by Abe Sauer
Wow is it cold out. The deer must think the same thing as I haven’t seen a thing: http://t.co/7oVGxC7dK3
— Governor Walker (@GovWalker) November 25, 2013
“Like riding my Harley and watching the Packers, going hunting is one of my favorite Wisconsin traditions.” — The office of Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker.
The attempt to sell Scott Walker as the anti-Chris Christie has begun in earnest. One angle of this is for Walker’s new best friend, Washington Post columnist and Walker biography co-author Marc Thiessen to frame the governor as of an entirely different temperament then Christie.1 (Can you guess in what way?)
But an entirely different strategy is to frame the cheeseheaded governor as a man of the outdoors, a true hunter — just like Sarah Palin.
On Monday, Walker tweeted a selfie. Wrapped in hunter orange, the governor complained that the deer must hate the cold as much as he does. Walker tweeted the selfie about the frigid, deer-less cold from his personal account as well. Even more boldly, Walker is selling himself as a seasoned hunter without even setting foot in a field or zipping up a shred of Boehner orange. Early in November, Walker traveled to Virginia to campaign on behalf of part-time Cialis model and Virginia gubernatorial candidate Ken Cuccinelli. It was a doomed venture but Walker’s team did manage to sucker Politico to state as fact that Walker had cancelled his planned bow-hunt to campaign for Virginia’s Touch Of Grey® spokesman.
Unless it has disappeared, Walker has never tweeted from a hunt before. (A request to his office for a clarified accounting of Governor Walker’s hunting experience was not answered.) And as far as the Internet record is concerned, it seems there is a reason for that.
In the end, “experienced deer hunter” Scott Walker’s 2013 deer hunt appeared to last about as long as it takes to climb into a deer stand and tweet the view, tweet a selfie two hours later and then have spokesman Tom Evenson issue a statement to the Associated Press that Governor Walker had completed his 2013 hunt “without getting a deer.”2 Total 2013 hunting time, including bow season: about four hours. But then, maybe Walker is hoping he’ll get more than the nine-day season after his administration’s recent proposal to open an eight-month season that would add “about two-thirds of the acreage in the Wisconsin state park and trail system” for “hunting and trapping.”
Plenty of snow and wind in my deer stand this morning: http://t.co/l8CWDY4PsG
— Governor Walker (@GovWalker) November 25, 2013
It’s no secret politicians pander for the hunters. (In my experience, most hunters, on either side of the political debate, roll their eyes or openly despise the act.) Most famously, current Secretary of State John Kerry embarrassed himself by trying to make-over his multi-millionaire “Frenchiness” with a hunting photo-op. Even The New York Times called bullshit on Kerry in late 2004, quoting another multimillionaire politician thusly: “I understand he bought a new camouflage jacket for the occasion, which did make me wonder how regularly he does go goose hunting.” (Sixteen months later that quoted politician, Vice President Dick Cheney, shot his septuagenarian hunting buddy in the face in an accident that was certainly not a photo-op.)
Obama was rightly mocked less than a year ago when his office released a laughable photo of the President shooting a rifle after Obama said — and this is still almost impossible to put in quotation marks — “up at Camp David, we do skeet shooting all the time.” Until that statement (and photo), one of Obama’s most refreshing facets was that he had refused to join in the nonsense.
So in the end, Walker had to invest about one complete Twilight viewing marathon, a trip to Virginia and two press releases to craft himself into the anti-Christie hunter and outdoorsman. Climbing into a tree stand was an especially nice touch, a true counterbalance to “Family Feud” team dad, one-time Wall Street lobbyist and man-not-about-to-climb-a-tree, New Jersey Governor Chris Christie.
While Mitt Romney was hunt-shamed for calling himself a “lifelong hunter,” politicians like Walker get a pass. But what’s so wrong about not having time to hunt? Being the governor of a state is a supremely difficult job. If Christie really wants to rock the establishment, he should apply a little of that trademarked anti-Walker temperament and tell everyone he doesn’t have time to diddle around in a tree taking pictures of himself on a Monday when his state’s unemployment rate still sits several percentage points above that of half his state’s neighbors.
1. Bringing in Thiessen is truly a bold move. Who makes a better spokesman for a Tea Party-friendly, next-generation Republican leader than the 9/11-era head speechwriter for Donald Rumsfeld and George W. Bush and the author of a book defending Bush-era torture that one intelligence official described as “the defense’s opening statement in a war crimes trial”?