Friday, February 27, 2015


I see that Dave Weigel is using the word "gaffe" to describe Scott Walker's assertion at CPAC that he's ready to take on ISIS because he took on unions -- even though, as Weigel concedes, "In the room, it killed." According to Weigel, you know that Walker and his backers think he committed a gaffe because the remark is now being described as a joke. That's true in at least one instance -- but it's not being described as just any kind of joke:
[Walker] gave no indication that he was joking. That only emerged at Thursday night's CPAC parties and at one of Friday's first speeches, from conservative radio host Laura Ingraham.

"My friend Craig Shirley reminded me of this," said Ingraham, citing the historian of Ronald Reagan's presidential bids. "In 1980, Ronald Reagan was campaigning—I think it was before the New Hampshire primary -- and he said, I know how to deal with the Soviets. I can bring them to the negotiating table. After all, I had to deal with the old studio chiefs in Hollywood. And the media, just like they did with Scott Walker, went after him. Oh, how could he compare dealing with the studio heads? And Ronald Reagan basically said, 'I have a sense of humor, and you don't.'"

You can watch Ingraham say this in the following clip. She gets to Walker a few minutes in, after a series of nasty remarks about Jeb Bush (like Rush Limbaugh, she says that Bush and Clinton should run on the same ticket).

At about 2:40, Ingraham prefaces the reference to Reagan by saying,
But we have to realize, my friends, you go into battle with the political system you have. And we already know that the media and much of the donor class is hostile to conservatism. And guess what? That's been true for a very long time. They were joking on MSNBC this morning about Scott Walker's comment yesterday....
And so on, until we get to Reagan talking about Hollywood.

Do you see where I'm going? Even if Ingraham is trying to help Walker to do a climbdown, she's saying his remark is being pounced on by the same sorts of evil media liberals who hated and underestimated Reagan, the greatest human being who ever walked the earth.

How the hell does that comparison leave Walker with any lasting damage as far as rank-and-file Republicans are concerned? If you say Walker joked the way Reagan joked, how does he lose face with the voters he seeks?

By the way, I can't find Shirley's anecdote online. I searched a number of ways, including within the texts of Shirley's voluminous history of the 1980 campaign. My search skills may be failing me, but if I'm right, this never actually happened.

Then again, Reagan liked to make up stories that "proved" his point, didn't he? Reagan was criticized in the media for this, but it never seemed to do him serious harm.

At the very least, Walker is being mocked now by just the sorts of people whose mockery proves his point about the vastness of the army arrayed against all True Patriots. Maybe incidents like this are making the money boys skittish about Walker, but in his quest to become President of Red America, this is a positive development, not a negative one.


Victor said...

Scottie Wanker - a sense of humor?

He has much more in common with Nixon, than Reagan.

He's evil Spock in that one episode, minus the humanity.

RIP - Leonard Nimoy.


Roger said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Roger said...

Shirley is the punk who accused Rick Perlstein of plagiarism. And has taken no action since.

The liar could be Shirley, not Ingraham.

Steve M. said...

Oh, absolutely.

Ken_L said...

Walker's stupid bit of chest-beating has diverted attention from the real dangers disclosed by his speech: "we'll send a message not only that we'll protect American soil but do not take this upon freedom-loving people anywhere else in the world." This is early G W Bush evangelism at its worst, "bringing God's gift of freedom to the world". It's going abroad looking for monsters to slay with a vengeance; a recipe for endless military interventions in other countries in the name of "protecting freedom-loving people".

The man doesn't just lack foreign policy experience. He lacks knowledge and judgement.

aimai said...

You are right about this steve. No right wing politician ever went broke following Nixon's "orthogonian" strategy. When in doubt: lash out. However, that just makes the struggle between various factions in the republican party more interesting. It doesn't mean Walker is a lock. It just means that we can see his pathway to certain votes.