Final Questions for Mary Burke

Yesterday at RightWisconsin, Rick Esenberg broadly suggested that House of Cards-level political maneuvering is at play in Mary Burke’s candidacy, that her victory is nothing more than a front to elevate the un-electable John Lehman to the governor’s office after a few years. After all, as she’s admitted, Ms. Burke hasn’t been able to string together four or more consecutive years at a real job — ever.

It would explain a lot. The left will point and scoff and laugh off such levels of organization and planning, but we’ve spent the last year discussing in depth how every move Democrats make are always politically motivated. In the context of last week’s news that Ms. Burke may have been fired from Trek by her own family — a hypothesis Chris made over a year ago, before anyone was even talking about her — some pressing questions would be answered by an honest candidate.

But we know she’s not. She’s a pawn, a hairdo, a marionette operated by the Democrat Establishment. Now there’s a feasible theory for exactly why beyond just implementing a party’s agenda. There’s a next move to be made.

Let’s clear the air.

1. What was your decision-making process to run for office? Who first approached you, when, and with what information? To what extent do you or your campaign communicate with DPW Chair Mike Tate, and what role if any did he or the DPW apparatus play in your decision to run for governor?

This is the big ‘un. Her original campaign message was something about “getting Wisconsin going again,” or some nonsense, in one of those campaign ads that talked a lot but didn’t say much. Its sole intent was to position herself as not being Scott Walker. As polls have shown, that’s worked; Democrats are considering a vote for her as a vote against the governor, not necessarily for any great Democrat ideas. (Maybe that’s because there are none, nyuk nyuk nyuk).

Everything about her seemed fabricated and manufactured. Nothing lined up: She says she understood business but also an increased minimum wage; her philanthropic giving was often tied to performance, but Democrat support of unions flies in the face of economic efficiency; she said but “of course” public employees should contribute to their benefits packages but she would have magically been able to have negotiated an agreement that saved the state’s budget but didn’t leave unionistas in a sputtering, sobbing rage after the fact.

It’s my guess she ran for a few reasons: She could prove to her family that fired her from their company that she has something to contribute to the world; she had the money to spend; and, in light of Mr. Esenberg’s thesis, she wouldn’t have to do it for four whole years.

2. Your message has also been one of unity and bringing people together. Why was it so hard for you to name one good thing about Scott Walker during the first debate? And why, when the president came to town to stump for you, did his message center on Republican obstructionism and not your ability to transcend the political fray?

We’re not sure what she believes that isn’t political posturing. Democrats are quick to accuse the governor of playing party politics, and I suppose he did: good Republican governors run on economic reforms that make sense for their states. He did what he said he’d do. The left is so wrapped up in advancing their agenda regardless of results they must forget that good politics and effective policy are not mutually exclusive, which is what the governor’s agenda has proven. Conservative ideas work, liberal ideas do not. Wisconsin has been a showcase for that since January 2011. As a unifier and consensus-builder, Ms. Burke would have to have brought to the table some moderate or conservative ideas, but there are none.

3. Why haven’t you appeared with family members in any ads?

This one seems like a given. John Burke, speaking in front of a factory, a chyron declaring his position as leader of Trek. It would go something like this:

“My sister Mary has always been one of the hardest-working people in the room. When she joined the family business, she led the charge to increase sales in Germany, helping to make Trek a worldwide brand, and helping to create hundreds of jobs for hard-working people in Wisconsin.

Her reputation has always been one of synthesizing the best ideas in the room into practical initiatives, no matter who came up with them. And that’s the spirit she’ll take to Madison to end the gridlock her opponent has created…”

But that never happened. Nothing like it ever did. If she has the desire to win the election independent of her family’s name, she should have never leveraged her alleged business prowess in the first place, or spent much of her own inherited fortune. Second, every move she’s made has been a political calculation, and it would be incongruous for her to suddenly be principled about using her family name for political points.

There might be bad blood in the family. Who knows. But if she can’t rebuild broken family relationships, what hope does she have to unite a bitter, divided legislature?

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