Unforced Errors

The speculation about a 2016 presidential run by Gov. Scott Walker is heating up.  Which means more attention to all-things Walker, whether it be his comments on who the GOP should choose as a nominee, or something as seemingly-minor as what a campaign staffer types-up.

Such was the case this week, when a fundraising e-mail from the Walker gubernatorial campaign asked supporters that "Instead of venturing into the cold this Black Friday, stay in and give your children a gift that will keep on giving" -- a donation to Scott Walker.  In and of itself, not terrible -- heck, Barack Obama did something similar in the past -- but with that sort of phrasing (Christmas, children, gifts, etc.), it was prone to getting the attention of liberals...and it sure did.  First Think Progress, then the Ed Show and not-as-liberal outlets like the New York Daily News.  Even conservative pundit John Podhoretz of the New York Post found it stupid.

Then comes word that a Walker staffer published offensive personal tweets about Latinos.  This ain't the sort of connection you want when you're trying to reach out to Latino causes and the Republican Party as a whole has major issues with the most-significant growing demo in the nation.  The staffer, Deputy Finance Director Taylor Palmisano, was let go...who, it turns out, also wrote the Christmas gift fundraising e-mail.  In a weird way, there was one silver lining to the whole thing -- two problems taken care of with one firing.

These are the sort of unforced errors Scott Walker's going to need to avoid if he wants to be the 2016 GOP nominee for president.  On their own, neither of these stories would make much of a dent on Walker's prospects.  Yet as the national media scrunity increases as we move closer to 2016, the feeding frenzies over morsels of campaign fodder get steadily-more intense (this happens to candidates of both parties all the time).  If these stories break two years from now -- when we're within weeks of the Iowa caucus -- they become national headlines at Politico instead of burgeoning mostly in the liberal media sphere.

Scott Walker has shown he can run a high-quality political campaign.  He needs to make the quality several-times higher still to win on a much, much larger stage than that provided by Wisconsin.  He better make sure his staff doesn't give any gifts to a media waiting with eager anticipation.