[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.