Sunday, July 12, 2015

Is Walker's Campaign Over Before It Starts?

Michael Brendan Dougherty, writing at The Week, discusses Scott Walker's campaign and his chances at winning the GOP nomination. Dougherty notes that Walker was in the driver's seat and looked like he had a real chance but with the clown car turning into a clown microbus and Walker's own inconsistencies and hypocrisies are leaving Walker "diminished."

Dougherty then gives a fairly good, although in no way exhaustive, laundry list of Walker's foibles, flip flops and fails:
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.

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?

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.

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?

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.
As a Wisconsinite, I can tell you that this is like a breath of fresh air. Not that I am taking any pride in an incompetent, corrupt hypocrite as our governor.

But when you look at the major corporate news sites in Wisconsin, they are gushing all over Walker and his campaign. And even when they force themselves to admit that Walker might have some problems, they bury it at the bottom of the article, knowing that most readers will have moved on to another story before they get that far.

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