Lies, Damned Lies, and the Democratic Party

The truth is of little concern to the Democratic Party of Wisconsin.

A great case study is the saga of Governor Scott Walker’s college days. More to the point, the young Mr. Walker’s exit from college has been the target of the governor’s detractors for years. If you’re a member of The Left who is willfully spoonfed hype by a dedicated phalanx of Walker haters, the circumstances around his decision to quit school are shrouded in intrigue and allegations.

Like the 40-something Governor Walker, the college-aged Mr. Walker was full of ambition, dreams of being a leader in student government at Marquette University, in which he enrolled in 1986. He ran against liberal John Quigley for president of the student government in 1988, an ambitious effort for a sophomore.

This December, in response to persistent allegations by the DPW, the Journal Sentinel published a lengthy research piece by Dave Umhoefer about the episode. “Both sides tripped over campaign rules that limited spending and how and where candidates could distribute literature and place signs on campus. Each side lodged complaints against the other,” Umhoefer wrote.

I realized in my time as a reporter covering student government at my own alma mater that thinking byzantine and arbitrary campaign rules are sacrosanct is naive. College is a sandbox. Kids go there to make mistakes without crashing the stock of a Fortune 500 or launching nukes at Ireland. They go there to learn to submit to the adult concept of pointless rules like prohibitions on campaigning withing 150 feet of a voting location (i.e. a computer with an Internet connection, to cite a modern example).

Both Mr. Walker and his opponent broke a few rules. In the end, Mr. Walker lost his election at Marquette and decided to stay out of the limelight for the rest of his time there. Two years later, most likely just as disengaged with his seemingly pointless coursework as any contemporary college student, he decided to leave school and work instead. He soon found his way into politics.

His exit two years after the election was voluntary, which is corroborated by official documentation from the university. “Gov. Scott Walker was a student at Marquette from fall of 1986 until spring 1990 and was a senior in good standing when he voluntarily withdrew from Marquette,” a Marquette statement read.

There is nothing wrong with Mr. Walker’s career path, as evidenced by the fact that he’s the governor of Wisconsin. By contrast, most college graduates are not currently the governor of Wisconsin. Many are waiting tables (nothing wrong with that; I flip burgers on Sundays).

The Left seized anyway. By tying together the clunky election with Mr. Walker’s eventual exit from college, the DPW made it sound like explicitly stated that he was forced out of college. Cranking the drama to such an extreme that a telenovela script writer would wet his pants, the Democrats even put up a special web page highlighting how Scott Walker was forced to quit school because he masterminded a scheme to rig elections and destroy newspapers.

Don’t go looking for the page’s original inflammatory text, though. After the Journal Sentinel put the final nail in the coffin of that lie, the DPW pulled the verbiage from their website. It’s only a lie after you get caught.

But Democrat lies never go away, the words are just re-arranged (how did Bill Clinton define ‘sex’ again?). The party’s site still accuses Walker of “masterminding” a scheme to destroy newspapers, which by the account dug up by the JS was the work of a few overly zealous supporters ticked the paper endorsed Mr. Walker’s opponent. That accusation is apparently the last hope the Democrats have to keep this manufactured scandal alive.

The /walkerbio web page over at DPW is still there, dripping with something that smells of firebrand/nutjob spokeman ex oficio Graeme Zielinski. Perhaps he penned the page from jail.

At the heart of the accusation is the haughty implication that because Scott Walker doesn’t have a college degree, he a) hates education and b) is an uneducated barbarian who wears things he killed with a flint axe. The accusation might hold water with a small piece of the minority of Wisconsin’s electorate who hold college degrees.

I’d guess very small. Most college graduates, save some who work at the DPW or buy their fair trade organic coffee beans at a co-op, don’t strut around all day scraping their noses on ceilings and really don’t give two philosophy degrees if someone never walked the stage. Especially if that someone’s non-college-degree career path took him all the way to governor of Wisconsin and possible presidential candidate.

Just like the witchhunt so often referred to as a John Doe probe, a mass colonoscopy for anyone who dared contribute to conservatives at the top of the political pyramid in Wisconsin, the effort to smear Mr. Walker via his college record is simply an ad hominem attack.

For those Democrats who slept during logic, or swapped it for three credits in women and gender studies, ad hominems are logical fallacies. But forget logic: that book doesn’t have a chapter on organized outrage.

This all goes between the parentheses within The Left’s formula for winning by attrition: assassinating the character of their opponents and silencing opposition. Y’know, gulags are so 1950s. Besides, why waste money on a prison when political opponents can simply be relegated to obsolescence as discredited recluses. They’ll pay for their own lodging, and cat food.

For Democrats, peddling lies and failing to fully retract them when they’re exposed is par for the course. After all, like drunk-driving a car into the Chappaquiddick or carrying on pointless legal crusades against a governor for whom your hate has no bounds, it’s all in the spin.

The lies are bound to stick with a half a percent or so, and brainwash the base into seeing an evil man whenever Mr. Walker comes into sight.

Mr. Walker’s exit from college and lack of a degree is sure to continue existing as a Democratic smear, neverminding the truth.

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.