Thursday, July 02, 2015


The donor class just sent a memo about Scott Walker to Maggie Haberman and Jonathan Martin of The New York Times. Haberman and Martin got the Times to publish it virtually unedited:
Gov. Scott Walker of Wisconsin spent months persuading influential Republicans that he alone had the impressive conservative achievements and mainstream American appeal needed to not only win the party’s nomination but also to recapture the White House....

Now a growing number of party leaders say Mr. Walker is raising questions about his authenticity and may be jeopardizing his prospects in states where voters’ sensibilities are more moderate.

His response to the Supreme Court’s decision legalizing same-sex marriage most emphatically demonstrated his sharp shift to the right: Mr. Walker called the court’s ruling “a grave mistake” and reiterated his call for a constitutional amendment that would allow states to ban same-sex marriage....

After Mr. Walker moved to support Iowa’s prized ethanol subsidies, abandoned his support for an immigration overhaul and spoke out against the Common Core national education standards, his pointed tone on marriage caused some Republicans to ask publicly whether he is too willing to modify his views to aid his ambitions.
If you read between the lines, it's obvious that flip-flopping is not what's bothering "some Republicans" -- it's the deviations from what the donor class considers Correct Thinking:
The [ethanol] reversal was not well received in the political network led by the industrialists David H. and Charles G. Koch, according to a Republican aware of the reaction who spoke on the condition of anonymity because of sensitivities over the group’s deliberations.

But [Walker's] stance on marriage is what has disquieted people who had counted on Mr. Walker taking a more restrained approach to the culture wars.

For several months, according to four people briefed on the discussions who were not authorized to describe an off-the-record meeting, Republican donors who were advocates for legalizing same-sex marriage had worked quietly to try to build bridges to Mr. Walker....
Yeah, they want a guy who won't make a fuss about marriage.

Further into the article, Stephen Moore of the Heritage Foundation, who supports immigration reform, assures us that Walker probably isn't really a hard-liner on immigration, despite his recent tough talk -- but based on Walker's words, that's another issue on which he and the fat cats are now at odds.

Meanwhile, Crooks & Liars quotes Chris Matthews, who's probably also parroting the GOP Establishment line:
During a segment on Hardball Wednesday, Chris Matthews ran a series of right-wing freakout statements about President Obama's decision to reopen the embassy in Cuba.... Scott Walker's was crafted for the warmongering nativist right wing.

"President Obama’s decision to establish full diplomatic relations with Cuba and open an embassy there is yet another example of his appeasement of dictators," Walker wrote.

Why this would shock Tweety, I will never know, but it did.

"I'm starting to lose faith in Scott Walker as a reasonable person," Tweety lamented. "He's aping the right wing."
That, I guess, was Walker's rep in the Beltway: He's "a reasonable person," by the Establishment's definition of that term (i.e., merciless on taxes and unionization, but not conservative in any way that threatens business interests).

The Times article is a horse's head in Walker's bed -- a warning that the cash isn't going to flow as freely as he'd like unless he falls into line with the wishes of the fat-cat community.

But what Walker is doing is understandable: He's staking a lot on Iowa, and while he still leads there, his lead is slipping; nationwide, he's now in the second tier. The guy who's gaining right now, Donald Trump, isn't exactly doing it by being sober and moderate.

However, I wonder if the rise of Trump makes the Enraged Conservative lane a bit too crowded, to Walker's detriment. Walker's already competing with Cruz, Paul, and Huckabee in the Angry Refusenik lane. (I'm not going to distinguish between angry social conservatives, angry occasionally neo-Confederate semi-libertarians, and angry ad hoc blowhards, because they're all trying to channel roughly the same Fox/talk radio anger.)

But the donors thought Walker could bring those furious voters along and run as an Establishment guy. If he's choosing not to run as that sort of hybrid, and if the Establishment stops giving him quite so much money, it's going to a very easy race for Jeb Bush in the Not Completely Crazy lane.

Marco Rubio is struggling. Chris Christie is not going to make a comeback. John Kasich probably has more fans at the Aspen Ideas Festival than in the New Hampshire and Iowa electorates combined.

So if Walker keeps trying to sound like Trump (and Cruz and Huckabee), he might cede all the not-quite-crazy voters to Jeb, and that might be enough for Jeb to win. But we'll see.


Victor said...

The deranged and angry old white folks and the Teabagger set still forms the tail that wags the GOP dog.

To win Iowa conservatives over, you have to match their anger and derangement, or you'll lose.

Unfortunately for the GOP Presidential candidates - but fortunate for the nation - it makes it harder for them to veer back to a more centrist position.

Trump is pulling them even further than the rest now. And the GOP money-boys can't do anything to "Teh Dumbnald," like cut off his money, because, though he probably isn't as rich as he claims, he ain't exactly in a flophouse either, and can self-fund as long as he's interested.

Victor said...

Also too - does Chris Matthews ever watch his own show?

Does he not listen or understand what he's saying, and his guest's are saying?

How can anyone look at and listen to Scott Wanker (sic) and not see a hard-core conservative?

Our DC MSM Villagers are completely tone-deaf and clue-free!

nonynony said...

But the donors thought Walker could bring those furious voters along and run as an Establishment guy.

They bought this guy's press and thought he was the second coming of George W. Bush. Who was the second coming of Ronald Reagan as far as GOP presidential primary politicking is concerned.

Nope - Walker doesn't have the campaigning chops to be either GWB or Ronald Reagan. I don't think Jeb! does either, to be honest.

mlbxxxxxx said...

Going after the crazy base, which, let's face it, is the base, is probably almost impossibly tempting because that's where the energy is and, at least it looks like, that's where the votes are. The noise in the GOP is all on the hard right and so they seem bigger than they are. And they do have more influence than their absolute numbers would indicate, not that they are not a significant segment of the party.

Bottom line is that you probably don't get the same positive feedback by trying to sound sensible, whereas the crazies give you all the love, or it seems like it. Crazies are, however being crazy, fickle so it's harder to get a firm footing. That's why last time everybody got a moment in the sun but they fell about as quickly as they'd risen.

I think it's going to be interesting to see if Kasich pulls the trigger. Now there's a guy with a rep for being a sensible conservative. He, I think, could give Jeb a real run for his money in the rational wing. Bet that'd bring out a little of the crazy in Jeb.

petrilli said...

During Walker's recorded phone conversation with Ian Murphy, posing as David Koch, Walker brags (to the ersatz Koch Brother) about deliberately hiding his radicalism to get working class votes during the election, knowing he was planning an all out assault on Collective Bargaining as soon as he would take office. Knowing also that he planned an equally vigorous assault on Wisconsin abortion rights.

Check out the recording. It's chilling to eavesdrop on a cold blooded lying bastard when he thinks no one is listening.

Frank Moraes said...

I wonder if it isn't exactly the opposite. The elite see that Walker is slipping because he seems just too much the candidate of the elite and not an authentic conservative in the way that the base sees it. So the elite's leaking of information that they are none too happy with him will help him show that he is his own man. Meanwhile, the elite don't care what Walker thinks about same-sex marriage, because it won't be an issue in the general election. He's still their boy. He'll still cut their taxes, destroy regulation, and harm workers by any means possible.

petrilli said...

No worries for Walker. The Obama administration has his back.

petrilli said...

Bad link above. Its to NY Magazine Article by Chaite regarding Obama directly challenging Walker on labor policy in Wisconsin.
The spin being that Obama is elevating Walker's status in the GOP primary deliberately.

Die alte Aechzener said...

"Chris Matthews, who's probably also parroting the GOP Establishment line"= does he ever do anything else?

oh and to Victor: No, No, the power of self delusion