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Milwaukee's Daily Magazine for Monday, Sept. 22, 2014

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In Milwaukee Buzz Commentary

The Walker team strategy is delay, delay, delay. (PHOTO: shutterstock.com )

John Doe probe plays right into Walker's campaign strategy


It's the middle of the summer in Milwaukee and frivolity is on the minds of most people around here, with the exception of a small group of political operatives and the governor of our state.

I have always thought that most Republicans are Roman Catholics but concede I could be wrong about that. The point is that Democratic Catholics are going to churches and lighting candles in the hopes that a shoe will fall on Scott Walker. Unfortunately, I think those prayers will go unanswered, which is just what Walker and his team want.

If you have been paying even the slightest attention you may know that there has been a John Doe investigation into possible campaign violations revolving around Walker. The probe has been a minefield of misinformation and I have steered clear of writing about the thing pretty much not because of what I know, but because of what I didn't know.

As the election for governor approaches big time campaigning I need to jump in here, not because I know more, but because I have a some experience in both politics and with the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals in Chicago. My friend, the late Terry Evans, sat on the court and while he never discussed pending cases, we talked a lot about the law and about the activities of the court.

In May, Federal Judge Rudolph Randa, who never met a Republican he didn't like, put a stop to the investigation. Most legal observers, from both parties, thought the ruling was unbelievable and it was appealed to the 7th Circuit where it now sits.

Remember that we have an election for governor in November, just a little over four months away. Walker is being challenged by Democrat Mary Burke. Also please keep in mind that Walker wants to be president of this country and is a true darling of the Tea Party and the base of the Republican party.

Most people I know are virtually certain that the court of appeals will overturn Randa's decision which seems to have very little to do with the law and a lot to do with politics. The 7th circuit has a reputation as a court well-grounded in the law and pretty immune to the vagaries of political whim.

Democrats are praying that the appeals court rules soon and that the John Doe kicks into high gear and results in either Walker facing actual charges or at least be caught in a whirlwind of gossip and innuendo and an occasional leak.

They better pray hard because the Walker team is seeing its plans play out just the way they want.

Special prosecutor Francis Schmitz shut down his investigation after Randa's ruling. An investigation like this is kind of like a snowball rolling downhill. Each roll of the ball gets it going faster and it gains momentum. Even when the appeals court says it's okay to start again, it's not going to start off where it left off. It's going to take time, a significant amount of time, to assemble the troops, point everyone in the same direction and start the engine.

That's just what Walker's team is after. Delay, delay, delay. Hope that nothing significant happens before the election. You could suspect that Randa's decision is part of the Walker strategy but corrupting a federal judge seems well beyond the tactics of any political operative.

I think they wanted Randa to rule in their favor, knowing full well that the process for an appeal would take a while. I think they reacted the way they should after Randa made his ruling.

I have often said that Walker is one of the very best campaigners I've ever seen and it sure seems like his team hasn't lost a step on their march to an expected victory.

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