Sunday, February 22, 2015


So Dan Balz and Robert Costa of The Washington Post spoke to Scott Walker yesterday, and I imagine you already know what happened:
Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, a prospective Republican presidential contender, said Saturday he does not know whether President Obama is a Christian.

“I don’t know,” Walker said in an interview at the JW Marriott hotel in Washington, where he was attending the winter meeting of the National Governors Association.

Told that Obama has frequently spoken publicly about his Christian faith, Walker maintained that he was not aware of the president’s religion.

“I’ve actually never talked about it or I haven’t read about that,” Walker said, his voice calm and firm. “I’ve never asked him that,” he added. “You’ve asked me to make statements about people that I haven’t had a conversation with about that. How [could] I say if I know either of you are a Christian?”
Charles Johnson thought Walker was playing defense. I disagree:

I think Walker was going on offense -- he was seizing an opportunity to curry favor with the base and to further establish himself as the new King of the Wingnuts.

It's working. The base hates the fact that he was asked this question and loves his response, especially this part:
Walker said such questions from reporters are reflective of a broader problem in the nation’s political-media culture, which he described as fixated on issues that are not relevant to most Americans.

“To me, this is a classic example of why people hate Washington and, increasingly, they dislike the press,” he said. “The things they care about don’t even remotely come close to what you’re asking about.”

Walker said he does not believe that most Americans care about such matters.“People in the media will [judge], not everyday people,” he said. “I would defy you to come to Wisconsin. You could ask 100 people, and not one of them would say that this is a significant issue.”
That's nonsense, of course -- the right-wing base is obsessed with the question of what Obama believes in (short answer: not America, not capitalism, and not Christianity). The wingers got thrills up their legs when he said this.

Kemberlee Kaye at Legal Insurrection in a post titled "The Washington Post Played ‘Gotcha’ with Scott Walker (and Lost)," described this as "the WaPo Inquisition" and said that Balz and Cota were "shamed" by Walker's attack on Washington and the media. Scott Greer of the Daily Caller decried "the most outlandish question posed to a potential candidate yet." And Gateway Pundit's Jim Hoft, with his usual infantile fondness for all caps, titled his post "Gov. Walker DESTROYS LIBERAL MEDIA After Latest Attempt at Gotcha Question." ("Liberal media"? Um, Costa used to write for National Review, and, in fact, once had a William F. Buckley Journalism Fellowship at the National Review Institute.)

So: big win for Walker in his pursuit of the nomination, right?

Well, maybe not. He's going to keep climbing in the polls, but I bet he's alienating some of the big-money boys who thought the 2014 was a GOP year because the Establishment wrested control of campaigns from the Tea Party. I bet Walker's driving some of the fence-sitters right into the arms of Jeb Bush.

Even before this Balz/Costa interview, mainstream media mandarin Dana Milbank was writing that Walker's silence in response to Rudy Giuliani's McCarthyite comments about Obama should disqualify Walker from the presidency. A piece at The New York Times right now is titled "Establishment Republicans Question Scott Walker’s Handling of Giuliani Comments" And notice what's at the bottom of the front page of today's New York Daily News:

From the story:
Larry Sabato of the University of Virginia’s Center for Politics said Giuliani’s remarks could backfire on the Republicans as the campaign continues.

“Rudy’s comments are red meat -- no, filet mignon -- for the GOP activist base,” he said. “But Rudy’s patriotic breast-beating hurts with voters who are turned off by invective.

“Rudy has put all the GOP presidential candidates in a tough spot. They can’t win no matter how they respond to his comments.”
Yes, but Jeb deftly tiptoed away from Giuliani's comments:
A statement distributed by aides said that "Governor Bush doesn't question President Obama's motives. He does question President Obama's disastrous policies."
It shouldn't matter what the Daily News thinks, but don't forget, Mort Zuckerman, the chairman and publisher of the News, was one of the movers and shakers in attendance when Giuliani smeared the president and Walker said nothing. In order to become president, Walker needs to thread the needle, holding on to his wingnut base while impressing just enough powerful centrists (in both the donor and media classes) to secure both the nomination and a general election victory. I've been thinking that he's now the favorite for the nomination, but if the money people don't think so, and the centrist press starts portraying him as Ted Cruz rather than the declaring him safe the way George W. Bush was declared safe in 2000, then his needle-threading isn't working.

But boy, is the next round of GOP polls going to look good for him.


aimai said...

I think its complicated--hard to guess how this or that attack on Obama plays out long term when Obama himself is not going to be on the ballot. For example "my opponent is an anti family muslim communist and not a christian" plays well right now with the base (and always will) but if mudslinging of this nature is all Walker's got he's going to be at a dead loss vis a vis Hilary Clinton. Even the kind of anti hilary the bitch hate that the base perfected when she was a younger woman (and that they keep up because, like Jane Fonda, she exists frozen in their memories) will seem absurd when launched against Grandma-Secretary of State Hillary.

So I think people are right when they say that Walker's response was stupid, weak, and reactionary (in a literal sense). He isn't thinking stratgically or long term, he isn't thinking like a man about to step onto a national stage. He is still thinking like a small town race hustler and grifter, which he is.

M. Bouffant said...

Amuse yourself w/ Hinderaker's advice to candidates who dare not reveal their true natures & beliefs.

Steve M. said...

When the Koch brothers get colds, Hinderaker develops laryngitis.

Roger said...

Has Scotty ever had a conversation with the leadership of ISIS?

aimai said...

Woah! M. Bouffant. I don't know whether to thank you for linking to that Hindraker thing but holy shit is that evil and stupid all at the same time. The thing that strikes me about it is how desperate these people always are to imagine themselves the power behind the throne. Here's a guy, hindraker, who has never run for office and never will who is giving instructions to "the man in the arena." However much I may despise each and every republican officeholder I don't think they need any instructions on how to ratfuck, lie, dissemble, and deceive.

Anonymous said...

"every republican officeholder I don't think they need any instructions on how to ratfuck, lie, dissemble, and deceive."

Where-as, by implication, 'every Democrat office-holder' is truthful and honourable and wouldn't fuck a rat - ever!

"I never touched that rat!"

Anonymous said...

And this from the WaPo tells you why Walker won three times in Wisconsin and will win nationally in 2016 - if the RINOs butt out!

"Unions representing teachers, professors, trash collectors and other government employees are struggling to stem plummeting membership rolls and retain relevance in the state where they got their start."

Dark Avenger said...

Yeah, busting the chops of organized labor in the public sector works in WI. But now they're skipping debt payments because of his tax cuts. Way to show Republican fiscal responsibility, guys:

(Bloomberg) -- Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker, facing a $283 million deficit that needs to be closed by the end of June, will skip more than $100 million in debt payments to balance the books thrown into disarray by his tax cuts.

The move comes as Walker, 47, mounts a 2016 bid for the Republican presidential nomination, and while his state is under stress from a projected shortfall that could exceed $2 billion in the two-year budget beginning in July.

Delaying the $108 million principal payment due in May on short-term debt would free funds. The move doesn’t require legislative approval, the nonpartisan Legislative Fiscal Bureau said in a Feb. 13 memorandum. The terms of the debt sale allow Wisconsin to defer the payment in any given year, a procedure known as a restructuring, without defaulting.

“They need some cash,” said Todd Berry, president of the Wisconsin Taxpayers Alliance, a nonpartisan research group that examines taxes and government spending. “This is kicking the can down the road.”

Anonymous said...

How big would the deficit have been if he hadn't cut back on the bloated cost of public employees?

Dark Avenger said...

He didn't cut back as much from the "bloated public employees" salaries as he did from his tax cuts, duff. Do you even bother to read and think before you respond here?

Regardless of the reason, kicking the can down the road is rarely considered good public policy by any thinking person, which would explain why you don't seem to have a problem with it.

Dark Avenger said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

Even so, DA, the deficit would have been BIGGER!

Dark Avenger said...

Nope, not even close, duff, it's about failed promises that have yet to materialize.

A year ago lawmakers exuberantly approved a more than $800 million tax-cut package after budget forecasters projected a nearly billion-dollar windfall in unanticipated tax revenue.

Critics worried about a potential deficit in the 2015-17 budget, but Gov. Scott Walker and other Republicans countered that tax cuts would spur the economy and revenues would continue to grow.

“I will promise you that at this point next year the structural deficit will be gone,” Rep. Dale Kooyenga, R-Brookfield, told the State Journal in January 2014.

On Tuesday, Walker will propose a roughly $70 billion two-year budget plan that must solve a shortfall of about $2 billion. Among other things, it is expected to include a dramatic $300 million cut to the University of Wisconsin System in exchange for more autonomy, flat funding for K-12 public schools, agency mergers and borrowing for road projects rather than raising gas taxes or vehicle fees.

Part of the reason for the $2 billion shortfall is that the state is on pace to collect less than half of the projected $912 million windfall that was the basis for Walker’s tax-cut package last year. The nonpartisan Legislative Fiscal Bureau projects the state will end the year with a $233 million deficit after starting the year with a $517 million surplus.

Kooyenga, a member of the Legislature’s powerful budget committee, acknowledged that he was wrong to promise that the state’s structural deficit would be erased, but with five months to go in the current fiscal year there’s still time for state revenues to catch up to projections.

“I still think that the jury is out,” Kooyenga said. “I’m very confident in May (after spring tax collections are totaled) we’ll see more revenue."

Ten Bears said...

Duff, go back to your Mamas' basement, put on your pajamas, crack open a bag of artificially flavored corn chips and dial up some porn.

Erik C. said...

Hey, duff

After Scotty won his recall election, what happened in his state in November of 2012?