Feb 21, 201409:11 AMBlaska's Bring It!
with David Blaska
Sifting through the big Scott Walker (yawn) email dump
(page 1 of 2)
Day 2 of the great Walker county executive email dump. Where is Ted Koppel these days? Release the hostages! Oh, wait.
Can the news media possibly find any more chaff in the haystack that prosecutors discarded a year ago? The news industry is heavily invested in the story; they fought like heck (sorry, Jay) to get this stuff. Like that awful Father’s Day tie, they’ve got to use it a couple times to justify the expense.
Matt DeFour, the excellent news reporter for the Wisconsin State Journal, submitted these interrogatories to the Squire of the Stately Manor:
The story we’re working on for tomorrow is to focus on some of the “thicker” emails, to purloin a phrase. What’s your take on Walker coordinating his routine county business from his campaign email? What about political strategizing in emails to both campaign and county staff? Then there’s campaign staff directing county staff to do research for them in emails Walker received?
Problematic, good government lite, everyone does it, or nothing to see here?
Produced herewith, in the spirit of open government and before the SWAT team breaks down the reinforced steel door at The Manor, are my responses:
Matt: Assuming you’re still working the story … my bottom line is that Scott Walker — AT MOST — crossed his i’s and dotted his T’s.”
What’s your take on Walker coordinating his routine county business from his campaign email?
Well, I guess yours truly has posted Facebook items under my son’s name, neglecting to notice that my son and heir had logged in but forgotten to log back out. Keep your e-mails straight at all times, sez I.
What about political strategizing in emails to both campaign and county staff?
I did work in Tommy Thompson’s office during the election year of 1998. Remember the Ed Garvey campaign coming up to our offices in the East Wing to challenge the boss to a debate. I refused to accept the envelope and sent the reps over to the campaign office on East Washington Ave. But did Tommy Thompson know what the governor’s office was doing and what the campaign office was doing? Let’s hope so. And I was told to tamp down some of my natural passion — one example, in a pro-life speech I was writing — in order not to inflame the voters. TGT wanted to win big over Garvey; not just squeak by. He wanted a mandate.
The short answer to your question is this: should the right hand know what the left hand is doing? If the campaign said one thing and the office said another, who would you blame: the office-holder or the candidate? They all report to the same person, after all.
Then there’s campaign staff directing county staff to do research for them in emails Walker received?
This is a little more problematic — but not much more. It does rise to the level of public information, altho no public office is required to create a record where none may exist. (You’ve probably run into that.) That said, if the candidate cannot defend his record in office, who will?
Now, Matt, I got to ask: are you querying the likes of The Kathleen (Falk). Jim Doyle? Tammy Baldwin? Mark Pocan? I absolutely do get the sense that John Doe 1 and John Doe 2 are politically motivated; an example of situational ethics.
I can tell you that Jim Doyle appointed a Republican state senator as division administrator in a state government agency, then upbraided her for endorsing a Republican candidate for senate. Did he use the governor’s office phone? Did he clock out for those 5 minutes?
Further, I have a different standard for political appointees than I do for civil service appointees. The former are … well, political.
Really, bottom line, Matt: what do we have here? Did Scott Walker or his staff screw the commuters of Milwaukee by closing a bridge for spite as a certain eastern governor or his staff has been accused of doing? Did he line his pockets or those of his friends? Did he fiddle while Benghazi burned? No, his campaign staff communicated with his executive staff. I do think there could have been a brighter line but it does appear that he set that line, perhaps belatedly. But where is the proportion?
We’ve got armed police banging at doors of private homes in pre-dawn raids, seizing computers and files, tossing desks, under the suspicion that someone has conspired to commit free speech.
Bonus question: Can you tell your readers you respond to each and every slightly un-PC e-mail with indignant, righteous fury?