A column appeared this past week declaring Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker's campaign dead on arrival, as though he had missed the momentum and squandered his chances, or that his serial "flip-flopping" have made him unacceptable and unelectable,
The article appears below with comments to follow debunking much of the left-slanting commentary:
July 10, 2015
ADVERTISEMENTRemember Scott Walker?
You might have forgotten him after a mini-bus worth of Republican candidates made their official 2016 campaign announcements. Jeb Bush and Marco Rubio are running the most impressive campaigns in the early going. Mike Huckabee, Ben Carson, Bobby Jindal, and Rick Santorum are gunning and grinning for what's left of the Moral Majority. Ohio's Jon Kasich, whose truth-telling style is reminiscent of 90s-era George Pataki, may try his luck — at which point he may cross paths with Pataki himself, who is also running. Rand Paul is drifting on the edges, and Ted Cruz has been eclipsed in sheer volume by Donald Trump.
Conservatives voters and Republican activists should not disparage the wide bench of talent in the 2016 Republican Presidential election. Republicans from state and federal offices, with distinguished records of accomplishment, ran for President in 1980, expecting not just a worthy fight but a fighting change of winning the White House against a whiny, malaise-ridden Democratic incumbent. Their bet was right, and for that reason so many Republicans were running.
Out of that intense primary fight emerged Ronald Reagan, who had lost the primary fight twice before, followed by future VP George Herbert Walker Bush.
And lost in this overflow is Scott Walker, who was once a sure thing. He's the guy who won three hostile elections in a purplish state, and who defeated a major public sector union and lived to tell the tale. Scott Walker is likely to announce his official entrance into the race soon. But the months leading up to it have left him looking diminished.
Walker has not been lost in this outpouring of talent. Media affiliates have reported his strong polling numbers in key battleground states, plus his impressive fundraising overhaul through independent expenditures and other support groups.
First there was his performance at CPAC, which revealed that Walker is almost entirely untutored in foreign affairs. Remember when he said that if he could take on 100,000 protestors in Wisconsin, he could take on ISIS? In which direction is that comparison more idiotic? He's been reading a few books on the subject, though. So there's that.
Many Presidential contenders are unskilled in foreign policy precisely because of their prior domestic record. Governor Walker has been governing in Wisconsin. No one should be surprised by that. In fact, the media and the constituents of the home state would find many reasons to fault their governors and state leaders if they spent more time on international junkets rather than working with legislators and getting things done.
Walker also slipped into near self-parody when he hailed Reagan's conflict with the air-traffic controllers union as a major foreign policy victory. What's next, fixing entitlements by defeating the electrician's union?
That statement was not self-parody. Such rhetoric is incoherent at best, anyway. How was Walker making fun or himself or mocking his chances? Because Reagan took a strong stance against the air traffic controllers, he sent a strong message to interest groups as well as world leaders that he meant what he said, and would follow through on his threats.
Donors noticed these slip-ups. But Walker also hurt his reputation with less wealthy supporters. Despite portraying himself as a fearless man of the political battle, he engaged in some embarrassing pandering by firing an adviser merely because she had expressed some coherent views on Iowa's pathetic reliance on ethanol subsidies. The supposed fighter caved before the corn lobby, since he sees Iowa as his best shot at establishing himself in the race. The former opponent of ethanol is now a friend of the stuff.
The slip-ups mentioned hyperlinked in the above paragraph neglect to point out that some of the donors were already supporting other candidates. They were tipping their hand, so to speak, and regardless of Walker's statements, they had made up their minds.
Muddying his positions has been Walker's modus operandi since the beginning of the 2016 campaign. He's made a mess of his stance on immigration. He told Fox News he opposes amnesty, then went to New Hampshire and said he supports granting citizenship to 11 million undocumented immigrants. He reconciled these positions by saying he wanted to secure the border first, then naturalize those 11 million. And back in 2006 he was for a comprehensive immigration reform bill that had a path to citizenship. So really, who knows?
These comments are patently untrue. Walker has clarified his position on immigration, making it very clear that securing the border, plus e-verify, are essential reforms, plus streamlining the legal system. A number of Republicans and conservatives supported a pathway to citizenship, yet have since abandoned those views in face of the disastrous consequences of President Obama's illegal amnesty proclamations. He repealed in-state tuition for illegal aliens in 2011, he has joined with Texas Governor Greg Abbot's lawsuit against executive amnesty. What more do conservatives want?
He's created a similar mess on education. Gearing up to be the conservatives' conservative, Walker is now opposed to Common Core standards, which are often labeled "ObamaCore" by the policy's most active conservative opponents. But as governor, Walker mostly let Core standards come into place, and offered only the most token opposition to them. His approach to this issue is much worse than that of Jeb Bush, who frames his unapologetic and occasionally unpopular support for Common Core in conservative terms of accountability. In the past week, a diverse ideological coalition demanded that Walker stop giving "excuses and half truths" about this issue.
Even though heated interest groups share frustrations with Scott Walker about the implementation of Common Core, none of their outrage should induce anyone to believe that embraces Common Core. He strengthened local control on the curriculum, and has called for its repeal. No one should forget that Walker had to work with what was already implemented a long time ago from the previous liberal Democratic governor.
Scott Walker has earned an incredible amount of antipathy from certain conservative journalists, including those whose sympathy he needs in a multi-polar race. The polls show very little movement, and don't tell us much anyway in a race with this many candidates. But for those watching the race closely, and those who have a role in shaping perceptions of Walker, it's been a bad first half of 2015 for the governor of Wisconsin. He has to start changing that right now, before he's shoved to the back of the GOP's clown car.
Certain conservative journalists, like in Breitbart, seem to have tipped their hand for Ted Cruz or Rand Paul. Politico has reported how Ted Cruz is using his record popularity on the conservative website to his advantage, too.
There is nothing wrong with news sites' sharing their slant or political view on issues. More newspapers should do that, especially those media organs which claim to be objective and unbiased (they are not). The attacks launched against Walker have included anonymous conservations which are not substantiated. In fact, Walker has survived a number of petty media fails.
The Week's weak attacks not only expose the trumped-up agenda of media affiliates, whether left or right, but also the resilience of a state executive who pushed back against Labor Unions, both public and private, while also cutting taxes and spending, protecting life and expanding gun ownership rights, too.
Once again, weak attacks against the Wisconsin Governor are only strengthening him for the general election fight.