As much as I'd like to express political omnipotence, I was surprised by Ron Johnson's overwhelming victory at the GOP convention on Sunday. Leinenkugel didn't have the spark from the beginning, that was pretty clear. But what about Madison's own TWall? Our boy had been campaigning since last summer. He shook all the right hands, said all the right things and he apparently tried to call all the right people in the lead-up to the convention. According to Wispolitics, Wall talked up the importance of the endorsement much more than other candidates. Ouch. What happened?
According to Scot Ross, whose description in today's Cap Times was strikingly close to what I witnessed when I ran into him on State St yesterday, Wall's lack of income taxes doomed him politically. Another Democratic strategist I talked to told me that the constant barrage of criticism the Democratic Party and other liberal organizations lodged at Wall stuck, leaving elites of the GOP to view TWall as damaged goods.
Frankly, I was surprised the GOP would see the income tax questions as more damaging than Wall's past contributions to Democrats (to be fair, he has given much more to the GOP). As painful as it is to get off-message and give an explanation for the taxes, an explanation does exist. However, there is no explanation for giving money to Democrats that would satisfy Republican primary voters. "That's just how we do business," wouldn't elicit a lot of sympathy from Tea Partiers.
After Wall got crushed at the Convention, he put out a statement criticizing Ron Johnson, saying he was "Jim Doyle's favorite candidate," because he was endorsed by Dick Leinenkugel:
"Ron Johnson is locking up an elite voting bloc. Republicans that Jim Doyle likes. Trust me, this is a group of people we are willing to let him win," Murray said, "A lot of Republicans are now wondering if a guy with no moral compass is backing Ron Johnson's campaign, what does it say about Johnson?"
the charges Dems are levying against Johnson for taking down Wall posters at the GOP convention. In all honesty, Johnson is probably right when he says it was the end of the convention and the signs weren't needed anymore, but it looks bad anyway.
Why not? I'm sure Glenn Beck would dig it.