This is what you get when you hire one of the krack kadres of kampaign konsultants:
Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker pulled the plug on a bloated campaign that was headed into debt and was being undermined by furious donors, a warring staff and — at the root of it all — a candidate who was badly out of his league.
Prior to the governor’s abrupt exit from the Republican race, his campaign had a break-glass-in-case-of-emergency plan at the ready: Campaign manager Rick Wiley, in a half-hour phone interview with POLITICO on Tuesday night, said he had an “all-in Iowa” plan that would have moved the headquarters from Madison, Wisconsin, to Des Moines and cut the staff from about 85 to 20 as of Thursday. But Walker, floundering in debates and on the stump, was facing such a sudden drought in donations that even those drastic moves wouldn’t have guaranteed solvency.
“We built the machine that we needed to get a governor in just phenomenal shape to take a stage in a presidential debate,” Wiley said. “I think sometimes it’s lost on people the largeness of the job. I think people just look at it and say, ‘Wow! Yeah, you know, it’s like he’s a governor and he was in a recall’ and blah, blah, blah — he’s ready. It’s just not like that. It is really, really difficult. … I’m just saying, you know, like it’s a f—ing bitch, man. It really is.”
The racket known as “kampaign konsulting” is one of the great disgraces of the American political system. It’s something that needs to be exposed by every political journalist — except that they, too, are part of the racket. Like a bookie, a kampaign konsultant is a no-lose business; you get a hefty slice of the pie, and if the kampaign goes south, you can always blame the candidate instead of looking in the mirror.
Wiley blamed the size of the campaign partly on Walker’s newness to the national spotlight. “It takes a lot to build a campaign to run for president, especially around someone who is introduced to a new set of issues,” Wiley said. “Foreign policy — brand new. And just the dynamics of the federal issues are different, obviously. I mean, my God, this guy is a machine — I mean he really, truly is. But that takes staff, it takes time to do that. And we built the campaign that we needed to get him ready.”
“Everything was rolling, and then we just a hit a wall,” Wiley continued. “So, you know, I’m not sure there’s anything we could have done differently. I can go back and say, ‘OK, you know, could I have done without like three of the research kids who are continuing to fill in the Walker record?’ Maybe. Sure. But then maybe Walker research suffers.”
Wiley said he feels “really proud of taking Gov. Walker from one level to the other, to getting him ready to jump on that debate stage. … He did a great job.”
Easy for Wiley to say. If the Left, which hates Walker with a mad passion for besting them three times in four years in Wisconsin, had planted someone to destroy the Walker candidacy, they couldn’t have done a better job.