Does Mary Burke have a tough time understanding Facebook?
It seems that way. Her campaign’s social media presence is rife with overcomposed and contrived photo ops that tell the story of a refined candidate on her quest for the highest office in the state.
Governor Walker largely manages his own Twitter, which gets replicated to a Facebook account, and highlights interactions around the house, with his family, or on the campaign trail, almost always from his own perspective, using photos taken on his own phone.
The ability to navigate social media is not a requirement to run a state’s affairs. It shouldn’t be, at least for now, and not until the State of the State is delivered by Skype while the legislators videoconference in.
This distinction is not one to belabor, though it represents the quintessential dichotomy in the Wisconsin Governor’s Race. The Republican candidate is likable, gives a helluva speech, has a dynamite track record of successful economic reforms, and is adored around the country as a common sense pragmatist who’s disinterested in politics for the sake of good policy.
Ms. Burke’s policies will always be for political points. Her existence as a candidate comes at the hands of greater political powers who carefully protect the party agenda. The left has been slinking farther and farther leftward. In determining the right direction for Wisconsin’s economy, liberals have been horrendous.
The race for governor in 2014 will be a referendum on the economy, and the steps the governor has taken since 2010 to reverse the damage of the Doyle years. In 2010, Gov. Walker created a vision for the state, with the strategy and tactics to achieve it. After his inauguration, he charged down that road at full speed, politics be damned. In surviving the recall, voters overwhelmingly showed that, despite the relentlessly negative media, constant hysterical hooting from the unions, and a band of cowardly Democrat legislators welching on their obligations as lawmakers, asking public sector employees to contribute to their benefits is a good reform.
Ms. Burke even seems to agree. At least she did for a while, when she said “of course” public employees should be on the hook for part of their benefits package. That rhetoric was quickly stalled, and half-heartedly walked back, without having her feet held to the fire over how she would’ve handled something like Act 10. The conclusion was she would have executed the same reforms as Gov. Walker, but without upending collective bargaining privileges, and that would have kept everyone happy — she says.
The terms of her entrance into the fray were not immediately evident. The campaign launched with the vague sentiment she’d move Wisconsin forward again, that she wasn’t Scott Walker, and that she really, really, really loves Wisconsin. Since then, she’s done little to branch out from any of these positions. The same poll testing and candidate analysis that elevated Ms. Burke to the status of party frontrunner likely also told the liberal powers-that-be that Wisconsin voters would be responsive to a candidate who would improve the economy. As someone with an Ivy League business education and at least a few years near the top of an international corporation, Ms. Burke could’ve had the opportunity to bring a new and unique perspective to the table as governor, one that would resonate with left-wing acolytes.
The trouble with being educated in business and spending time in the real world is an inherent aversion to Democrat economic policies, which only exist in theoretical models and are catastrophic when put into practice. Either the extensive jobs plan her campaign put forth is the result of her ideas following four years of the best educations bike money can pay for, or it’s the tested and refined perennial hokum Democrats never give up. Given her status as the no-promises anointed candidate of the Democratic Party of Wisconsin, she’s necessarily attached to whatever the party requires her to put out.
If this election would be decided based on social equity or the engineering of an inclusive society, Ms. Burke would stand a chance to win. She wouldn’t have to run on ideas that matter, only those that make every reliable Democrat feel good about voting for.
Instead, this is the hand she was dealt, and her response to it has been completely phony. The passage of Act 10 and Democrats’ embarrassing failed recall has solidified the left and the right in Wisconsin. Moderates are in play, and they will not take to someone who fails to paint a vision for the state and parrots bored liberal platitudes. The strategies she proposes to mend the economy will not work, as any economic model a business major undergrad can understand will depict. She espouses the need to cultivate a culture of entrepreneurship and bolster startups in the state. Anyone starting a business today doesn’t want more government, and they don’t want their hand held. They certainly don’t want to worry about a $10.10 minimum wage or arbitrary equal pay laws that reward genetics instead of initiative.
These entrepreneurs, just like the moderates Ms. Burke would be wise to woo, have had enough of being told other people have it tough, that others aren’t earning as much as some, that people who choose lame artistic or rhetorical majors can’t find gainful employment. Her initiative to make higher education and skills training more affordable is a farce. The state needs more people choosing more productive career paths. Being on the hook for their own educations, and their own futures, would swiftly correct the problem of unemployed Drama Tech majors.
Ms. Burke is towing a liberal line because that’s the one with the best chance of elevating her to power. For someone whose charitable history has always tied reward to achievement, falling in lockstep support behind economically detrimental policies is out of sync with her character. Her veneer is one of a good candidate with moderate ideas and nice-sounding liberal social tendencies.
In reality, Ms. Burke is no different than any other partisan liberal, and she’s lying when she says she isn’t.