In the Wisconsin recall battle, could Tom Barrett have any better asset than the unions who favor Kathleen Falk over him?
Nietzsche would say no: Any union criticism of theirs that doesn’t kill him actually makes him stronger.
Falk trails the late-entering Barrett for the race to challenge Scott Walker, and she’s desperately willing to watch her union allies slam Barrett (falsely) as anti-worker. I doubt that Falk can get past Barrett without a negative campaign.
She doesn’t need to wage that campaign directly – she’ll happily sit back while surrogates do so.
But as long as these criticisms don’t put Falk ahead of Barrett, they’re actually a favor to him. Barrett will be able to go into a general recall election against Gov. Walker with a message sure to appeal to independents: I’m committed to labor, but no one – not even unions – owns me.
Barrett will still get the pro-labor vote in a race against Walker, and he’ll also be more appealing to independent-minded voters.
Every attack that Falk and her organizational allies make against Barrett – so long as it doesn’t sink him in the primary – actually helps Barrett in a general election. (I doubt that she can sink him; he’s simply a more engaging candidate than she is.)
Barrett’s best friend against Gov. Walker? The heavy-hitting friends that Kathleen Falk has now.