Are Kathleen Falk’s union backers the best thing that ever happened to rival Tom Barrett?

In the Wisconsin recall battle, could Tom Barrett have any better asset than the unions who favor Kathleen Falk over him?

Nietzsche would say no: Any union criticism of theirs that doesn’t kill him actually makes him stronger.

Falk trails the late-entering Barrett for the race to challenge Scott Walker, and she’s desperately willing to watch her union allies slam Barrett (falsely) as anti-worker. I doubt that Falk can get past Barrett without a negative campaign.

She doesn’t need to wage that campaign directly – she’ll happily sit back while surrogates do so.

But as long as these criticisms don’t put Falk ahead of Barrett, they’re actually a favor to him. Barrett will be able to go into a general recall election against Gov. Walker with a message sure to appeal to independents: I’m committed to labor, but no one – not even unions – owns me.

Barrett will still get the pro-labor vote in a race against Walker, and he’ll also be more appealing to independent-minded voters.

Every attack that Falk and her organizational allies make against Barrett – so long as it doesn’t sink him in the primary – actually helps Barrett in a general election. (I doubt that she can sink him; he’s simply a more engaging candidate than she is.)

Barrett’s best friend against Gov. Walker? The heavy-hitting friends that Kathleen Falk has now.

Posted originally on 4.6.12 at Daily Adams.

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