Far be it for me to beat a dead horse, but former Democratic Party of Wisconsin spokesman turned "media advisor to the party," Graeme Zielinski was not your typical communications director for a major state political party. He was an activist bulldog who cared more about being cheered from the sidelines than pushing the party’s agenda and helping elect candidates.
Instead of following the axiom of "party spokesmen are read, not heard," Zielinski relished the role of bullying media who wouldn’t sell a story the way he wanted. He made open threats to his political enemies and through social media, violated the first rule of his position, "Tell the story, don’t be the story."
So how did it get this way? Simply put, Zielinski is a creature of, by, and for the most radical liberal bloggers in the state. He didn’t just speak for them; he very well may have been speaking to them consistently, since many of their posts over the past three years read at times like communication edicts from him.
Possibly even more frightening, is that some posts seem to contain private, off-the-record information which could be only be obtained in email conversations between Zielinski and various reporters throughout the state. Considering Zielinski’s about to speak only "off-the-record" with reporters in his new position, it might be wise for many of those same reporters to ask if their conversations are staying between them and Graeme.
So who were his chief enablers and defenders? One only needs to enter the fever swamps of the Left to find the ones most upset with his dismissal. These "winners" take the cake.
Jud Lounsbury – Former Feingold campaign press secretary (might explain where the two met) and himself a former DPW communications director, Lounsbury has been the most vocal in his defense of Zielinski in his blog posts and on Twitter. His wife is also one of the union attorneys fighting Act 10 in court.
Tom Foley – A legal blogger with a (still?) suspended law license, Foley is a Marquette Law grad and big time Ed Fallone fan. When Zielinski lost it in a very public way during a December 2011 interview on "Wisconsin’s Morning News," Foley answered like only he could; with a brief "Go get 'em Tiger. "
Chris "capper" Liebenthal – How could I have a list without including the state public employee unions’ top blogger? While Liebenthal admits the two had their differences, it is also clear to long-time observers of his blog that the two were also a tag team throughout much of the capitol protests, the Walker recall, and the John Doe Investigation.
So in retrospect, it’s not too hard to figure out why Zielinski was able to get away with his antics for as long as he did while the rest of the state’s media and political class wondered how the hell he remained employed. He was simply playing to his audience, which was a very small bubble within the party, many of whom are just as angry and nutty as he is.
Binversie is a Wisconsin native who has served in the George W. Bush administration, worked at the Heritage Foundation, and has served on numerous state Republican campaigns, most recently as research director for Ron Johnson for Senate. He blogs atLakeshore Lamentsand you can find him on twitter @kevinbinversie.