior military power. 
 
Democratic gubernatorial candidate Mary Burke has employed what I’ve dubbed the "scorched pants" strategy and I find it mind boggling.
 
Burke, who was spared by Politifact Wisconsin over her claim of growing sales in her family business by nearly 20 fold, has since received two "pants on fire" ratings for claims about Wisconsin’s economic progress under Governor Scott Walker. First, she makes the ridiculous claim that unemployment in Wisconsin has risen during Walker’s term. Now she cherry picks a single statistic to falsely claim wages in Wisconsin are declining at double the rate of other states.
 
Clearly Burke’s campaign believes that Politifact notwithstanding, these ads will resonate with voters who don’t know they are blatant lies. Maybe. But what’s puzzling is that there is an existing campaign template for a candidate with considerable personal wealth and Burke’s camp is ignoring it. Let’s look at two Wisconsin examples of this strategy.

Read the rest, here.

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