COMMENTARY: Rob Zerban's 'Mission: Impossible'
By Kevin Binversie | Wisconsin Reporter
Editor’s Note: An audio recording (transcribed here) was emailed to commentator Kevin Binversie. It offers a remarkable insight into the operations of the Democratic Party of Wisconsin. It sounds so much like the plot of a Hollywood action-pic that we nearly dismissed it as fiction, but offer it here for your consideration.
Good morning, Mr. Zerban:
As a result of your own political aspirations and the Democratic party’s need for a sacrificial lamb, you have been chosen to run against Janesville Congressman Paul Ryan.
Ryan, 42, is a rising star in the Republican Party and has represented the 1st Congressional District of Wisconsin since 1999. He also is a federal budgetary wunderkind and the current chairman of the House Budget Committee. Officials in the White House have long viewed as a threat the young congressman’s ability to plainly state the truth about the real fiscal health of the nation.
As we said in your initial briefing, Ryan has never received less than 63 percent of the vote in any re-election campaign. He is seen as widely popular and respected in his district. Recent intelligence gathered from sources within the district show he enjoys a 61 percent approval rating among his constituents.
Did we mention that he is popular outside the district, as well? We have only recently discovered that five weeks ago former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney named Ryan his vice presidential running mate in his bid for the White House. We have great concerns about this change. Suddenly, Wisconsin is “in-play” as never before.
Your mission — and we remind you again, you’ve already chosen to accept it — is to stay relevant in the remaining 50-plus days of the campaign against a man who has become the most visible Republican in Wisconsin politics today. It will be up to you to try to keep him off the national campaign trail as much as humanly possible and drag him back to Wisconsin to defend his House seat.
We realize this is an arduous task. And we remind you (not for the first time) of the organization’s “no-take-backs” rule.
We may have forgotten to tell you that Ryan’s congressional organization has a $5.4 million war chest to use against you. Oh, he also will have an advantage in getting media attention because of his potential role as next vice president of the United States.
We suggest a strategy of push-polling, empty press releases and complaints about how Ryan is hedging his bets. If that doesn’t work, we believe an all-out smear campaign should be the proper course of action.
Find file footage of Ryan look-alike pushing an elderly, wheelchair-bound woman off a cliff in your packet. It’s best if the woman is actually a mannequin, of course, and is seen to be bouncing off very sharp rocks on way to a deep canyon bottom. Close-ups should reveal in some way that she is a Medicare recipient. A sign pinned to her cardigan to that effect should serve the purpose.
As always, if you or any member of your campaign should be either captured, killed or caught on camera in an unguarded moment, or if the entire operation goes down in defeat in November, the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee will disavow any knowledge of your actions.
If this were a tape, it would self-destruct in five seconds.
Good luck, Rob. You’ll need it.
Veteran political blogger Kevin Binversie is a Wisconsin native. He served in the George W. Bush administration from 2007-2009, worked at the Heritage Foundation and has worked on numerous state Republican campaigns, most recently as research director for Ron Johnson for Senate. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.