Endowment of well timed endorsements
Today the brands of the anointed beneficent pick front runners…just sayin.
Most people no longer remember William Proxmire. He was a popular U.S. Senator in Wisconsin who replaced the infamous Joe McCarthy in a special election in 1957 and was reelected in 1958, 1964, 1970, 1976 and 1982. His re-elections were always achieved by wide margins, including 71% of the vote in 1970, 73% in 1976 and 65% in 1982, when he ran for a fifth six-year term.
Proxmire would ride through all of the small towns and villages of Wisconsin and ask the people in barber shops, coffee shops and stores a single question, “How am I doing?”. I know this because I was standing to the left of my own father in our family furniture store in Independence, Wisconsin on Summer day when Proxmire walked in. I heard him pose that question to my Dad with a smile and a hand shake.
Since that time, and year by year, political contact has crept from face to face, personal interaction to an anonymous and slick virtual sort of contact with more of a branded entity than a human candidate. Meet Mary Burke.
Never have I seen a candidate erupt from nowhere to be anointed as sole front runner as has Mary Burke in the past couple of months. Yet, who has had a chance to shake her hand? Progress?
Burke “Brand” for Governor
Most people had never heard of, “Along comes Mary” when the Democratic Party of Wisconsin cleared a path, one press release at a time, to set up Mary Burke as their uncontested candidate for governor in 2014. The hot Burke branding iron hit the hide of many progressives like a searing burn on the behind since she was being endorsed out of turn by the head of the Wisconsin Dems, Mike Tate. Slap and what?
Before Mary “Bike” had shaken a hand, a string of well timed endorsements have been rolled out like one of those sneaky marketing ploys where a message is played out by a series of “Burma Shave” signs from the Proxmire era. Now, you did not read the message as you passed in your family station wagon, but now you passed the evolving message on face book and You Tube. Wow. How slick! How professional!
First Mary “Bike” was endorsed by the women-in-office advocacy group, Emily’s List. How did this happen? Were you asked your opinion? Did you get a survey? Who, how, and why was this decided. Just askin.
Just yesterday she was endorsed by “Planned Parenthood” and appeared as a guest on the Rachel Maddow on MSNBC last night as “the candidate” to run against Scott Walker in 2014. Ok. Fine, but how did all this happen? Mary’s name began to ascend into the talking points of MSNBC pundits as “the candidate” over the past few weeks with all the frequency of the messaging on those “Burma Shave” signs William Proxmire once passed when he was out shaking the hands of the people of Wisconsin.
Nothing against Mary “Bike” Burke, but…
Get out of the board room and shake some hands. The only poll of the people shows that Kathleen Vinehout is equally as viable as a candidate to beat Scott Walker, even though she has yet to be branded and endorsed by Emily, Rachel, and Planned Parenthood. Most of all, the people of Wisconsin have been pushed and pulled around by the money enhanced messaging and branding of Scott Walker for over two years. Enough!
Perhaps, voters are ready for a good, old-fashioned, hand-shakin, back-slappin campaign of face to face, walking and talking with questions like, “How am I doing?”. So far, Mary “Bike” is coming off as a slick branded message from insiders who are not asking the people for a vote, but telling the people who to vote for. Maybe that can work, but considering the secretive messaging from the Walker crowd in the past two years, I question the insider, down your throat, branding approach to politics as a less-than-effective choice. Kathleen?