I'm fed up with scheming politicians and their senseless press releases. Case in point, Mark Neumann has demanded that Scott Walker reimburse the county because one of his aides, on county time, had posted partisan comments on the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel's website.
In a year's time, Darlene Wink posted about 70 comments on articles that pertained to Scott Walker, Tom Barrett, and Mark Neumann. I'm not sure how much time that would add up to, but it couldn't be much more than a few hours' pay. Neumann has also accused Walker of working part-time so he can campaign for governor. This last charge is rather fascinating.
Mark Neumann apparently has a memory problem. In 1995, when Neumann was a U.S. Congressman, he missed an extraordinary vote so he could hunt deer with his 13 year old son in northern Wisconsin. Neumann missed a vote that favored a GOP plan that would bring the federal budget into balance by 2002. Then Majority Leader Bob Dole called it the most important vote of his 34 year career. And similarly, Newt Gingrich stated that it was the most important vote in Congress since 1933.
That being said, it was either really bad timing on Neumann's part, or his hunting trip must have been the most important expedition in congressional history. But hey, one of Walker's aides spent a few hours posting on county time without Walker's knowledge or consent, so let's shoot out a press release demanding culpability and reparation.
In Neumann's most recent television ads, he takes credit for being among those in Congress who helped balance the federal budget in the 90s. But oddly enough, he missed the most climatic and budget-balancing vote in 70 years. Perhaps he should have mentioned that in his TV spot? "Hey folks, I'm Mark Neumann. And when I was in Congress, we balanced the budget. Vote for me, and I promise I will shake things up, but only after I make time to bond with my son in the northern woods of Wisconsin."
Just as interesting was Neumann's rationale for missing the key vote. Neumann said he was averaging 70 hours a week so he was entitled to a little time off. In contrast, a 7o hour work week is a bare minimum for Scott Walker. Keith Gilkes, Walker's campaign manager, said it best when he said that Walker works 24 hours a day, which requires him to have a cell phone in case of county emergencies - emergencies that don't really care what time at night it is or how many hours you worked in the previous week.
In 1998, Neumann was caught using taxpayer dollars to run advertisements that aired outside his congressional district. At the time, Neumann was running against Senator Russ Feingold for a U.S. Senate seat. He used his congressional account to pay for radio ads touting his political achievements. The point of interest, again, is that the ad aired outside his congressional district.
Keep in mind, Senate races are state-wide events meaning anyone in Wisconsin can vote for a Senator. In contrast, a candidate running for a House seat gets elected only on the basis of the district he represents. So, by running an ad that aired to voters outside Neumann's congressional district, local Democrats correctly inferred it was a thinly veiled attempt to promote his run for Senate. So the real question is, did Neumann reimburse the taxpayers? And if not, why is he demanding that Walker do it?
On April 29th, radio talk show host Charlie Sykes asked Neumann if he had ever threatened a party delegate saying he would run as an independent if the GOP grassroots didn't support his run for governor. Neumann hedged a bit. So Sykes asked again, and again, and again. Sykes was persistent. Previous to the interview, rumors had abounded that Neumann told Congressman Sensenbrenner he would run as an independent if he didn't get what he wanted. The move would be tantamount to splitting the GOP vote and guaranteeing that neither of them would become governor. Sykes asked Neumann the same question nearly 5 times. And finally, Neumann gave a definitive "no". So either Neumann is lying, or several of the party delegates are lying. Which is it, Mark?
Second, Milwaukee Journal reporter, Dan Bice, asked Neumann about a comment he made as a U.S Congressman when he said that if he were God for a day, homosexuality would not be permitted. Bice asked him if he stands by his earlier assertion, and Neumann again failed to provide a straight answer. Bice asked Neumann the same question several times, but again Neumann kept meandering. At one point, Neumann said, "You know, this is really fun because you asked this question more different ways than Charlie Sykes asks." Bice reported, "And yet the wannabe governor hadn't answered any of them (questions) directly."
And finally, when asked about Arizona's immigration law, Neumann refused to answer the question at all. What candidate for governor says, ah, I don't think I'll answer that question? At least Walker had the guts to answer the question although controversy ensued.
Perhaps Neumann doesn't remember hunting with his son or campaigning on taxpayer time. Perhaps he tried to answer those interview questions directly, but just doesn't know how. Or perhaps Neumann is just a hypocrite and a career-styled politician. Ultimately, you will have to decide.