Jim Klauser is an odd figure in Wisconsin politics. He was Tommy Thompson's secretary of administration and an important adviser. It was undoubtedly not his position that made him such an influential figure in the GOP, but his ties to other Republicans, notably the governor himself. A Karl Rove type.
While there are all kinds of people like this in politics behind-the-scenes types with little public recognition but a lot of party clout Klauser is different in that he regularly gets media attention and an important player in state politics. For instance, his endorsement of Mark Neumann last year was reported on as a major boost to the fledgling campaign, and showed that not all of the GOP establishment was behind Walker just yet.
Similarly, when Klauser switched sides, it was a sign that the establishment had given up on Neumann. Recently, Klauser released an open letter condemning Neumann for his anti-Walker campaign.
Today I write to you as I am aghast at where your campaign has gone. You are violating the Reagan commandment [Thou shalt not speak ill of another Republican].
The event you "staged" at the Republican convention was phony and hollow. I watched in amazement your shallowness and contrivance. You well know, since you were the Republican candidate in 5 elections (2 you won, 3 you lost), that guests are allowed "inside" if they register and pay the appropriate fee. At this convention I arranged for several people to so observe. Your claim of outsider, not being allowed in, was staged and phony.
...My dad always told me to sell myself; not to knock down the other fellow. I expect yours did as well. You're not following that sage guidance
I hope you stop; you are only helping the democrats. It is time for you to leave the field before your integrity is permanently besmirched.
In any event I must ask you to return the contributions which Shirley and I have made to your campaign. You obtained them under the false pretense that you would run a positive campaign focusing on the liberal democrats.
Haha. I love politics. Some of that letter is probably genuine. Contrived is an apt description of the attacks Neumann makes on Walker. But it would also accurately describe much of Klauser's letter as well, especially the stern words from his father. It's much more likely that Mark Neumann means absolutely everything he says than it is that Klauser is against "knocking down the other fellow."
Especially since he concludes by expressing regret that Neumann didn't "run a positive campaign focusing on the liberal Democrats," meaning that he apparently equates positive with attacks on members of the other party. But that's a party hack for you.
Cory Liebman predicts the flaunting of establishment credentials by Klauser could backfire on the Walker campaign. Frankly, Klauser's letter could play right into Neumann's strategy.