City of Milwaukee Alderman Robert J. Bauman has offered a blow-by-blow political strategy script (see attached memo below) that could (literally) be followed to the letter by candidates running for Wisconsin governor. The alderman said he believes the candidates have most likely already adopted many of the memo’s suggestions for their playbooks, but he wanted to “make sure their idea tanks were topped off in time for the fall and then into the next few years.”
Phase 1: Campaign
Continue relentless condemnation and ridicule of Milwaukee-to-Madison high speed rail investment. Continue to emphasize that rail transportation is a socialist plot to rob Wisconsin residents of their freedom and sovereignty. Use rail as prop for all the evils of big government.
Avoid any talk about the billions of tax dollars spent on expanding freeways or the decades of public subsidies that have been directed to highway travel. Never mention the economic benefits of rail investments, the jobs these investments can create or the fact that many Wisconsin residents do not drive cars because of disability, age or economic circumstances. Never mention that gasoline prices may increase significantly in the near future.
Avoid any mention of the fact that the $823 million federal investment in high speed rail cannot be redirected to freeway expansion or highway projects.
Remind voters that freeways are free and rail transportation will end civilization as we know it.
Phase 2: Inauguration (January 2011)
Lead off inaugural speech with solemn pledge to stop Milwaukee-Madison high speed rail construction. Repeat evils of rail and emphasize that you will save civilization from the scourge of rail travel and the big government it represents. Repeat pledges to cut taxes and slash public services including corrections, aid to public schools, the University of Wisconsin system and shared revenue to all those cities incapable of living within their means. Make sure everyone understands that none of this cutting will include freeway expansion or highway building since cheap gas and free roads are a fundamental right of every true American.
Phase 3: Progress Report (news conference one month into administration)
With a very serious and somber tone report that over the last month you have asked the best legal minds in the state to find a way to stop Milwaukee-to-Madison high speed rail construction and cancel all contracts let to date -- but that the legal experts have informed you that it cannot be done unless the state agrees to reimburse the federal government for all funds expended to date and to reimburse the contractors for all the lost profits and cancellation penalties contained in their contracts. You report with great reluctance that construction must therefore proceed because the state cannot afford to stop construction. Be sure to emphasize over and over that this is the legacy of Jim Doyle who has saddled the citizens of Wisconsin with a multi-million dollar federal investment in new infrastructure. Finally, note that President Obama and big government are really to blame and that you did everything you could to stop this investment in Wisconsin’s future.
Do not mention the phone calls from the CEOs of the Wisconsin consulting firms and contractors who were awarded rail contracts and do not mention the fact that they urged you to keep construction moving forward because this project will employ thousands of their employees. Deflect any media questions about campaign contributions from employees of these consultants and contractors. After all, you know that these contributors are only interested in good government.
Phase 4: Ribbon Cutting (January 2013)
Your remarks should emphasize that with gasoline prices at $6 per gallon and the Wisconsin unemployment rate at 12%, you are pleased that your administration was able to deliver this $823 million stimulus project on time and on budget. Read a long list of the jobs created by the project and the amount of wages paid to Wisconsin workers. Single out the Talgo factory in Milwaukee and congratulate the 300 workers who have built the six train sets that will begin operating in the Chicago-Milwaukee-Madison corridor. Be sure to mention that the gleaming Talgo trains are a shining example of what private enterprise can produce when the restraints of big government are lifted from the entrepreneurial spirit.