How Sean Duffy Already Short-Circuited His Opponent's Campaign

Just the other day we opined about the weaknesses of Kelly Westlund’s strategy:

Ms. Westlund’s main attack on Mr. Duffy seems to be that he’s a “Tea Party Republican” extremist. But according to Wisconsin Public Radio: “While Sean Duffy doesn’t think the Affordable Care Act should be defunded, he is demanding that the individual mandate be delayed a year, and that President Barack Obama and his family join the new insurance exchanges.”

It’s clearly a flawed attack plan on a guy who is well-liked and by all measures, a sane moderate. He’s also politically savvy and in tune with the wishes of his slightly-right-of-center district. His vote on the Ryan-Murray two-year Bipartisan Budget Act of 2013 is demonstrative.

Mr. Duffy voted yea.

The JS reported: “Republican Rep. Sean Duffy praised the Ryan-Murray agreement for breaking congressional gridlock and providing much-needed certainty to Wisconsin businesses and families.”

The Act’s passage is a good thing. Conservatives have bemoaned the dearth of inked budgets for years; this was their opportunity to put in place a stable, long-term budget. It also replaces the gimmicky, can-kicking sequester and other budget patchjobs – and replaces them with a longer view of things. It was a bipartisan deal in a time when nothing of the sort seems possible.

And it was the Republicans and Paul Ryan who did it. Yes, those very same Republicans about whom the Westlundesque “Tea Party Republican” Extremist taunt will be a bludgeon against them in 2014.

So much for that.

Mr. Duffy is not a  “Tea Party Republican” Extremist, as Ms. Westlund would love voters to believe. In fact, the entire Wisconsin GOP delegation voted yay, while the Dems’ Mark Pocan voted nay and the Dems who supported it did so only while griping about it.

Mr. Ryan brought the leadership that Barack Obama couldn’t muster on stopping “Washington’s lurch from crisis to crisis,” as Mr. Ryan said in a news release and which President Obama has whined about for a long time.

His colleagues, like Mr. Duffy, had his back.

And 2014 opponents like Ms. Westlund are suddenly paddling on a hill of sand.

Ms. Westlund
Ms. Westlund
About the writer: Chris Rochester has worked in communications and finance for a state Senate and congressional campaign, consulted on numerous Assembly and local races, and has held leadership roles in his local Republican Party. He's communications director for the MacIver Institute. Commentary here is strictly his own.