Does Terrence Wall want to run for Herb Kohl's seat in 2012, or is he just plain mad? This rambling, three page whopper he wrote for IBMadison accuses Ron Johnson and the Republican Party of everything short of kidnapping. Bribery, coercion, vote-fraud and good ol' fashioned lying are some of the charges the real estate mogul makes against the Oshkosh plastics manufacturer and his allies.
What is puzzling is that amidst all the dirty practices Wall alleges took place at the RPW Convention in May, the first one he chooses to discuss was the Johnson campaign's wooing of his staffers:
While I was busy shaking hands and greeting people around the state, Ron Johnson's team was readying its bag of dirty tricks, starting with hiring away my direct-mail vendor, who told my manager: "Financially, I stand to make a lot more from Johnson." (Here was my first mistake; not insisting that my manager follow through on my request to have my vendors sign non-compete contracts.)
The next dirty trick came in the form Johnson's team trying to hire away my staff while at the convention with job offers that just might come with above-market compensation, backed by rumors that Johnson committed to spend $8 million of his own money.
It's not a particularly good reflection of Wall's campaign and message if his staffers will easily take other positions for more money. There are mercenaries on every campaign, but for Wall to admit that his message and character won't compel even his own employees to commit to him is not politically wise. And it is easy for Johnson and the RPW to dismiss it by saying "Sour Grapes."
This part is an interesting commentary on political consultancy, a business that politicians rarely acknowledge:
Here's the deal: Those consultants find a candidate who can self-finance the campaign, and then the candidate hires those same consultants for ridiculous pay, and in exchange, they agree to get him elected without the candidate having to put in all the hard work a grassroots candidate would have to do. This is the story of how these professionals went to work to buy a state party endorsement.
OK. Probably correct. But why is Wall any different? The guy is a multimillionaire! In fact, the reason so many Republicans chose to defect from his campaign was likely the revelation that he was so rich but had nevertheless avoided income taxes for many years.
If the Ron Johnson campaign turns out to be a disaster, maybe Republicans will look back at this column and Wall will become a hero. For right now though, Wall looks like an attention-hungry sore loser.