Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker made another massive misstep on Monday, hiring Liz Mair of Mair Strategies to handle communications and social media for his campaign-in-waiting.
Mair’s support for amnesty for illegal aliens, wide-open-borders immigration policies, and public advocacy for the Senate “Gang of Eight” amnesty bill is sure to dog Walker in Iowa, South Carolina, and other early presidential states.
During the Senate Gang of Eight bill fight, Mair very publicly and very aggressively promoted the amnesty bill—pushing it to media and making the case for the need for it over and over again. She claims her advocacy was done out of the good of her heart, for free, because for religious reasons she believes in amnesty and open borders. But Mair wouldn’t answer who was paying her bills for her advocacy during the timeframe of the “Gang of Eight” bill in early 2013 through the end of the last Congress–when asked by Breitbart News if any specific tech companies or a select group of Wall Street billionaires were paying her.
“We’re contractually barred from disclosing our clients,” Mair said.
That could mean anyone—even foreign companies potentially—were paying her during the timeframe she was publicly advocating for the amnesty bill. While she didn’t have to disclose it to the public at the time now that she’s hitched to Walker the Wisconsin governor owns everything she said and did.
Mair also insists that Walker has a distinctly different viewpoint on immigration from her public support for amnesty but that she does stand by her public support for comprehensive immigration reform–which Walker now says he doesn’t agree with.
“I do [stand by everything I’ve said on immigration],” Mair told Breitbart News on Monday morning. “I’m also confident that Walker has a different view on it to me.”
Steve Deace, a nationally syndicated conservative radio host based in Iowa, said in an interview with Breitbart News that Mair “is on the wrong side of three issues that are non-starters, non-negotiables for Iowa conservatives.”
Deace said the issues that Mair is bringing into the Walker campaign are her support for amnesty, her support of same-sex marriage, and her support of abortion. “If you go to her website, she’s got her own little pro-killing apologetic she posts up there,” Deace said.
“Those are bad enough but where this delves beyond just issue disagreement into amateur hour is the fact that while Scott Walker is having a debutante ball at the Iowa Freedom Summit hosted by Steve King—his big coming out party—she is on Twitter ripping the event and ripping Iowans, saying Iowans are ‘embarrassing’ that as soon as Iowa loses its first in the nation status the better we’ll all be, that we’re just a bunch of government dependents.
“How do you not vet people? Did they not even look at her social media postings? That’s the stuff that’s killer, that stuff. There’s already local news headlines about it. That’s the stuff that loses you elections. It’s urinating in the face of voters and telling them it’s raining.”
What Deace is referring to is a series of Tweets that Mair published as Walker gave his major speech on the main national stage is Des Moines that launched what’s become an extended honeymoon at the top of the polls. As her now boss shot to national prominence as a potential 2016 GOP contender and became a frontrunner in recent weeks alongside the establishment’s former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, Mair was tweeting insults at Iowans.
“In other news, I see Iowa is once again embarrassing itself, and the GOP, this morning. Thanks, guys,” Mair tweeted.
A moment later, Mair added another quip: “The sooner we remove Iowa’s frontrunning status, the better off American politics and policy will be.”
Deace added that this severely damages Walker’s perception on the campaign trail in Iowa. “Especially if you’re trying to portray yourself as the blue collar guy who’ll roll up your sleeves and get things done, now your communications consultant is this sneering elitist,” Deace said. “I mean, give me a break.”
Since that Iowa Freedom Summit speech, Walker has been largely protected from criticism by the national conservative media, and on many issues, he’s been given a pass. But now that he’s hiring people like Mair, that honeymoon seems to finally be coming to an end.
There is chatter among others who are thinking about getting in the race that Walker can’t handle the spotlight on the national level for long. While he’s been good on union issues as a governor, presidential candidates need to have a well-rounded command of every issue—including ones they haven’t had to deal with yet. Meanwhile, the national liberal media has been trying to rough Walker up—as hit piece after hit piece ran in the Washington Post in recent weeks. Deace said that none of the narrative games from the liberal media trying to take him down or the conservative media trying to prop him up really matter in Iowa.
“What is said in the national conservative media has almost zero—zip, zilch, nada—bearing on what the average Iowa caucus-goer thinks,” Deace said. “It doesn’t matter much who shills for Walker, or what other conservative media shills for Walker. It won’t really make a difference to the average Iowan. They’re going to make up their own mind on what they see.”
Rick Wiley, Walker’s likely 2016 presidential campaign manager who’s currently serving as a senior adviser to Walker’s PAC Our American Revival, said in a statement to Breitbart News, when asked about Mair and Walker’s position on immigration, that Mair won’t have anything to do with policy matters. What Wiley is saying, essentially, is that Mair will continue to be employed—even though even Walker’s rival Bush fired a staffer for unseemly Tweets that were discovered after that staffer was hired.
“Governor Walker is one of the most tested governors in the country through big, bold reforms,” Wiley said. “During his service there have been people around him that have agreed and disagreed with him, but he has always and will always follow his core guiding principles.
“Liz Mair was brought on to Our American Revival as an online consultant, not as a policy adviser. Governor Walker has had very substantive conversations with Iowans on issues important to them and will continue this dialogue through Our American Revival.
“With regard to ethanol, he has been clear he supports a phase out of the existing mandate, but believes we have to do it responsibly. On our broken immigration system, Governor Walker has said we can’t have a discussion about anything else until we have security at the borders.”
Deace said this massive misstep on Walker’s part opens the door to a more conservative candidate like Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX), Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY), or Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal—or someone else—to step up into the void. While Mair did do some work for Paul years ago, she didn’t say these types of things as publicly and boldly as she did before getting hired by Walker. It also presents a prime opportunity, he said, for Walker’s coalition between elements of the establishment and the base to be split up.
“I think yes, but because it’s a signal that Walker believes there’s too many conservatives in the race, he can’t win and that Jeb Bush is much weaker as the establishment frontrunner than the conservative field is, that he has a much better likelihood of putting his own current conservative support that he thinks he’s getting—and taking it for granted—and pairing it together with the splitting of Jeb Bush’s base,” Deace said when asked if Walker’s mistake opens the door for Cruz, Paul, Jindal, or someone else to step forward as the true alternative to Bush.
“I think that’s their game plan. I think their plan is to destabilize Jeb Bush. He’s going to gamble that he can be like George W. Bush in 2000, that there’s enough conservatives to split people who want to win at all costs and they’ll set aside their warring factions to unify behind Walker.
“I have got severe doubts, however, that that [Team Walker’s read] is an accurate assessment of the environment. The way Walker’s coalition is dealing with the establishment and conservatives is they’re barely married—they’re the couple that says they’re staying together for the kids. It’s not a long term arrangement. Whenever such an arrangement comes about, that means the man is really saying he’s waiting for someone prettier and the woman is really saying she’s waiting for someone kinder with a better job to show interest.”
Deace added he thinks Walker is “presumptuous” because he’s “taking the conservative base for granted because of what he did in Wisconsin with the unions” and that the rest of the conservative field is “too strong” for Walker to be making such a miscalculation.
Wiley and other Walker spokespersons have not answered several questions about the governor’s position on immigration. Specifically, everyone says the border must secured, but Walker’s team won’t answer any questions about whether the governor supports an increase in H1B visas, with all the scandals breaking out of Silicon Valley putting Americans out of work while replacing them with imported cheap foreign labor. There is also no answer on whether he supports any increase in legal immigration, which would jeopardize American jobs due to a surge in the labor supply.
Walker’s team, which is comprised of several ex-Republican National Committee (RNC) staffers, also wouldn’t answer if the governor supports the so-called “autopsy” report released in 2013 by, among others, Henry Barbour—the RNC committeeman from Mississippi. Barbour’s and others’ work on the autopsy report called on Republicans to support amnesty for illegal aliens or be imperiled in future elections, but after Republicans party-wide abandoned amnesty—and began aggressively criticizing President Barack Obama for his then planned executive amnesty on the campaign trail in 2014, the GOP took over control of the U.S. Senate in a historic nine-seat swing.
That Walker won’t weigh in on all of those matters is extraordinarily curious. It’s unclear if that’s a staff decision or a decision on his part, but it’s definitely possible staff is handling the decision to refuse to answer specific questions about immigration—and not the governor himself.
While on Fox News Sunday a couple weeks ago, Walker actually laid out how he’s “changed” on immigration since previously supporting amnesty.
“I don’t believe in amnesty,” Walker said while being questioned by Fox News Sunday host Chris Wallace after CPAC. “And part of the reason why I made that a firm position is I look at the way that this president has mishandled that issue. I’m one of the governors that joined — I was one of the first governors that joined the lawsuit that has been successful, at least on this initial technicality. And I hope we prevail ultimately throughout the courts. And then going forward, I think the way you enforce it is not through amnesty.
“I think the better approach is to enforce the laws and to give employers, job creators, the tools like E-Verify and other things, to make sure the law is being upheld going forward.”
Later in the interview, after being pressed about previous pro-amnesty comments, Walker responded: “My view has changed. I’m flat out saying it. Candidates can say that. Sometimes they don’t.”
“So, you’ve changed from 2013?” Wallace asked.
“Absolutely. I look at the problems we’ve experienced for the last few years. I’ve talked to governors on the border and others out there,” Walker replied. “I’ve talked to people all across America. And the concerns I have is that we need to secure the border.
“We ultimately need to put in place a system that works. A legal immigration system that works. And part of doing this is put the onus on employers, getting them E-Verify and tools to do that. But I don’t think you do it through amnesty.”
Deace, the Iowa radio host, wonders whether Walker “should stop evolving on issues and just go flat out establishment,” because he’s no conservative anymore in his book.
After Walker’s “change” on immigration, he hasn’t laid out much of a position on the issue at all. He hasn’t agreed to do any interviews, despite scores of requests from this reporter and others for one on the matter, and hasn’t laid out a vision on it. Deace said that hiring Mair means Walker doesn’t seem to have “changed” at all, even though he had an opportunity to do so.
“When he did that, I told my audience I wouldn’t immediately accept that and I wouldn’t immediately dismiss it,” Deace said. “We all change our minds and there’s only one omniscient being in the history of the universe and none of us are him.
“So what you want to see, for example, is what Bobby Jindal has done on Common Core. Like a lot of other cash-strapped Republican governors, the feds offered them free money in exchange for allegedly higher academic standards and they took it. Then once Bobby got a look at what Common Core really was, he changed his mind—and not only changed his mind but everywhere he goes around the country it’s one of the first things he discusses and he dissects to an audience.
“That’s how you know someone has internalized the changing of their mind and not pandering to you but that they really have internalized it, it’s something they believe. Well, the first time you see Walker step out of his new evolution on amnesty is to hire someone who openly says on their own website that they’re proud to say they’re for amnesty.”