July 10, 2015


Why Scott Walker's presidential campaign could be over before it's even begun (Michael Brendan Dougherty, July 10, 2015, )

First there was his performance at CPAC, which revealed that Walker is almost entirely untutored in foreign affairs. Remember when he said that if he could take on 100,000 protestors in Wisconsin, he could take on ISIS? In which direction is that comparison more idiotic? He's been reading a few books on the subject, though. So there's that.

Walker also slipped into near self-parody when he hailed Reagan's conflict with the air-traffic controllers union as a major foreign policy victory. What's next, fixing entitlements by defeating the electrician's union?

Donors noticed these slip-ups. But Walker also hurt his reputation with less wealthy supporters. Despite portraying himself as a fearless man of the political battle, he engaged in some embarrassing pandering by firing an adviser merely because she had expressed some coherent views on Iowa's pathetic reliance on ethanol subsidies. The supposed fighter caved before the corn lobby, since he sees Iowa as his best shot at establishing himself in the race. The former opponent of ethanol is now a friend of the stuff.

Muddying his positions has been Walker's modus operandi since the beginning of the 2016 campaign. He's made a mess of his stance on immigration. He told Fox News he opposes amnesty, then went to New Hampshire and said he supports granting citizenship to 11 million undocumented immigrants. He reconciled these positions by saying he wanted to secure the border first, then naturalize those 11 million. And back in 2006 he was for a comprehensive immigration reform bill that had a path to citizenship. So really, who knows?

He's created a similar mess on education. Gearing up to be the conservatives' conservative, Walker is now opposed to Common Core standards, which are often labeled "ObamaCore" by the policy's most active conservative opponents. But as governor, Walker mostly let Core standards come into place, and offered only the most token opposition to them. His approach to this issue is much worse than that of Jeb Bush, who frames his unapologetic and occasionally unpopular support for Common Core in conservative terms of accountability. In the past week, a diverse ideological coalition demanded that Walker stop giving "excuses and half truths" about this issue.

Bad Polls, Big Egos (Robert Schlessinger, 7/10/15, US News)

The latest measures of his popularity came in April, when Wisconsinites gave their governor a 41 percent approval rating in a pair of polls with 55 or 58 percent disapproving, depending upon which poll you looked at. (Adding insult to injury, one poll had Walker losing to likely Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton by double digits while the other had 60 percent of Badger State residents saying that he would make a "not so good" or "poor" president.)

And if anything, the passage of time has probably hurt his standing as he's pushed controversial budget cuts that even brought resistance from Republicans in the state legislature. "If anything, [Walker's job approval is] probably even lower since then as state budget is more controversial," one long-time observer of Wisconsin politics says.

Incredibly, Walker's upside-down approval numbers will only make him the third most unpopular governor in the field. Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal weighed in in May with a 32 percent approval rating, which is 10 percentage points behind President Barack Obama's rating in the state. And the once-formidable Chris Christie takes the prize as most unpopular governor in the race, with only 30 percent of his constituents approving of his performance according to a poll taken last month.

Posted by at July 10, 2015 7:56 PM

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