COMMENTARY | Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, once briefly considered a rising star with the Republican Party, perhaps shot himself in the foot permanently with a fundraising appeal that is, without a doubt, the worst political idea ever.
In an email to supporters, Walker’s reelection campaign urged them to donate money to the governor instead of spending the money on toys for the kids. “Instead of electronics or toys that will undoubtedly be outdated, broken or lost by the next Holiday Season, help give your children the gift of a Wisconsin that we can all be proud of,” the fundraising note said.
Evidently, the Walker campaign isn’t too proud with the result. They fired the campaign worker who came up with this career-crushing email. They canned her, allegedly because she also made demeaning comments about Hispanics on Twitter.
It should be noted that one of the two controversial comments took place after the Rose Bowl that Wisconsin played in, almost a year ago, so it seems like a convenient scapegoat excuse while trying to make Walker look good for “standing up for Hispanics.” If there was such true outrage, the aide, Taylor Palmisano, would have been gone months ago.
In other cases of political stupidity, a politician does something non-political that leads to political consequences, like a New York Congressman sexting, or a South Carolina Governor abandoning his family on Father’s Day and his chief executive post to sneak off to Argentina to be with his mistress.
This was a politically stupid idea that should lead to political consequences for a rising star in the Republican Party. Some likened him to Scrooge or the Grinch, but I think it smacks more of Henry F. Potter, the cynical villain from “It’s a Wonderful Life” who dumps on the spirit of Christmas.
A few weeks ago, while speaking at a Republican event, I fielded questions from Georgia’s GOP faithful about whether Walker should be the next nominee. The Wisconsin Governor even said current GOP members of Congress shouldn’t be nominated in 2016.
But polls show him within the margin of error against a political neophyte in his reelection bid and trailing Democrats like Hillary Clinton in his home state (and she has Chicago ties!) in a hypothetical 2016 matchup. Now with the worst fundraising idea in history, it is Walker that the Republicans should take a pass on in 2016.
John A. Tures is a professor of political science at LaGrange College in LaGrange, Ga.