Saturday, August 07, 2010

Who let this guy back in the race?

I found just as much amusement as anyone at the way Mark Neumann originally stumbled out of the gate. I think that the above photo-op perfectly symbolized the beginning of his campaign. Eventually however it seemed that the Neumann campaign got its act together becoming a more effective insurgent campaign for the Republican primary.

Earlier this week Jack Craver asked if Neumann was still in it to win it? After listening to his debate with Scott Walker yesterday, I am actually wondering the same thing. Neumann originally wanted to have debates with Walker all over the state. Now that he finally had his chance he largely failed to draw the aggressive kind of contrasts that an insurgent campaign should be providing. The openings were there on spending, Walker's 24 hour flip-flop on the Arizona immigration law, Walker's waffle on tolls and on infrastructure issues. All were opportunities that he failed to take. In fact, he allowed Walker to be the first to "attack" him regarding his property tax idea. Even when Neumann did approach a contrast it wasn't direct enough ("I'm a businessman, I'm not a career politician" etc).

Most media described the debate as both candidates agreeing on most issues. That is fine for Walker who has the lead and has the GOP establishment support. For Neumann that perception makes the debate a loss (no matter what his email says). Not because Walker did anything spectacular during the debate (he didn't have to) but because Neumann failed to strongly exploit every opening that he was given.

It seems like someone let the guy in the hairnet back into the race. I'm just wondering if this was a one-time encore performance or if he is back for good? If it is the latter then it looks like Neumann might just stumble out of the campaign in the same way that he stumbled into it.

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