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Saturday, October 11, 2014

Mary Burke Impressive In Debate Against Career Politician

While I was a little surprised that we did not hear the words "union bosses" and "moving forward" over and over from the flapping lips of Gov. Scott Walker, it was hard not to notice how his quirky little smiles, mannerisms and cadence immediately reminded me of one other politician - Ronald Reagan. Walker of course happens to be a huge fan of Reagan.

I've seen some "grades" handed out on social media for Walker's and Burke's performance in this debate that are more wishful thinking than accurate. You got to remember that Walker is a fast-talking extremely well-rehearsed "baby-kissing" career politician. In fact, he's too well rehearsed as several answers he gave were for questions that were never asked.

One example was a question asking what new ideas the candidates have for creating jobs with the questioner stressing, stressing that it should be about something that wasn't done before.

Walker basically said he's going to "go forward with things that have worked" meaning nothing new and it was done before, and that he doesn't want to go backward, meaning nothing new again. Doublespeak much? He then proceeded to rattle off old talking points about his opponent's jobs record under Gov. Doyle. That wasn't the question. He never answered the question simply because he didn't rehearse or have the notes for that particular question. His answer flowed smoothly, but it was for whatever rehearsal question that best fit the actual debate question. Walker also made the same sausage out of the minimum wage question.

The big difference I saw was that Mary Burke excelled at ad libbing. Her answers came across straight forward and without reservation. Her mistakes were honest. She wasn't perfect. But she was pretty damn good. And most importantly, Burke showed she is not a politician.

Considering Burke's and Walker's history, this being the first time Burke is on the big stage with lights glaring and cameras rolling - she did extremely well. I give her a solid B+ based on that criteria. But the "honeymoon" is now over. That means she needs to prepare twice as hard for the next debate. People will expect more and better next time under a more watchful and critical eye. The onus is all on Burke to finish it off.

Considering Walker's whole life revolves around politics, I'd give him an overall solid C and because his next appearance will likely drone on in the same bulletin points flatlining fashion, he won't do much better or worse. On the other hand, if we're grading the ability to avoid answering questions with glazed-over dead eyes precision in full monotone gobble-dee-gook surround without a single flinch - Scott Walker gets a AAA+.

I talked to a Walker-supporting conservative neighbor soon after the debate and asked what his first thought is about Burke. He seemed irritated but said, "she sounds like she really supports the little guy." He was not being sarcastic. The "little guy" connotation caught me by surprise.

Take that for what it's worth.

CSPAN - Video: Wisconsin governor’s full debate

The Political Environment - Burke has more than held her own against incumbent Governor

Democurmudgeon - Mary Burke smoked the elusive Scott Walker comeback

PoliticusUSA - Democrat Mary Burke Dominates Scott Walker In First Wisconsin Governor Debate

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