Pat Snyder has a problem. As he runs for the 85th Assembly District, he’s been trying to rewrite his narrative to make the dozen years of fact-challenged, intolerant, right-wing manifesto that he has spewed on his 550 Radio program look like something different than what it was. He’s tried to paint himself as an “entertainer” and someone who did what he did and said what he said “for the ratings.” His supporters are trying to help out by following the time-honored Karl Rove technique of taking their own candidate’s biggest liability and trying to project it on the opponent to neutralize it as an issue.
The only problem is that none of that is true and it’s not working. When it comes to hacks tirelessly demonstrating the dubious art of incivility in the public square, Pat Snyder is the genuine article.
Besides his ridiculously partisan radio program, Snyder doubled-down on his dogma. He traveled around the state carrying water for the Koch-founded and funded Americans for Prosperity and became so popular with the extremist AstroTurf movement that they gave him an award. Snyder regularly rolled out the red carpet for far-right spokespeople from AFP; World Net (a.k.a. Wing Nut) Daily, the Tea Party and an intermittent parade of sketchy conspiracy theorists to come to his program and help dumb down the public discourse.
His audience seemed to change in his years on the program. Eventually, listeners could count on the same few dozen like-minded callers to routinely chime in from Snyder’s Amen Corner, knowing they had a ready forum to nod and approve. Gross misrepresentations went unchallenged, so long as they fit Snyder’s agenda of demonizing public employees, Democrats and anyone else that didn’t fit the stereotypical role of what he thought a patriotic American ought to look, sound and be labeled like. He enthusiastically put the ‘impugn’ in impunity — both on the air and from rostrums across Wisconsin.
But now, as he aspires to become an actual leader of something besides a splinter cheering section for the radical right, Snyder wants you to buy into his new spin that it was all just an act. His supporters are writing letters to the editor trying to question his opponent’s ability to work across party lines because Mandy Wright stood up for her beliefs, her profession and public education when they were under assault from the lockstep GOP team in the legislature that Snyder now wants to join. Mandy Wright has been completely forthcoming about participating in a legitimate effort to petition the government and exercise constitutional rights. Conversely, Pat Snyder is trying to walk back 12 years of being an unreasonable, hyper partisan, on-air bully and selling it as some kind of thoughtful discussion of issues. The trouble is it’s way too far to walk.
Snyder’s supporters are fervently (and disingenuously) trying to dismiss the facts. The obvious truth is that they’re supporting him precisely because they absolutely do not believe it when Snyder says it was all some kind of ruse. They want and expect the exact same Pat Snyder that they know from his outrageous radio program. And they’re perfectly safe to presume that is what we’d be getting because that is the only Pat Snyder that there is. It’s not some new, improved Pat Snyder with balanced views, an open mind and respect for fair debate that is running for the legislature. No, it’s the same guy that he’s always been since he moved to town a dozen years ago to raise hell and fly the ultra-conservative banner, both on and off the air.
I know. I sat in the studio with him every Friday morning for years, as he was cultivating an audience willing to listen to his narrow-minded rhetoric and reciting contorted right-wing talking points. It wasn’t like he invited me. I had been appearing with a bipartisan panel on the Friday show to talk about issues for years before Snyder ever showed up in Wausau and it was something he had inherited.
For anyone looking for true leadership, Pat Snyder is not a solution. Instead, he is part and parcel of what is wrong with our public dialogue. And he’ll be happy to continue his act and use our state letterhead to embarrass the people of Central Wisconsin for as long as they allow him to be their “voice in Madison,” which I sincerely hope will be not at all. Because after spending that much time up close and getting to know what Pat Snyder is all about, I can assure you that five minutes with Mandy Wright is all that it takes to know that she is a far better choice to be representing the majority of people in the 85th Assembly District.
UPDATE: Snyder told to stop with the defamatory, false accusations and libel about Mandy Wright. Translation: The guy looks pretty desperate: