It's never too early to start caving to pressure from the early primary states. In a move that seemed to inspire little confidence among countless conservatives and Republican observers on social media Tuesday, Wisconsin Governor and presumed presidential candidate Scott Walker's digital strategist Liz Mair resigned from her post just one day after it was announced. Why, pray tell? Because she irritated some members of the state GOP in Iowa with a couple prickly tweets, both about the state's dependence on ethanol subsidies, and its outsized political status (by virtue of the Iowa caucuses, the first major event of every presidential primary season).
Both tweets were sent months prior to the announcement she'd be coming on as a Walker aide, to be clear. Had Mair taken shots at Iowa while on-staff, her judgment would at least be subject to fair questioning. After all, Iowa might be the most pandered-to state in the union, relative to its size, population, and the predictive qualities of its political preferences.
In fact, I feel safe in saying it is the most pandered-to state, because a major Republican contender in Walker — a rock star to countless conservatives for his anti-union politics, however dismal that may sound to the pro-labor left — was willing to cut his freshly-minted, highly regarded strategist purely to placate them. To be clear, the caucuses are still more than ten months away. And if Walker's choice of campaign staff was going to dissuade Iowa voters, well, he probably wasn't bound do that well in the first place.
Basically, those two tweets were enough to turn Mair from someone who could've helped Walker secure the Republican nomination to someone who he was willing to drop flat. Obviously, there's no way to know yet whether this was a right or wrong move. Maybe I'm the one who's wrong! Maybe Iowa voters, the state party, or some combination of both are so thin-skinned that their presidential picks boil down to how well a campaign strategist pandered to them, before she was even being paid to.
But it's not exactly a great look for Walker, whose political reputation is at least partially built on his rigid refusal to compromise or back down from his anti-union politics and policies in his home state. And nothing looks more like "backing down" than cutting ties with a new campaign staffer days after signing her on because the Hawkeye State told you so. It'll be interesting to see how this plays out for Walker, and for Mair, too — she tweeted early Wednesday morning that her firm "has other clients," including one she expected to start working for today.
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