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Scott Walker Emails Will Allow Wisconsinites To Take Measure Of The Man

February 19, 2014

Regardless of our political affiliation, or our desire to talk about policy and not get mired into the muck of politics, there is no escaping the fact that we all get excited about the intrigue of the backroom deals and the conversations from our leaders that the public is never intended to know about.

For the most part those private dealings and dialogues either verbally or written are never the stuff that creates headlines.  The vast majority of what takes place when campaigns are underway, or policy is being crafted goes unknown by the public.

But every now and then something occurs which leads someone in the field of justice to pause and take notice.  That is what happened to Scott Walker when he was Milwaukee County Executive.  Following the investigation the public is now aware that not only was there smoke, but also a fire.  As a result people have a strong desire to better understand that situation.   That is why the 27,000 pages of emails released today are of such importance, and why they will be the topic for reporters for some time to come in this state.

My liberal friends are wondering what the emails might hold that can tarnish Walker, perhaps undermine his electoral chances for re-election in November, and even thwart his 2016 presidential ambition.   My conservative friends are trying to spin the emails as a diversion from pressing issues that are not getting headline inches and labeling all the drama today as just partisan politics at its most base level.    But all these friends from both sides of the aisle are very political.

But for the average voter in this state I think what happened today goes deeper than just partisanship.

Wisconsinites  clearly have a certain definition in their mind about Walker.  I also strongly suspect that be it favorable or otherwise the average voter wants to be fair and allow for the better half of anyone, and that includes a politician like Walker, to be given the benefit of the doubt.  Until proven otherwise.

And that is the potential danger for Scott Walker when it comes to these emails and documents.

Over the entire period of time that Walker has been investigated there has been a strong push from his team to portray him as not being involved with those who were clearly enmeshed in activities that ran counter to ethics and the law.  He has stated, as much as one can when under such probes, how he was not aware of who might be the subject of the investigation, but that he was willing to co-operate.  He worked hard to put a veneer of “I was not involved’ all over himself for the public to see.

But if the emails show something different, that the preacher’s son is not so far removed from the gritty world of politics as he would have us believe, and in fact that his actions rubbed ever so close to the edge of legality and honesty than that is something the public will take note of.    That is when the average Wisconsin voter starts to reevaluate the measure of the man.

And that is when Scott Walker might have reason for concern.

Voters have a gut reaction to those they elect.  They may have policy difference with a politician but give them a pass if they feel that the one seeking their vote is trustworthy and not working over-time on political games to make a personal score.

It will be interesting to see if the voters think the emails show Walker to be a classy man who only wanted what was best for Milwaukee residents, or if he was the calculating and highly driven political partisan that many claim him to be.

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