Jason Horowitz, one of the New York Times more colorful reporters, gave Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker a gleeful finger upon his departure from the Republican presidential race, suggesting Walker has advanced his career on racist appeals in "Dismal Finish Is a Fitting Result, Old Foes Say," posted at nytimes.com Tuesday. Those "racist appeals"? Actually tough-on-crime proposals targeted at victims of crime in Milwaukee.
For the last 25 years, Representative Gwen Moore has sought to relinquish her claim to being the only politician ever to defeat Scott Walker.
On Monday she learned that her wait would continue, as Mr. Walker, the Wisconsin governor, ended his presidential campaign, bowing to plummeting poll numbers and a Republican electorate that seems to vastly prefer explosive outsiders to a lifelong political operative.
Ms. Moore, a Democrat from Milwaukee, was fine with that. “I’m great,” she said.
Old political adversaries of Mr. Walker greeted his dour denouement as a fitting result for a politician who they say began and furthered his career here with a divisive style, a penchant for turning out conservative supporters rather than working with opponents, and tacit racial appeals in one of the nation’s most segregated cities. But the irony is that Mr. Walker was eclipsed by candidates who have ignited the Republican base with more overtly nativist and, their critics argue, racist appeals.
Those "racial appeals" actually read like tough-on-crime proposals geared to appeal to victimized urban voters -- many of which were themselves black.
Walker ran against Moore for her Seventh District Assembly seat: "...as he ran for Wisconsin office for the first time by mostly appealing to white college students at Marquette and wealthier white residents near the suburbs, he also advertised in papers catering to the district’s heavily black population."
And that racist ad?
“Tired of the violence?” read an ad in the Nov. 3 Milwaukee Courier. “Scott Walker has a plan.”
“I vividly remember the picture of a revolver pointed right at the reader,” said Dale Dulberger, who lived in the district and later ran for and lost a state legislative seat to Mr. Walker. “It was shocking.”
Ms. Moore said she believed that Mr. Walker was making a tacit racial appeal to her constituents, and it had worried her. “I was scared that the white people would listen to him,” she said.
Speaking of "tacit racial appeals," notice that Moore is pretty comfortable with the phrase "white people."
Mr. Walker’s presidential campaign did not respond to a request for comment about the 1990 election, about which accusations of race baiting have been raised in the past.
After Horowitz allowed a Walker associate to suggest Moore was being "over the top," Horowitz emphasized that while Walker lost that assembly race, he gained credibility and connections among his "overwhelmingly white" base.
In 2006, he ran for governor before bowing out with little support. But he ran again and won in 2010, and then beat Milwaukee’s mayor, Tom Barrett, in a recall election in which Mr. Walker’s old adversaries found his tactics familiar: running against Milwaukee as a murderous, crime-ridden place that should not infect the rest of the state.
Horowitz concluded with Walker's Democratic enemies basking in triumph over their foiled foe:
In his office last week, Mr. Barrett, a Democrat who has been mayor since 2004, grew upbeat at the mention of Mr. Walker’s in the polls.
“I’ve really enjoyed my summer reading,” he said.