The Cap Times asked me for my take on tonight’s debate.
“There’s no question that August was a brutal month for the Walker campaign, but while the polling numbers have changed since the last debate, the facts here in Wisconsin have not,” said Brian Fraley, a former Republican operative who now owns the Brookfield consulting firm Edge Messaging. “Gov. Walker’s track record of walking the walk is his greatest asset and something he needs to get back to. But, let’s be clear, this isn’t a debate. It’s an 11-person televised interview, and one that will center on the novelty candidate-turned front runner.”
Their entire story is here.
The reporter accurately quoted me, as she always does.
Below, was my full take.
There’s no question that August was a brutal month for the Walker campaign, but while the polling numbers have changed since the last debate, the facts here in Wisconsin have not. Governor Walker’s track record of walking the walk is his greatest asset and something he needs to get back to. But, let’s be clear, this isn’t a debate. It’s an 11 person televised interview, and one that will center on the novelty candidate-turned front runner.
Governor Walker needs to use all the allotted time (and perhaps more) to explain that he is the only outside the beltway candidate with such an impressive, proven public policy track record. He shouldn’t be defensive, but he can’t just stand there and take criticism or wait his turn.
Governor Walker needs to show genuine passion for his agenda and explain to voters that he does more than just talk about how screwed up Washington is. He has a track record as a Governor, County Executive and lawmaker that appeals to Republicans who favor limited government, lower taxes and bringing power from DC back to the states.
Walker needs to change the national media hive’s narrative that he’s no longer viable and his debate performance could help with that. On Wednesday, he needs to stand out in a good way to keep the smaller dollar campaign donations flowing. The fact is, though, unlike say, Governors Jindal and Christie, Walker’s various entities have the resources to keep him in this race for the long haul no matter what happens in the next few weeks.
Most voters won’t say they support someone if they think that candidate has no shot of winning. One debate performance is unlikely to reverse the hive’s coverage, but it could help change the trend-line in otherwise irrelevant national polling.
But I have to say I love all the premature celebration from the left in Wisconsin and the leaders of organized labor across the country. This isn’t the first time in his life that Scott Walker has been underestimated, after all.
Because the reality is his policy accomplishments and his warchest still exist. So regardless of where he is in the polls today, Governor Walker is going to be one of the last 3 or 4 Republicans standing in this race, no matter what happens Wednesday or between now and the Iowa Caucuses.
The question is: will he maintain the funds, the supporters and enough positive press coverage to move up from 4th to 1st?
I’m going to watch tonight. Are you?