To paraphrase the esteemed Dr. Seuss, “Mark W. Neumann, will you please go now!”
This is the overwhelming cry from the Wisconsin Republican Party, GOP heavyweights and now Neumann’s own supporters. It is time for Neumann to “Just go… I don’t care how.”
Neumann wants to be governor, but has run his campaign aground by lodging attacks against Scott Walker and ignoring his real opponent – Tom Barrett.
That strategy led one of his earliest supporters, James Klauser, torescind his endorsement and ask for the return of a $10,000 donation that he made to the Neumann campaign. Klauser reminded Neumann of Ronald Reagan’s “11th commandment” – never attack a fellow party member – and chastised him for staging stunts at the GOP convention.
Just last week another party big-wig, Bill McCoshen, praised Klauser for his rebuke and said “there are things the party can do” to end Neumann’s campaign. While McCoshen’s email didn’t specify exactly what those things were, it is obvious Neumann has overstayed his welcome.
Neumann began his campaign in 2009 with a lot of goodwill from his previous service as the state’s 1st District Congressman. In Washington from 1993-99, Neumann was a member of the “Contract with America” freshman class and regularly pushed for the spending cuts that led to a balanced budget in 1999. But he pushed his own party so far, refusing to vote for funding troops in Bosnia because they wouldn’t add his amendment, that the GOP leadership removed him from the national security subcommittee
Neumann is a fine, upstanding guy. He attends church regularly, has a beautiful family, an eco-friendly home construction business and is the owner of four choice schools. But get him in a campaign and he turns into a different person. He is narrowly focused on his ideas, refuses to move off his position and has been known to even yell at constituents and supporters at public hearings. He’s a scrapper and sometimes he scrapes people the wrong way.
That’s what has happened in this campaign.
Even though it would appear that Walker has been running his 2010 gubernatorial campaign since he dropped out of the race in 2006, Neumann had a chance to sway voters with his own personal piggy bank and big party supporters. But he started out campaigning against Jim Doyle and then Tom Barrett, and the Republican Party’s love affair with Walker hurt him. Frankly, it drove him over the edge.
He pulled out of the competition for the party’s official endorsement and then plied the media with a fake story that the state GOP was barring his supporters from entering the convention last month. He has accused Walker of not being a fiscal conservative, and also of being weak on Second Amendment gun rights, especially concealed carry– all while standing in a Green Bay airport with his grandfather’s hunting rifle. (Check out the picture of it)
Last week Neumann told a local blogger that he disagreed with the Supreme Court ruling which allows corporations and unions to advocate for the election or defeat of candidates for federal office, as long as they don’t coordinate with campaigns or political parties. Agreement with this ruling is a touchstone for conservatives and Neumann (who is campaigning as the “true conservative” for governor) blew it out of the water.
“I think they should shut down every outside source of information in this campaign except the candidates themselves…” Neumann told Christian Schneider of the Wisconsin Policy Research Institute. “That’s not constitutional so we obviously can’t do that. But if Mark Neumann got to have what he wished, that’s what would happen, sir.”
Wow. For a conservative candidate that’s a pretty liberal statement. Entrusting the federal government to determine what is and is not proper political speech? Sounds like Neumann has gone ’round the bend.
Neumann vows to fight on, to allow the voters to determine his fate in the September primary. In a recentRasmussen Poll, he still polls higher than Barrett, showing he has a shot against the presumed Democratic candidate. However, he still trails Walker for the Republican nod.
Staying in is a noble idea, but the longer Neumann stays, the harder it will be for Walker to get to Madison. While Walker has held the high road against Neumann’s attacks, he will have to answer them soon, lest voters begin to believe Neumann’s lies. Once that happens, the money and vitriol will flow, potentially leaving Barrett above the fray and clean in the eyes of voters.
Dr. Seuss once told Art Buchwald that Marvin K. Mooney Will You Please Go Now was his only political book. Here is Buchwald’s take on the Seuss classic.