AP Cynically Hits Wis. Gov. Walker For 'Keeping a Safe Distance' When, Thanks to the Left, His and Others' Safety Is at Risk

May 28th, 2012 10:35 PM

Leave it to the Associated Press's Scott Bauer to take shots at Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker -- in seeming orchestration with Democratic Party officials -- for limiting his public recall election appearances because of unsafe conditions leftists in the Badger State have created, "public safety" officials have too often condoned, and the establishment press has generally downplayed for well over a year.

Bauer and his "Essential Global News Network" have been among the lead minimizers of the death threats, violence, hatred, and intimidation of Wisconsin businesses by organized labor during that time. A year ago, the AP treated the arrest of a person who emailed death threats to 16 GOP state senators and their families as a local story. AP and others have also mostly ignored the non-stop stalking by Walker's civility-challenged opponents, who among other things have disrupted school visits (with vandalism), a Special Olympics ceremony, and a police memorial. So it took a special brand of gall for Bauer and bullying Dems, including Walker's recall opponent, to criticize the governor for having to take conditions on which the press has not shone a light into account in how he campaigns (bolds are mine):

Campaign styles clash in Wis. recall race

Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker and his opponent, Democrat Tom Barrett, are locked together in a fiercely fought recall campaign, but that's where the similarity ends. They don't campaign the same way.

As his historic recall election nears on June 5, Walker delivers his message to voters from a safe distance. His campaign carefully limits all public access and holds events mostly at his campaign offices or at businesses that can restrict who comes in. Most appearances are announced with only a few hours' notice.

Meanwhile, underdog Barrett spends precious campaign time mingling with the masses and making the rounds of farmers markets, coffee shops and parades in search of votes. His campaign publicizes events with the hope of attracting as many people as possible.

The tactics reflect two well-established political strategies and signal the state of the race with less than two weeks to go. Walker holds a slim lead, according to recent polls, built with the financial support of conservatives nationwide who rallied after labor unions helped organize the recall over his anti-union legislation. Walker wants to minimize risks and avoid protesters. Barrett, who won the Democratic nomination to oppose Walker only this month, hopes to strike a spark.

Walker's advisers "want him in a sealed-off, tightly controlled, non-controversial setting because they don't want to rile people up," said Democratic pollster Paul Maslin, a veteran of recall campaigns who worked for California Gov. Gray Davis when he fought unsuccessfully against a recall in 2003. "He can't do retail any more. Like it or not, he's graduated to another level of politics. He just became the symbol of a much bigger fight."

Barrett referred to Walker's style as "clearly a bunker mentality. You can sort of see the formula - go to a business, talk to the CEO, selected employees, poof, you're on the road."

... Nevertheless, the change in Walker is remarkable for a candidate once eager to connect personally with voters and who revels in rapturous receptions at Republican gatherings. He's good at making small talk and, when he ran for governor in 2010 as Milwaukee County executive, appeared at rallies all over the state.

Walker is now a presence mostly in the television advertising saturating the airwaves and brochures arriving in the mail.

He launched his campaign in the recall race with an event on a remote farm where only invited guests and credentialed media were allowed to enter. There would be no awkward questions from unknown attendees.

Both Barrett and pollster Maslin know damned well why Walker can't campaign as he would clearly prefer, and should be ashamed of it. It's because of hordes of people on their side who not only won't behave, but also can't be trusted not to act violently if an opportunity to inflict physical or property damage arises.

A pox on both of them for virtually celebrating it, and on the AP's Bauer for serving as their cynical megaphone.

Cross-posted at BizzyBlog.com.