Ranting Loons and Assorted Boneheads

Democrats tolerate the nutjobs and deviants in their ranks.

Brett Hulsey is dismissed as an eccentric goofball with crazy ideas whose wielding of a box cutter in his office is reduced to bizarre horseplay, all while parading around with Klan hoods he made at home and giving them out to enlist supporters to his cause. Gordon Hintz, the Democrat state legislator who threatened to kill a female colleague and was busted for soliciting sex from a masseuse, is marginalized and forgotten, but still forgiven, and still accepted in the Democrat Party.

They are some of the best faces Democrats can manage to put forward for the bitter and angry coalition. Whereas the Sinicki Democrats are the loudmouthed, uninformed, stupid members of the party, and the Democrat High-Brow represent an ill-informed, faux-intellectual class of thinkers, the Ranting Loons and Assorted Boneheads are those who spend their time making dumb comments on news stories, toss around phrases like “Koch addicts,” and, most recently, suffer from acid reflux fits when exposed to the name Walker.

In the case of Hulsey, High Goon of the Democrat Loon Order, the establishment campaign doesn’t appear fond of his theatrics. As part of the Party elite, acknowledging them would diminish their aloof superiority. It’s the same detachment that justifies touting Mary Burke’s business acumen alongside social engineering policies like distorted minimum wages. A recent Burke for Wisconsin Facebook post summarized her extensive capacity for open-mindedness in problem solving:

“I come at that not only as a business executive. I’m a problem solver. Where do you want to get to, where are you now? Let’s get all the options out on the table, and let’s choose the best one. I don’t care whether it’s Republican or Democratic. It’s not how I approach things.”

This is a desperate and politically stupid move to appeal to moderates, eschewing the liberal or Democrat label for one of Problem Solver in Chief. This strategy makes it incrementally more difficult to believe she believes the talking points her campaign is built on: If problem solving is a non-partisan issue, why run as a Democrat? That party has contributed to blatant division and partisanship in the last few years: fleeing to Illinois to avoid a vote and organizing recalls against legislators and the governor over Act 10. Their fervor might be in furious defense of their malleable and politically expedient principles, but it does nothing to paint a picture of open-mindedness and problem-solving.

Such rhetoric is typical of the left, most recently echoing the President of the United States’ calls for a Republican alternative to health care reform, as if there haven’t been any. Bon vivant and hero of the right William F. Buckley identified this behavior years ago, writing, “Liberals claim to want to give a hearing to other views, but then are shocked and offended to discover that there are other views.” (The and offended qualifier is important.)

For someone who wants to move Wisconsin in a new direction, the policies Ms. Burke intends to employ are typical and beaten-to-death, proven failures out of every liberal playbook since Marx first published it. Perhaps the execution has changed, but the outcome is the same: equality for equality’s sake.

That promise of equality principally governs every Democrat’s politics today. Where Ms. Burke speaks in focus-grouped and vague language, Mr. Hulsey is concretely moronic. Wearing a Civil War-era uniform and cheap cowboy hat outside the lobby of the Hyatt in Milwaukee on the first day of the Republican Party of Wisconsin Convention on Friday, he attracted a throng of TV cameras from local media.

(It was here that radio talk show host Vicki McKenna was stopped for an interview by a WISN-TV reporter to answer questions about Hulsey. Hulsey recognized Ms. McKenna, but the reporter did not, asking for her name and correct spelling, and whether or not she was from Milwaukee, as I heard it. The reporter’s ignorance was embarrassing; Ms. McKenna was certainly afforded a “don’t you know who I am?” moment, but that’s probably not in her character.)

This attention plays well for the Burke campaign. The Ranting Loons and Assorted Boneheads distract from the reality that her campaign is dull, tired, and void of inspiration. In the same way that Hulsey’s candidacy permits discussion on the issues Burke will not address — namely, the complete revocation of Act 10 — it affords the media the luxury of covering Democrats without covering how lame their frontrunner candidate is. For an uninspired voting base, who just two years ago was out for the blood of anyone against collective bargaining rights, Ms. Burke’s candidacy is antithetical to their cause. But Hulsey’s loonery is a pleasant reminder that Mary Burke’s not the worst candidate out there.

As a movement, Democrats have their various factions adeptly organized to optimally position their front-runners, working in concert to protect the heavy hitters. It’s an effective strategy, even if their goals and policies are warped. Brett Hulsey and his goons both function to manipulate the narrative and relentlessly attack tired issues, but their weird behavior isn’t attached to the rest of the party. Meanwhile, Republicans are constantly forced to apologize on behalf of the thugs in their party, even after removing them from their ranks — see, most recently, the collapse and marginalization of Bill Kramer.

It’s possible Hulsey’s candidacy was a well-orchestrated attempt by Party Brass to shape the narrative as outlined above. It’s counterintuitive — especially in politics — that less media is beneficial. But their candidate might actually do better at this stage of the election staying out of the news as a headline, but still getting name-dropped. That way, stories can say, “Look at this crazy person named Brett. By the way, he’s running against party favorite Mary Burke (a girl! A businesswoman! She has degrees from Ivy League Schools! Scott Walker barely finished high school!”). Now let’s go to Phillip for an update on weather. Phil?”

It’s also possible that Hulsey is just a liability. The Burke campaign swiftly denounced Hulsey’s Klan hoods, and they were right to, and the story seemed to end there.

Either way, his campaign freakshow is a distraction, intentional or otherwise. How Mary Burke will capitalize on it is yet to be determined.

About the writer: Nik Nelson is publisher of MorningMartini.com and Founder/CEO of OpenBox Strategies, where he connects political candidates and small businesses with excellent digital marketing tools and strategies.