July 28, 2014

Scott Walker's ad about Mary Burke's family's company — Trek — gets the numbers right.

PolitiFact verifies.

Here's the ad:



Other things to think about: Should Walker concentrate ads on Mary Burke's family's company? Which voters are susceptible to arguments based on Trek's use of Chinese labor to makes its bikes? Which voters are susceptible to the argument that Mary Burke would make a good governor because her family has a business that makes great bikes? If I'm riding around on my Trek bike, am I a rolling ad for Mary Burke?

ADDED: Instapundit says:
[A]ttacking Dems on hypocrisy that will hurt them with their base is an excellent turnout-reducing strategy. People bothered by these ads won’t vote for Walker, necessarily, but they’ll be less likely to show up at all. Same reason people should go after Democratic officeholders who pay women less than men.
And as I said in the comments a few hours ago:
I think Walker is trying to deprive Mary Burke of an argument she wants to use: That Walker didn't keep his "promise" to cause X number of jobs to come into being in Wisconsin.

It's his preemptive "Yeah, you're worse."
As you can see from this Green Bay Gazette report, Burke does use that argument. Democrats are fixated on 250,000 as the number of jobs Walker promised. PolitiFact is keeping track of the statistics here.

67 comments:

garage mahal said...

Walker is running as a Elizabeth Warren, lefty populist in order to win. That has to be painful.

MadisonMan said...

That the facts are right is unimportant for the people who want Walker to lose. They have to -- loudly -- complain about something -- anything -- and cast about to find something that will stick.

The same is true, of course, for people who want Mary Burke to lose.

I don't think this is a new phenomenon.

LuAnn Zieman said...

My husband and I each own a Trek bike. "Made in China" is prominently displayed on the front of each bike. We purchased both locally--here in Wisconsin. I wonder where the bikes made in Wisconsin are sold. I prefer to buy "American," but understand why businesses either expand or relocate overseas. What I don't like is the hypocrisy of boosting higher minimum wages here in the U.S. and then paying much lower wages in a foreign country.

MathMom said...

Mary Burke would do this to Scott Walker, so I'm cool with it. Also, like the cognitive dissonance that must be building in Lefty heads...fun to watch!

MathMom said...

Actually, I need to revise my previous comment. Mary Burke would do this to Scott Walker, but her numbers would not be accurate. Or her claims would be overblown and bogus. And she would skate on it.

I'm glad to see that at least ONE Republican knows how to play the Dem game, taking advantage of LIVs economic illiteracy.

EDH said...

garage mahal said...
Walker is running as a Elizabeth Warren, lefty populist in order to win. That has to be painful.

Rather, isn't Walker pointing out that Burke, like Warren, is a "lefty populist" hypocrite?

The Drill SGT said...

Trek has two manufacturing facilities in Wisconsin -- one in Waterloo and one in Whitewater. Overseas, it builds in Germany, Holland and China.

China is cheap, we all know that, but why use Holland and Germany to make bikes?

garage mahal said...

It was only two years ago that Walker featured Trek in a marketing campaign to encourage others to do business in Wisconsin. Before Mary Burke got in the race. Now Trek is a bad bad company.

Mark said...

I agree with LuAnn; it's hard to square pushing for higher minimum wages in the US with making really expensive bikes using abused Chinese labor. (Seriously, you can buy a fully functional used car for what you'd pay for some of those bicycles.)

One might even call the combination a sign of a basically parasitical personality. Which makes the person perfect for politics, unfortunately.

Ann Althouse said...

I think Walker is trying to deprive Mary Burke of an argument she wants to use: That Walker didn't keep his "promise" to cause X number of jobs to come into being in Wisconsin.

It's his preemptive "Yeah, you're worse."

Meade said...

MadisonMan said...
"The same is true, of course, for people who want Mary Burke to lose."

Brett Hulsey?

Carnifex said...

Hahaha...

It must make GM's head explode that he has one of those 1%'ers trying to cut in on the D party line of representing the little people.

It might even cause him to re-examine the D party as a whole of being made up of shill's and race baiters.

NAAAHHHHHH....

The Crack Emcee said...

"Should Walker concentrate ads on Mary Burke's family's company?"

If she made it an issue.

"Which voters are susceptible to arguments based on Trek's use of Chinese labor to makes its bikes?"

Don't know - "Made In China" is pretty common now.

"Which voters are susceptible to the argument that Mary Burke would make a good governor because her family has a business that makes great bikes?"

White guys who wear bright, multi-colored spandex in public.

"If I'm riding around on my Trek bike, am I a rolling ad for Mary Burke?"

Probably,...

David said...

"China is cheap, we all know that, but why use Holland and Germany to make bikes?"

In the case of Holland, it's in the middle of one of the best bike markets in the world. Germany is near Holland and the Germans are super good manufacturers.

Anyhoo, if wealthy outsourcing heiress Burke were a Republican, she would be a laughingstock. But the combination of the Walker Is Evil campaign with lefty automatic voters gives her a shot. Good luck if she wins.

LarryK said...

It's an effective ad for four reasons:

First, as Ann implies, it takes the job creator issue away from Burke; anytime she bashes Walker about falling short of his 250K job pledge, he can say "well at least I didn't take Wisconsin jobs and move them to China."

Second, it pumps up the GOP base and depresses the Democratic base - slightly, in both cases

Third, about the only group that voted for Walker in 2010 and 2012 that may be on the bubble this time are lower income and blue collar workers disappointed with the WI economy; this ad makes Mary Burke toxic to them.

Finally, the real issue here is hypocrisy and not left-wing populism: Mary Burke wants to raise the minimum wage in WI, yet her company explicitly chose to outsource to a workforce earning less than the US minimum. People hate it when politicians make their constituents obey laws that don't apply to them.

DKWalser said...

I think its an effective add because it undercuts Burke's claim that her business experience means she knows how to grow jobs in Wisconsin. Walker didn't claim that Trek shouldn't be allowed to import bikes from China, nor does he argue Trek was morally wrong to cut its labor costs. He just restates Burke's claim that her private sector experience would help her create jobs if she were Governor and then undercuts that claim by showing that her private sector experience was in firing, not hiring, Wisconsin workers.

pogo101 said...

Garbage is not stupid, but he's a hypocrite. And hypocrisy is the point of Walker's ad about Burke: She is running on creating Wisconsin jobs, yet her company has outsourced thousands of jobs to the PRC.

Garbage can't refute this, so he blubbers that it's somehow illegitimate or Not Cricket for the Eeeeevil Republican to make what Garbage thinks is a lefty critique.

Y'know, it's so consistent: I rarely look in on Ann's comment threads, but when I do, Garbage is there, consistently idiotic.

Keep it up. It's better than coffee.

David said...

LuAnn Zieman said...
My husband and I each own a Trek bike. "Made in China" is prominently displayed on the front of each bike. We purchased both locally--here in Wisconsin. I wonder where the bikes made in Wisconsin are sold.


The bikes made in Wisconsin are sold to very affluent people everywhere. High end custom and semi custom bikes with multi thousand dollar price tags.

You won't find them at Wal Mart. Of course you won't find Burke at Wal Mart either.

garage mahal said...

It might even cause him to re-examine the D party as a whole of being made up of shill's and race baiters.

Naw you guys already have that covered.

eric said...

Like any business, you minimize costs, and a way to do that is to have your stuff made in China.

Democrats seem to think there is no problem with this though. Don't want me to make my stuff in China? Well then, let's have more laws!

Always the answer for Democrats. More laws, spend more money, that'll fix it!

AJ Lynch said...

I own two Trek bikes. I never gave a thought to where its bikes were made.

That I did not give it a thought is sad- no wonder we have such a jobs problem here in America.

It is also sad that this post by Althouse did not make Garage's head explode. I was hopeful until I saw the first comment.

Michael said...

Trek famously dumped Greg Lemond at the indirect urging of Lance Armstrong and then dumped Armstrong. So, corporately, they are well acquainted with the necessary tools of holding office. The fact that they make their bicycles in the Orient is irrelevant. The company itself is based in Wisconsin and pays taxes in the US. An investor in Trek gives not one shit about paying more to Wisconsin workers to make a bike that would be equivalent in all respects other than cost than one made in China. They want to maximize profits which can be used to pay themselves to buy houses and cheese in Wisconsin and to run for office so that they can tell people what to do.

Mary Burke herself has only dabbled in the business so it is not clear if she has any real management experience. She left to run a non-profit so I gather her instincts are in the area of spending versus making money.

And Walker would be right to continue to attract companies like Trek to Wisconsin: companies that could use the executive talents available and leave the manufacturing to the emerging world.

AustinRoth said...

If she was a Republican, you can bet it would be picked up and run, over and over and over, for free on all the MSM news shows in Wisconsin.

Kansas City said...

Good ad. Simple fact that is easy to understand. Probably good preemptive/defensive ad and, apparently, responsive ad to Burke's efforts to gain from "my family's company." To an outsider, it would be a surprise if Walker loses after two wins in high profile races. But then again, Wisconsin sent a far left socialist type to the senate. Seems hard to predict.

CatLover said...

I am not sure. Walker's leftist strategy against Warren didn't work and there is no bigger hypocrite than Elizabeth Warren.

Quaestor said...

I've owned a Trek bike for nearly twelve years that I bought used from the original owner. "American-made shit," he called it. He complained about the derailleurs that refused to stay in tune. He complained about the rough-feeling cranks. He bitched about the paint job. Not really enthused I offered him less than half of it's purchase price hoping the owner would balk at my offer and I could walk away. To my surprise he took it. I'd been looking for a cheapish bike for weeks, and this Trek was the first one I'd looked at that fit me well, though I was really put off by the vehemence of the the complaints. Yet I'd made an offer and it was accepted. In my book that obligated me, so out came the checkbook.

I drove home thinking I'd wasted my money, that I bought nothing but trouble, but it turned out to be a reasonably good bike. The brakes and derailleurs worked fine for me, needing only normal maintenance. The original owner rode competitively and used the Trek as a trainer, so he probably rode it harder that I did, and noticed issues that escaped me. The only thing that bugged me was the chipping paint, which I didn't fix for almost three years.

The bike is now considerably modified from its stock configuration. What started as a road bike with competition potential has evolved into a hybrid flat-bar with grip-shifters, SRAM crankset and derailleurs, a new softer seat and a new paint job. To prep the frame for painting I had it professionally bead blasted at an auto body shop. When I picked it up I saw details that were hidden by the original paintwork and the TREK decals. MADE IN CHINA was engraved on the head tube and the seat tube. This was on a bike marked Made in the USA. So maybe Walkers numbers are on the generous side.

Jim Howard said...

A year or two ago I bought a Trek Verve 2 bike from Mary, based on recommendations from my hard core bike riding friend.

I was replacing my 1973 'Made in UK' Raleigh Supercourse which had recently been stolen.

"Made in China" was the first thing I noticed. Just a little browsing in the bike shop showed that 'Made in America' bikes were far more expensive than I wanted to pay.

I felt a little bad about that, but rationalized that at least the company itself was American.

So many 'American' brands are really foreign owned these days, it's kind of sad.

Still, American Democrats have abandoned all pretense of attempting to sell their policies based on facts and reason.

Having seen their ideas fail in practice whenever tried, Democrats have only fear and villainization to sell, damn the facts.

Republicans, as the closest thing we have to a reality based party, need to learn to use the facts in a way that hurts Democrats with emotion driven voters.

No reality based voter would support any of this year's crop of Democrats.

Walker's ad is 100% fair and balanced. All it is doing is following the Alinsky rule that advises holding opponents to their own standards, thus appealing to the emotion based low information voter.

FleetUSA said...

LuAnn Zieman is absolutely right.

PB Reader said...

Yes, push for a higher minimum wage here, move jobs offshore, then "hire" unpaid interns...

Hypocrisy and stupidity.

Working for daddy's company shouldn't signify anything but being a trust-fund baby.

HoodlumDoodlum said...

Battlespace prep. I expect to see more "economic patriotism" issues brought up by the Left heading into the election. If Walker's already out in front of this one it's a good sign he knows what's coming nationally and isn't afraid to use a jab to keep Burke away from the issue entirely.

lgv said...

Interestingly, a significant portion of our equipment is made in Wisconsin.

I would assume all bikes are made overseas. It's not that big a deal unless you are bragging about jobs created in the USA. Trek has a history of making a good bike. I hope it hasn't changed since the production moved to China.

I have now eliminated most of my purchasing from mainland China. Quality control is too difficult. Most of our components are now coming from Korea or ROC (Taiwan).

This is just politics. Again, this simply blunts the "I created jobs in America meme", whether it was ever played or not. Burke was driver in moving the work offshore. The voter gets to decide if this is good or bad. Reality is that it is neither.

Writ Small said...

Walker is running as a Elizabeth Warren, lefty populist in order to win. That has to be painful.

I agree. Trek has a responsibility to its shareholders to produce the best quality product for the least cost, and that could very well mean production in China.

Ceding ideological ground for short-term political gain should cause pain. If Walker believes that ad is a valid critique, it's even worse.

Ernst Stavro Blofeld said...

Trek was also taking a see-no-evil approach towards doping on their bike racing team.

It was painfully obvious for years that Armstrong and the rest of the team were systematically doping with the knowledge, approval, and assistance of the team coach, Johan Bruyneel.

Trek looked the other way because it sold bikes. In fact, when Greg Lemond pointed out the obvious doping, Trek dropped the Lemond brand.

Meade said...

Did Mary Burke break the law?

Did the candidate commit a crime by making false statements on SEC forms?

JAL said...

David @ 10:53 You won't find them at Wal Mart. Of course you won't find Burke at Wal Mart either.

But but but ... The Left foams at the mouth, literally, about how AWWWFUL WalMart (and Hobby Lobby!!!) are because They Sell Stuff From CHINA.

The fact that people save thousands of dollars shopping at WalMart which they then can put back into the economy in other venues -- if they have any left over -- or in the case of HL, they pay their people competitively in a positive way, appears to be lost on the heavy thinkers of the Left, while they buzz around on thousand dollar bikes and wear shoes made in China.)

Bobber Fleck said...

This thread is a gold mine of insight and catch phrases for Walker campaign ads.

I suspect Mary will be buried as the campaign progresses. She does not appear to have quick feet or a deep comprehension of political matters.

JAL said...

I check back in here pretty irregularly it is interesting to see GM is still on the payroll. (Not AA's) It must be getting more difficult. I see my lib acquaintances posting stuff on FB which is completely separated from reality. Sad. Scary.

But even my lefty sister commented the other day that
Obama's "...let me be clear ..."s drove her nuts.

The dam must be leaking.

Go Scott Walker! Don't be so "nice," Do be honest.

MadisonMan said...

I don't think Mary Burke promised to keep Trek jobs in WI. That's the reason the "You're worse" ploy sinks, IMO.

Stockholders of Trek should be happy with the way the Company is performing. Welcome to the Global Economy.

bbkingfish said...

Walker seems scared.

He needs close to 60 percent in November to be viable in the 2016 primary. Going negative in July against a tomato can Dem default candidate is not a sign of such strength.

mrego said...

Odd that Politifact is not tracking Obama's promises with similiar zeal:
http://www.politifact.com/truth-o-meter/promises/obameter/promise/1108/create-1-million-new-manufacturing-jobs-end-2016/

Martin Weiss said...

Mary Burke has delivered herself of several whoppers - pants on fire level falsehoods.

Lefties act as deniers on these because science doesn't matter if it favors Republicans or Libertarian arguments.

Rox G said...

And in other breaking news, Gov. Walker offers to close barn door...

madisonfella said...

Republicans can't win on their own ideas, so their stated strategy is to discourage people from voting at all? Something is very wrong about that type of plan. Smells anti-American and downright unpatriotic.

What is really funny is that Scott Walker not only gave public tax dollars to various companies who shipped jobs overseas, those same companies then turned around and gave donations to Walker's campaign. But the conservative-owned media and self-described "neutral" bloggers has very little to say about any of that.

Loren said...

Virtually all the carbon fiber bikes in the world are made in China. Trek, AFAIK, only makes the top line Madone's for the Project One line in the US. These are 9-12 thousand dollar bikes.

Curious George said...

"Democrats are fixated on 250,000 as the number of jobs Walker promised."

Of course they are. And Walker has a huge "You're worse". Not in this outsourcing ad, but in the fact that he has crushed the former administration in job creation. And who was the Commerce Secretary? Mary Burke. He will again pond this fact over and over and over and over in the months to come, including in the debates.

Brando said...

I don't think this sort of attack would do much to dissuade her supporters on the left--they only seem to have problems with greedy capitalists if those capitalists are Republicans. They can withstand a lot of cognitive dissonance when the plutocrat is on their team.

At the same time, Walker's supporters on the right probably won't be moved one way or another--they're already unlikely to support Burke, and the idea that her business practices were "negative" is partly outweighed by the fact that she had business practices at all (rather than being a career civil servant or lawyer).

I'm guessing this is aimed more at the middle--to sort of tar Burke as an unscrupulous businesswoman to help blunt some of the attacks her side will be tossing at Walker. This could keep a few moderates from voting, or even switch their votes to GOP this year.

khesanh0802 said...

@Meade

If TREK is, in fact, a private company they have the good fortune of not having to deal with the SEC - only the IRS.

garage mahal said...

Of course they are. And Walker has a huge "You're worse".

If you had an ounce of self respect you would be cringing over this ridiculous hypocritical attack. Walker doesn't give a shit about outsourcing or what people in China make an hour. He has given millions to companies who outsource. He's taken money from companies who outsource.

To attack a Wisconsin company with a 50 million dollar per year payroll his internal polling must be looking really brutal.

Forbes said...

David said...

Anyhoo, if wealthy outsourcing heiress Burke were a Republican, she would be a laughingstock.

Exactly the Dems/Obama approach to Romney... Goose/gander and all that.

Paul said...

"Garbage is not stupid"

Yes he is.

Rusty said...

MadisonMan said...
I don't think Mary Burke promised to keep Trek jobs in WI. That's the reason the "You're worse" ploy sinks, IMO.

Stockholders of Trek should be happy with the way the Company is performing. Welcome to the Global Economy.

The meme of the left has always been that republicans are shipping jobs overseas. This ad in fact shows that it isn't a republican problem.
It's been a global economy since the Dutch discovered the indies and an island where pepper trees grew.

Curious George said...

"madisonfella said...


What is really funny is that Scott Walker not only gave public tax dollars to various companies who shipped jobs overseas, those same companies then turned around and gave donations to Walker's campaign. But the conservative-owned media and self-described "neutral" bloggers has very little to say about any of that."

Who are these companies?

garage mahal said...

She is running on creating Wisconsin jobs, yet her company has outsourced thousands of jobs to the PRC.

Trek employs 1600 workers worldwide. 1000 in Wisconsin.

AJ Lynch said...

Dems attack companies like Walmart all the time. I bet the Walmart payroll is a bit more than Trek's $50 Million so your argument is dumb.

Harold said...

I bought both a Trek and a Cannondale when the companies made bikes only in the USA. They were both in the same price range as Japanese and European bicycles. At the tie, Chinese made bicycles were only sold in department stores.

The last bike purchased was for my wife, a whole 2 months ago. Made for LL Bean, a quintessential American company, by Schwinn, a well known American brand name, and manufactured in China. Have no idea where all the various parts were made. It's tough to buy American made when there aren't any American made products to buy in the stores you shop at.

Alex said...

Something is very wrong about that type of plan. Smells anti-American and downright unpatriotic.

You sound like you're full of shit. What's really un-American is to engage in wild accusations of the type your just leveled.

Static Ping said...

""China is cheap, we all know that, but why use Holland and Germany to make bikes?""

"In the case of Holland, it's in the middle of one of the best bike markets in the world."

Having been to Amsterdam, I can vouch for the bicycle market there. The Dutch take their bicycles very seriously. There was a bicycle parking garage outside my hotel with a capacity in the thousands and I am told there are constant complaints that it is too small. Dedicated bike lanes are everywhere. There are far more bikes on the road than cars, which makes sense given the gas taxes and the difficulty of finding parking in a city designed for canal boats. (Motor scooters also count as bicycles. They are very common too.)

That said, if Trek makes high-end bikes the Dutch demand is not going to be especially high. One of the most common crimes in Amsterdam is bicycle theft to the point of inspiring a joke:

"The canals in Amsterdam are 3 meters deep: 1 meter of mud, 1 meter of water, and 1 meter of bicycles."

The typical runaround bike is cheap. Most don't have hand brakes. Racing tires would be uncomfortable on the bricks that usually make up the bike lanes. Plus the Dutch have a reputation of running over pedestrians who wander into the bike lanes and a pricey cycle ruins the fun of that. There are high-end bikes in the Netherlands, but they are for serious bikers who lock them up at home.

Unknown said...

What a great post! You can hear Garage’s brain cells exploding like the Aliens in ‘Mars Attacks’!

---Trek employs 1600 workers worldwide.

And pays them a seventy – three cents an hour!!!! Woo hoo!!!


--- Now Trek is a bad bad company.

The inability to distinguish between a large company and a cheap one-trick politician who partly owns a company really sounds like psychopathology. Stay on the meds!

I’m fine with Trek paying its Chinese wage slaves thirty-two cents per hour. ((They can retire in a few years on that BTW because it only takes about 12 cents a day to live in the rural areas)). But impaired voters like Garage won’t be able to figure that out.

You’re the one who hates business Garage. Hate this immensely exploitative evil manufacturer and its female, hypocritical, trust-fund, one-percent toady!!


--- Stockholders of Trek should be happy with the way the Company is performing. Welcome to the Global Economy.

Hmmm sounds like a 1 percenter. Lets drive up the American minimum wage and American energy costs, and American regulations and ship more jobs to China. Cheers to the glorious global elite!! To hell with Americans!!

----Walker doesn't give a shit about outsourcing or what people in China make an hour. ….

There’s that popping sound again!!! Walker wants to bring jobs to Wisconsin that’s his number one goal!! – If only we could get lower energy costs (Obama skyrocketing our costs) and better skilled workers (Obama protecting the education unions). After Mary Burke loses I hope she takes the opportunity to see what Gov Walker and Lt Gov Kleefisch can do to enable Trek to hire more Wisconsinites.

garage mahal said...

@Unknown
You tell 'em Tiger! Walker has Burke right where he wants her! LOL

Curious George said...

"garage mahal said...
He has given millions to companies who outsource. He's taken money from companies who outsource."

What companies?

April Apple said...

Quaestor

That is a great story. The truth is just under the surface.
Scratch a leftist, find a lie.

rcommal said...

It is hard to take seriously someone, anyone, who both politically talks about jobs in the U.S. yet corporately supports the off-shoring of work.

There are many ways to look at that "helluva thing" notion, but regardless of the way, it does indeed come down to "helluva thing, that is."

Unknown said...

---Walker has Burke right where he wants her! LOL

I wonder if she pays her campaign staff minimum wage? LOL

Curious George said...

WHO are all these job outsourcing companies that Walkers sending piles of money too garage?

Loren said...

"Trek employs 1600 workers worldwide. 1000 in Wisconsin"

But how many would they employ if they did not buy their bike frames, both carbon and aluminum from Chinese subcontractors? Those people in China are not Trek employees, even though they make Trek frames.

Meade said...

"Gov. Scott Walker said Monday he would support efforts to ensure that tax credits and other economic development incentives do not go to companies that outsource jobs."

Read more: http://host.madison.com/news/local/govt-and-politics/scott-walker-says-he-would-back-anti-outsourcing-rules/article_3c2d7152-b4fc-5cea-969a-513d84f752e6.html#ixzz38sy7WVwL

madisonfella said...

"Gov. Scott Walker said Monday he would support efforts to ensure that tax credits and other economic development incentives do not go to companies that outsource jobs."

What goes unsaid is that there weren't any such efforts up to this point, and even now there isn't anything more than just a press release.

Meanwhile, the actual changes, not mere proposals, being implemented at the WEDC are those of more secrecy and less oversight. But as usual, very little is said about that in the conservative-owned media.