As the couple walked back hand-in-hand from their picnic in a flower-speckled members-only meadow, Scott Walker could not conceal dread in a sigh that escaped his lips.
“Is something troubling you my dear?,” Charlie Sykes asked.
“Oh Charlie, you know me better than I know myself. There is a small worry.”
“Then please dear, by all means tell me. You know we have no secrets between us."
“Well, it’s just that ... that attackskit or whatever you call it that your station WTMJ-AM produced to attack Russ Feingold.”
“Right, I know sweetie, we manipulate sound bites from Feingold and use a voice actor that sounds nothing like Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid in order to drill Orwell-style the image into listener’s minds that Feingold is a lap dog beholden to the wishes of Reid. What’s the problem?”
“Well, it’s just that...”
"Is it that I only command the resources of our station, a powerful means of disseminating information to a broad range of society over a good fraction of the state’s area, in order to speciously attack Democrats. That the only other time I produced one was to liken Jim Doyle’s unwillingness to expand charter schools in
Are you going to say that I could just as easily on the few occasions that we produce those little skits use that means to, say, promote volunteerism to improve Milwaukee schools, or solicit donations to Earthquake victims in Haiti?"
“Oh, no, no, no.” and Scott breaks out in a hearty laugh, covering his mouth with the white glove on his left hand. Charlie joins in the hearty laugh. “You wouldn’t use your show to address any real problems. Come on.”
“Of course not. Then what it is my snookums?”
“Well, if you are saying that Feingold is not independent, but instead linked to the will of another public figure, are you going to lead people to the fact that I am strongly linked to you and your will, that I am far from independent but really largely a product of your political strategy and the priceless hours of time given to glorifying me with no hint of tough questions or a voice for my opponents? Aren’t I your lap dog, Charlie?”
“Now, now Scott,” and Charlie ruffled Scott’s hair as a tease. “Have you never heard of Karl Rove? I am doing to Feingold that tactic Rove teaches where you attack an enemy on precisely the theme that should be their strong point”
“I don’t know about any of that political strategy stuff. That’s why I have you,” said Scott. "But, still, it might seem wrong, even funny, that you are attacking others for being in the control of some Svengali. Why, you have the word 'Svengali' tattooed on your cute little bicep.”
“Look, Scott, listen to me.” And hear Charlie stopped their walk toward the carriage and turned to face Scott. Charlie cradled Scott's cheeks in between his palms and looked into his quivering eyes. “That fact that I do it, or any right-wing radio guy does it, is exactly why we accuse the enemy of doing it.”
Scott only tilted his head like a lab puppy, looking quizzical.
Here Charlie chuckled, and tousled Scott’s hair.
“Don’t you worry your pretty little head,” Charlie said. “I’ll handle it.”
“And when I get to be governor?” Scott asked.
“I’ll be right there beside you, sweetheart.”