The release by a Wisconsin court of 27,000 pages of emails, covering a nine-month period, provide a unique portrait of Republican Gov. Scott Walker, The Washington Post
The emails reveal his behavior when Walker was the top official in Milwaukee County and running for governor. They were released in connection with a case brought by a Democratic district attorney against Walker's former aide on charges of doing political work on county time.
Walker's staffers seem fixated on his political image. When a teenager is killed by a fallen concrete slab on county property their primary focus is on minimizing negative publicity. "That was our structure," an aide wrote. "The headlines are going to be 'Scott Walker kills 15-year-old.'"
Democrats hope the emails will embarrass Walker, the Post reported.
For the most part, however, they show him to be a decisive decision maker and politician involved in both tactics and strategy – "equally fixated on cultivating his political image and tackling the substantive demands of a large local government."
Walker comes across in private "as wholesome and earnest," never mean or profane. He was not "sarcastic" and did not criticize opponents or staffers, the Post reported.
The emails show that he drafted talking points and statements, which he had his staff funnel to supportive lawmakers to use as if they were their own ideas. "Unlike many politicians who rely on underlings for political advice and strategy," the Post reported, Walker "is a tactician with a tight grip on his public image."
Against the advice of aides, he refused to freeze out unfriendly reporters. "Feed the beast," Walker instructed his aides in August 2010. "If I don't talk, he'll get it somewhere else."
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