Barrett must look to himself for guidance on Governors race

Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett may very well be the nicest guy in politics. Unfortunately nice guys sometimes finish last. As Barrett balances his decision on whether or not to make another run for Governor he needs to assess whether he is willing to get down in the mud and scrap with the well known mudslinger — incumbent Governor Scott Walker.

Walker has big money allies that will throw a lot of mud. They will keep throwing it until they find something that their pollsters believe will stick.

Barrett needs to return fire and he needs to return it hard. If Walker lies, Barrett must be willing to say that Walker is a liar. If Barrett can not stand in front of a crowd of people and say “Scott Walker is a liar”, he should not run.

Barrett has been truthful in his dealings with both businesses and the community. Walker has not. But truth is often not something that matters in Wisconsin.

This race cannot be solely won on Barrett’s experience or integrity. It must be won by matching everything that Walker claims with a response. It will be expensive and exhausting.

But if Barrett wants to win, this is the time. Republicans are being exposed nationally for their extremist views and Walker is no exception. Walker’s claims that his policies of cutting taxes for millionaires (repackaged of course into something that doesn’t sound nearly as straight forward) will help. It has not. Wisconsin is dead last in job growth — even worse than another state that hates taxes; Mississippi.

Barrett needs to highlight these flaws if he hopes to win.

For now, the only candidates who are planning to run are former Dane County Executive Kathleen Falk and State Senator Kathleen Vinehout. Neither candidate has generated much excitement among democrats. Barrett’s entry into the race would change that dramatically.

The political tide is favoring democrats and Barrett could ride that tide, better than either Falk or Vinehout. The facts are that voters are frustrated. Barrett could use that frustration to his benefit but he has to decide if he’s willing to be a scrapper. Simply showing up and decrying what is right and what is wrong will not work when fighting Walker.

Walker will enter the race as he always has — brandishing any weapon he can find and recruiting any thug he can to do the dirty work for him. If Barrett isn’t willing to meet weapon with weapon he should continue to serve as Mayor of Milwaukee where he does a great job and is appreciated for his efforts.



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