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Ron Radosh

tnr_walker_hit_piece_6-16-14-1

With its cover story on Gov. Scott Walker of Wisconsin, The New Republic has hit an all-time low. Written by TNR Senior Editor Alec Macgillis, it reads as a commissioned hit job meant to lessen Walker’s chances of entering the GOP presidential race.

Let’s start with the cover: superimposed over a photo of the governor standing by his desk is the title: “Scott Walker is So Hot Right Now: Too bad he owes his success to a toxic strain of Racial Politics.” Inside the issue, the title becomes: “The Unelectable Whiteness of Scott Walker: A Journey Through the Poisonous, Racially Divided World that Produced a Republican Star.”

What you will not find anywhere is a discussion of what led the electorate to not only vote for Scott Walker, but to elect him despite the combined opposition of the AFL-CIO, the Occupy movement, and the entire left-wing media. After all, why bother with facts when readers are told he is “unelectable”?

For those desiring to find out about Walker’s record and why he would make a strong Republican national candidate, you can find it summed up by Marc Thiessen in the Washington Post, and in a column I wrote last November.

Whatever the future holds for the governor, this story reveals something that was not TNR’s or the author’s intent. They are worried that Scott Walker has broad appeal and that he would make a formidable opponent. This article is meant to nip any Walker candidacy in the bud, and to assure that he will not even try to enter the race. In carrying out this task, journalist Macgillis has written an article devoid of any real charges of merit against Walker, and in which he brings up much that cannot be tied to Walker in any meaningful way.

What really irks TNR is not anything Macgillis brings up in the article, but Walker’s many accomplishments. The most important one, as they well know, was that he successfully took on the teachers’ union and public sector unions, whose tie-ins with Democrats assured them the kind of benefits private sector workers do not have and which worked to break the budget of the state government. By taking away their right to bargain over fringe benefits,  Walker took away the incentive for many teachers and public workers to stay in the union, and the ranks of those who belonged began to drop tremendously. Taxes were lowered, the state’s budget was brought into balance, and other conservative reforms were implemented. As Marc Thiessen wrote, “Walker has long found a way to appeal to the center while governing as a conservative.” And he actually received in his election as governor the votes of a large number of voters who also voted for Barack Obama.

That kind of success puts a scare into TNR’s left-leaning editors.

So what does Macgillis actually write that supposedly damns Walker? A good part of his story is an intelligent portrayal of demographic changes that took place long before Walker was in politics. Simply put, whites left the city of Milwaukee for the suburbs, and African-Americans moved in. The result was a split city. From the ’60s to the ’90s, the black population shot up tremendously, to 30 percent of the population. That figure increased to 40 percent by 2014. This coincided, Macgillis notes, with the collapse of the industrial base and the disappearance of manufacturing jobs they once had, so that today “it has the second-highest black poverty rate in the United States.”

What does any of this have to do with Scott Walker, who became governor after all this had occurred? Nothing at all.

Moreover, the kind of educational reforms Walker supports are precisely the kinds of things that would help the black underclass receive a better education and gain a chance for their children to work their way out of the poverty of their parents’ generation.

Macgillis cannot come up with anything racist, at all, that Walker said which might feed white hostility towards African-Americans. Since he cannot, his answer is guilt by association.

He spends a good part of his piece attacking two talk-radio hosts who broadcast in Milwaukee, Mark Belling and Charlie Sykes. Their impact is profound, he claims, and he links as an example the loss of the chances of two moderate Republicans running in a primary election to these broadcasters’ opposition to them. How is Walker tied to them? Walker ran, he says, after the result of their power, when white Milwaukee was receptive to “anti-Obama ferver,” and Walker won a primary in which another conservative had been originally favored as a result of the radio hosts’ endorsement of Walker.

And why is any of this racist?

Macgillis gives the answer by saying Walker’s base is in the suburbs. Since Milwaukee is where the blacks live —  and they did not vote for him — this proves that Walker is a racist, and the white man’s candidate.

tnr_walker_hit_piece_6-16-14-2

TNR’s Caption: “Scott Walker is So Hot Right Now. Too bad he owes his success to a toxic strain of racial politics.”

In that case, any whites who vote differently than African-Americans, most of whom are solidly and predictably Democrats, are also racists. What this proves is that when push comes to shove, the Left’s answer to conservative solutions advocated by men like Scott Walker is to condemn the conservative as a racist. Oh yes, he also cites e-mails written by an anonymous person that included a racist joke, which Walker’s chief of staff forwarded to someone. He adds that Walker fired two of his staff for making offensive comments. He does not add the obvious: this act alone shows that Walker is not racist, and got rid of staff members who he thought were.

Walker’s other offense is that he regularly was in touch with the two talk-radio hosts who were on his side, shared e-mails with Sykes, and has appeared on his and Belling’s radio programs. And, horror of horrors, Walker’s speaks in a nasal tone, made worse when he spoke at Wisconsin’s Republican convention because he had a cold, and gave a “pedestrian” speech which the author acknowledges the crowd loved. Walker, he says, thinks he is ready for the national scene. MacGillis’ conclusion: he is not, and cannot get the necessary votes “beyond the same shrinking pool of voters that Romney drew on.”

So a man who managed to stand up to scores of disorderly and extremely vocal and angry protestors, went to work pushing to his office through the hundreds who took up every public space in the state’s capitol building, and was calm throughout — this man supposedly cannot stand up to the attacks that would be brought against him were he to be nominated, and he cannot get the votes of people who are independent or not aligned with either political party.

Macgillis also mocks Walker’s religious beliefs. He chides Walker for at times comparing himself to Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr, “noting that they were both sons of Baptist ministers,” and that Walker told his college yearbook “I really think there’s a reason why God put all these political thoughts in my head.” Secularists may find that off-putting and silly, but for one who is a serious believer, it does not appear that way.

And Martin Luther King Jr. developed his motivation for activism from his own belief in religious precepts, something that does not occur to Macgillis, and if it did, he would never mock it.

Even more egregious than Macgillis’ article are the captions in the accompanying photos. One shows a young school photo of Walker, captioned: “The future Republican darling in high school.” Another says he has “been ensconced in a bubble of adulation,” clearly contradicted by Walker’s full knowledge of the fury of his opponents.

Whether or not Scott Walker runs will not be determined by TNR’s hit job. It will depend on whether or not Walker wins re-election in November’s gubernatorial race, and by whether his win, if it occurs, is by a high margin. Then, should he decide to enter the race, he will indeed be a formidable challenger to the other Republican contenders. Should he win over the competition, he would be a strong Republican nominee who could also pose a serious challenge to Hillary Clinton.

Top Rated Comments   
And why is any of this racist?

Because "racist" now means "anything that leads people to vote Republican".
9 weeks ago
9 weeks ago Link To Comment
Great piece.

One more fact to be factored in: The New Republic is no big deal anymore and desperate to catch up. Their website is far behind such sites as National Review and PJ Media in traffic - and who reads magazines in print form anymore outside the dentists office? No one's paying attention to this once significant voice. So to attract readers they have to go for the throat and write idiotic nonsense like this attack on Walker as a racist. In the process they look like fools and are morally disgusting, but they get clicks.
9 weeks ago
9 weeks ago Link To Comment
Ron,
I appreciate you reviewing this hit job, as has Ann Althouse, so I did not have to actually bother with reading it through. I will not apologize for that. It is not worth reading, for reasons you make clear. It really is not even about Scott Walker. I did get through the first four paragraphs and then I simply left this message in the TNR comments section. I think I'd like to post it here as well.

To TNR
I lived in Wisconsin from 1965 until last year. This piece is totally absurd in every way. It is also, frankly, disgusting, making as it does a racist appeal even more appalling than Belling's childish ridiculing of Gwen Moore. "Unelectible Whiteness"? You think that's clever? You think that is anything other than hateful and bigoted? Hard to believe you are all that obtuse, but so be it. As for the rest of this piece, no one need go further than your first four paragraphs to see what the game is here. The game is McCarthyite guilt by association in its most blatant and despicable form. Belling's moment is first presented as if it represents anything, which it does not, not even for Belling. Then Walker is introduced as going on the Belling show. "A" associates with "B" = whiteness = racism. Well, I charge YOU with racism. If there ever were a chance I would pay a cent for your magazine, it went up in smoke with this piece of drek. You are finishing off the once proud reputation of this home of some of the greatest political analysts of the liberal center. Gone, gone, gone.
9 weeks ago
9 weeks ago Link To Comment
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All Comments   (33)
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As of now, Walker is my choice because of what he took on- and that took courage.
9 weeks ago
9 weeks ago Link To Comment
TNR should know about toxic racial environment as that's exactly the environment that they and the rest of the left have created with their overt and despicable McCartyism.
9 weeks ago
9 weeks ago Link To Comment
Walker seems an effective and popular governor. Thank you for summarizing
New Republic's article so I can pass it by. Sometimes I read New Republic and sometimes Salon out of curiosity but quickly tire of the negativity.
9 weeks ago
9 weeks ago Link To Comment
Yikes, TNR must be very afraid Walker is on a March to the White House if they're going all in on this hit piece.

Congratulations to TNR for sinking to Salon.com levels of white bashing.
9 weeks ago
9 weeks ago Link To Comment
http://www.raymondibrahim.com/islam/obama-accused-of-crimes-against-humanity/

According to Egyptian newspaper El Watan, a group of Egyptian lawyers has submitted a complaint charging U.S. president Barrack Hussein Obama with crimes against humanity at the International Criminal Court.

The complaint charges Obama of being an accessory to the Muslim Brotherhood, which incited widespread violence in Egypt both before and after the June 30 Revolution.

http://shoebat.com/2013/12/13/report-hillary-clinton-collaborated-mursis-wife-2/

Another complaint has reportedly been filed with Egypt’s Attorney General, Hisham Barakat. According to multiple Arabic sources (Al Wafd and Vetogate among them), this one is said to allege that the wife of ousted President Mohammed Mursi not only admitted in an interview with Turkey’s Anatolia news agency that she sought to excite domestic insurrections to overthrow Abdel Fatah Al-Sisi but that she collaborated with Hillary Clinton.
9 weeks ago
9 weeks ago Link To Comment
continuing from my OP earlier... Thanks for bearing with me on this.
______

Almost nothing could be more toxic just then to the upcoming election than a close identification in the public's eye between Obama and Ayers and his politics.

The DOS was a dirty trick on the Nixonian slime scale, and the host of DOS clone calls that did get through parroted the same three lines: "Kurtz is an evil man; WGN is abetting evil by having him on Rosenberg's show; and that therefore WGN's broadcast license must now be revoked by the FCC."

Rosenberg, for his part was just flabbergasted: in three or four decades of broadcasting, he had never been subject to a DOS attack on his call-in lines, and he was rendered almost speechless. Possibly the program can still be accessed online (it was up for at least the following six month) from the WGN website.

It should also be mentioned that the Obama campaign was invited, yea strongly encouraged, by Rosenberg to send a spokesperson to join the program with Kurtz. The campaign not-so-politely declined, claiming they had "insufficient time to prepare" a proper riposte to Kurtz's likely points.

Again, total sound of crickets on that episode from the mainstream media. Including, not least, the Chicago Tribune, nor —to my knowledge— from any other WGN commentators.

This was really an indicator of what the Obamazoids had in store for us...

Also this recent New Yorker chronicled flap about NJ Gov. Christie and ex-Newark mayor, now NJ senator, Corey Booker somehow getting Facebook zillionaire Mark Zuckerberg to drop $100 million into Newark's disastrous public schools, with about the same positive outcome as the Chicago Annenberg Challenge might have never happened had the CAC debacle ever seen the light of day.
9 weeks ago
9 weeks ago Link To Comment
I read it, and I get that it was SUPPOSED to be a hit piece, but it left me confused. As you said there were just unrelated single points of information thrown out like they would mean something. And I actually came away happy because I kept expecting it to somehow come together in the end. And instead I just sat there thinking "THIS is the best they can do?!"

They were obviously trying to pull everything they could to smear him, and they hit things like 'He wore a suit to class like Alex P. Keaton!' and 'He's bizzarrely calm in the face of opposition!' It's actually funny.
9 weeks ago
9 weeks ago Link To Comment
Oh, and his PARENTS ARE PROUD OF HIM! And there is an undercurrent of 'the family is lame' that I picked up on.
9 weeks ago
9 weeks ago Link To Comment
I've posted this recently at several other sites, and originally in 2008 and on occasion since, so my apologies if you're ODing on it by now... Also the CAC was a Chicago Schools District improvement initiative with an extremely "progressive" ideological tilt. It sank without a ripple. Orwell's Memory Hole!
______
Chris Hughes, who now owns the venerable New Republic outright, was one of the original FaceBook developers which led in due course to him becoming a wealthy fellow indeed.

He was also in charge, during the run-up to the 2008 elections, of all the Social Media projects at the Obama for President campaign's national HQ in Chicago.

A few weeks before the November ballot date, Mr. Hughes either was or was not personally behind Obama HQ's organized denial-of-service (DOS) attack on the call-in phone lines for old-line liberal prof. Milt Rosenberg's radio talk show, when Rosenberg was interviewing nasty wingnut polemicist Stanley Kurtz, Ph. D., who had just finished researching the archives of the Chicago Annenberg Challenge (CAC) held in the library at the University of Illinois, Chicago: a public institution assuredly not to be confused with the very private University of Chicago.

The CAC board was headed by the egregious silver-spoon revolutionary Wm. Ayers; allegedly, "just some guy from the neighborhood", who had handpicked Barack Obama to be its Director throughout the three-year (?) project period. Indeed, that was Obama's sole executive position ever, prior to his entering electoral politics.

Ayers was then still on the UIC faculty, and likely may have instigated the abortive attempt by the UIC Library to withdraw its earlier permission to Kurtz to access the stacks, which collapsed when the center-right blogosphere got wind of that ploy... Although never a word on it appeared in the mainstream media (not least, in the Chicago Tribune, which was and is the owner of WGN).

The terms of the CAC's fund-raising required an uncharacteristically robust post-facto evaluation of the project, which concluded that essentially the $120 million (!) of public and private money raised and spent spent by the CAC went nearly entirely down the toilet.
9 weeks ago
9 weeks ago Link To Comment
TNR circulation is about 50,000 people, every single one of them a liberal. Their website traffic is nominal compared to others in the liberal sphere, infinitesimal compared to Drudge. Nobody reads them, the guy with the Facebook money has a vanity project and no one else is looking.
Yawn..........
9 weeks ago
9 weeks ago Link To Comment
It is a biased article, interesting but hardly a hit piece. When Time or National Review or Daily Caller or even PJ writes an article critical of a candidate, is it a hit piece? Walker is ok, far more a divider than a uniter, but can never win the presidency. Why? He has no post-secondary degree. Right or wrong, it will be a disqualifier.
9 weeks ago
9 weeks ago Link To Comment
Obama went to Columbia, JFK went to Harvard, so it's a bit of a wash.

Cheers
9 weeks ago
9 weeks ago Link To Comment
Walker ... can never win the presidency. Why? He has no post-secondary degree. Right or wrong, it will be a disqualifier.

????

If that's a problem in this race, it will be the first time it's ever been mentioned in a Presidential contest.

9 weeks ago
9 weeks ago Link To Comment
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