Monday, August 31, 2015


Today in The Washington Post, Dan Balz and Jenna Johnson are asking, "What happened to Scott Walker?" They blame Walker's decline in the polls on his campaign's stumbles, as well as the rise of Donald Trump:
Walker’s backers see a campaign discombobulated by Trump’s booming popularity and by his provocative language on immigration, China and other issues. They see in Walker a candidate who -- in contrast to the discipline he showed in state races -- continues to commit unforced errors, either out of lack of preparation or in an attempt to grab for part of the flamboyant businessman’s following.
In the latter category are confused statements about immigration -- most recently, he's suggested that we might need a wall on the U.S.-Canada border.

Yeah, he's trying too hard. He's making mistakes. But he'd be struggling even if he were running a flawless campaign.

Walker was supposed to be Trump. Walker was the guy who was going to be smite all the people right-wingers hate. That's what he told them in that January speech in Iowa, the one that, as National Review's Michael Barone wrote at the time, catapulted him into the top tier:
Many activists in the crowd, but by no means all Iowa Republicans, knew that he had battled the public-employee unions in Wisconsin -- and that the Left, which prides itself on compassion and civility -- responded with riots and death threats and a June 2012 recall election. Walker won that contest as he had in 2010 and did again in 2014: three elections in four years in a state that has voted Democratic for president since 1988.

Walker had his applause lines down pat: We celebrate the Fourth of July, not the 15th of April; the safety net should be not a hammock but a trampoline. His emphasis was almost entirely on economic issues, but laced through his text were references that sounded offhand and authentic to family and faith.
Walker was going to crush unions, stop doling out so much government money to them, and get liberals squealing -- he knew how to beat us in elections. Wow! That's slaying a lot of enemies! But Trump has the base believing he can slay all the enemies:

Walker won three elections and hates everyone the base hates -- but Trump seems to hate everyone the base hates and he's a billionaire, which, to the base, means he has the necessary executive experience to do anything he wants to.

Walker isn't a D.C. politician, but Trump isn't a politician at all -- and Trump has now made GOP voters believe they can reject politics altogether in this election. That's helping Ben Carson to rise in the polls as well. Walker was supposed to be the Jesus-loving, soft-spoken Boy Scout who smites all the enemies with his righteous wrath, but voters who like the soft-spoken and God-bothering parts of that formula are gravitating toward Carson, while fans of pure smiting love Trump, who promises to do nothing but smite.

If Walker were what voters really wanted, he'd survive his campaign's awkward moments -- the multiple answers on the question of birthright citizenship, the claim that beating unions means he can beat ISIS. (When Trump claims he can crush ISIS, isn't he also saying you can count on him to triumph because in the past he's bested some foes in stateside wars of wills that are completely unlike geostrategy? And don't the voters nevertheless find him completely plausible?)

Voters liked Walker because he seemed like the best they could do. But now, with Trump (and Carson) they think they can destroy politics altogether. Walker just can't compete.

(Tweet via Paul Canning.)


Diane said...

One thing usually gets left out of the talk of Walker's public union slaying. He only took on the "easy" unions--teachers, for example. He didn't even attempt to tackle police and firefighter unions. That makes his talk about taking on ISIS like he took on public unions seem rather....hollow.

Victor said...

Like "Spinal Tap” did with volume, every time you think they’ve reached their maximum level of “TEH STOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOPID!,” they find yet another new level!

Gov. Snottie Wanker just broke the “TEH STOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOPID” dial!

Man, they just don’t know when to quit!

ladyblug said...

You forgot to mention that he's an IDIOT!

swkellogg said...

I think his problem is far simpler. He looks like a dweeb.

Frank Wilhoit said...

"...they think they can destroy politics altogether..."

We could wish! Because politics is the problem; the metric of totalitarianism is not what kind of politics you have, but how much politics you have; to put it another way, which areas of life (law, medicine, science, the arts, academia) are contaminated by politics that ought to be free of it.

But by that standard, the Trumpets are not trying to abolish politics, but to embed it inextricably. They (for it is the Republican Party of whom we speak) have spent the past ~40 years destroying consensus, inciting irreconcilability, and they can't change course now; they can't imagine any alternate strategy. Trumpetmusic is merely the latest tactic.

Professor Chaos said...

I would have thought Chris Christie was supposed to be Trump, the blustering Northeastern blowhard and bully who will shout down any dissent.

Monty said...

So, Trump replaced Walker, who is vying to replace Perry (probably due to drop out soon...sadface) as Too Dumb to Run for GOP POTUS this cycle.

mlbxxxxxx said...

I think it is more about celebrity. Everybody's got a billionaire in their back pocket -- or can have. The base believes that celebrity will win them the election. Or maybe a black guy, or a woman, in other words, the celebrity of tokenism which they think won it for Obama. This explains the current state of the polls. Trump/Carson/Fiorina all on top. Boring guys on the bottom. Not a dimes worth of difference between any of their policy details, such as they are.

The New York Crank said...

I pray every night that Trump will continue in his excellent work of splitting the Republican party, paving the way for another Democratic presidency.

Yours crankily,
The New York Crank

Unknown said...

Trump is a megalomaniac but he's shown the other candidates to be empty suits. Hopefully he'll destroy the GOP then run a 3rd party campaign.

Belvoir said...

Walker, that dead-eyed weasel, reminds me of the androids in the recent AMC series, "Humans". A near future dystopia in the UK where eerily human-seeming robots called "Synths" do domestic shores, manual labor, elder care etc. They are frighteningly "real" but there's always that moment of the "Uncanny Valley". Where they mimic humanity, but something deep in you senses the disconnect, the simulation of being a person, and the robots that they are.

Scott Walker is a Synth. And the Koch Brothers are his licensed owners. He is a blank drone doing their bidding. He cannot roll with the punches that comes with the roil of Presidential campaigns, because his programming doesn't allow for that. And his handlers are realizing that, to their alarm. It's rather fascinating to watch.