politics republican style

FOX Debate Republican Idol

Trying to mend fences with Wisconsin governor Scott Walker, public employees’ unions sent condolences to Walker Friday afternoon after his performance in Thursday night’s GOP debate on Fox News.

The union’s ranks were decimated after it lost a bitter battle with Walker, who passed laws limiting collective bargaining rights in the state, costing many their jobs and livelihoods.

But union members decided it was olive branch time after they tuned into the debate and witnessed, along with millions of Americans, a big show from Donald Trump — and an even bigger dud from Walker.

“We felt his pain, and felt like it is time to bury the hatchet,” said Union representative Elvin Tate, sipping a beer in a Milwaukee pub Friday afternoon.

“We all watched and cringed. It was awful. I just kept waiting for Donald Trump to interrupt him by saying something even more banal and inept, but that didn’t happen. He just kept going on and on like a talking point zombie.”

The union sent flowers to Walkers’ home and a few boxes of candy to his campaign headquarters.

A woman who answered the phone at Walker headquarters Friday afternoon confirmed the office got the condolence note and box of chocolates, but she refused to identify herself.

“If I could say something, I don’t know what to say,” she said. “It’ like my dog got run over by a school bus. The kids are OK, but your dog is dead, and so you’re conflicted. You don’t know whether to be angry or relieved.”

The note said, simply: “Scott: As we know better than most, you can’t win them all. Our feelings go out to your family and loved ones. Local 317.”

At one point Walker was the darling of the right wing GOP for his budget-cutting and union – bashing battles in Wisconsin which he has promised to take to Washington if elected.

But, when Trump jumped in the race Walker’s luminescence seem to fade. Thursday was supposed to be the night he reignited his campaign. Instead, it was clunker after clunker for the suddenly not-so-firebrand governor.

The press was quick to pounce.

The Borowitz Report reported Friday that Walker “has emerged as a leading candidate to manage an Enterprise Rent-A-Car branch,” based on his debate performance.

During the debate, Walker ducked a question about police violence in America against blacks. In another exchange, he sounded insensitive to pregnant women whose lives are at risk.

When Fox moderator Megyn Kelly asked him “Would you really let a mother die rather than have an abortion?” he fell back on his campaign policy script.

“Well, I’m pro-life, I’ve always been pro-life, and I’ve got a position that I think is consistent with many Americans out there,” he said.

Before the debate, many analysts figured Trump would eventually pull out and it would come down to a battle between Walker and former Fla. Gov. Jeb Bush for the nomination. But you could hear the air fizzling out of that story line late Friday afternoon.

Walker, of course, wasn’t the only GOP under-performer to get condolence flowers Friday, according to a spokesman for FTD florists, who declined to name names.

“But, as a hypothetical, I can’t imagine Sen. Ted Cruz’s office doesn’t look like a funeral parlor today, can you?” he said. “I mean, did you watch?”

Image: “FOX Debate Republican Idol” by DonkeyHotey via his flickr photo stream and used under a Creative Commons license.
Jeffry Scott

Jeffry Scott

Jeffry Scott is a former staff reporter for the Atlanta Journal-Constitution where, over the course of 24 years, he covered two of the biggest trials in the city's history -- the racketeering trial of former mayor Bill Campbell, and the trial of courthouse shooter, Brian Nichols -- and wrote features on travel, food, politics, movies, TV and advertising, and covered breaking news on the metro desk. He left the paper two years ago and is living, quite happily, in St. Petersburg, Fla., as a freelance writer.