So word is dribbling out that Gov. Scott Walker is withdrawing from the 2016 presidential race. As a staunch Christian-constitutionalist-libertarian-republican-conservative, I think the move is a good one. However, it is only ‘good’ if the right lessons are learned, and already I’m hearing a bunch of junk that just isn’t true.
I say that as someone who lives in the state that Walker is presently the governor of and who has better than average insight into what Walker’s supporters… or shall I say, former supporters… are really thinking. True, my anecdotal impressions can’t uncritically be applied to the whole ‘conservative base,’ but I think that the meteoric rise of Donald Trump is a powerful piece of evidence that what I’ve witnessed locally and regionally is what is at play nationally.
Walker should listen up. More importantly, the GOP should listen up. This is important.
The wrong lessons were hinted to in this article, reporting that Walker was withdrawing:
Mr. Walker’s intended withdrawal is a humiliating climb down for a Republican governor once seen as all but politically invincible. He started the year at the top of the polls but has seen his position gradually deteriorate, amid the rise of Donald J. Trump’s populist campaign and repeated missteps by Mr. Walker himself.
In the most recent CNN survey, Mr. Walker drew support nationally from less than one-half of one percent of Republican primary voters. He faced growing pressure to shake up his campaign staff, a step he was loath to take, according to Republicans briefed on his deliberations.
What, pray tell, were those missteps? Not shaking up his campaign staff? Ridiculous. And why should his position decrease as Trump’s increase? Is it because, as I heard Ed Rollins just say on Fox News, that Walker was collateral damage due to the massive anti-establishment fervor that has pumped up Trump? Nonsense. The reason why Walker was doing so well, even before he formally entered the race, was because the ‘base’ was under the impression (and for good reason) that Walker was not an establishment candidate. Walker’s ‘missteps’ largely consisted of not backing Trump’s play regarding illegal immigration and other ‘over the top’ positions that Trump took. Walker tried to present himself as the mature but genuine conservative candidate (in contrast to Trump) but it instead looked like capitulation to all the same crap that rank and file Republicans are in rebellion against.
The above linked article says:
But Mr. Trump’s surge as a political outsider galvanized grass-roots Republicans who are angry at all conventional politicians, and he drew support more from Mr. Walker than from anyone else.
Why was it more from Mr. Walker than anyone else? If it was the ‘political outsider’ aspect, then Mr. Walker would have never had the numbers that could justify a characterization such as “politically invincible.”
It was a question of courage and conviction and the willingness to stick it to the Left the way the Left has been sticking it to the Right, from like, forever. The base believed that Walker was going to be willing to do that, but whenever there was any kind of media backlash against what were genuinely and sincerely (if expressed passionately and clumsily) stated conservative convictions, Walker became mute. If anything, it seemed like he was trying to avoid the ire of the media. The most gracious interpretation of that behavior was that he was trying to appeal to independents and ‘Reagan Democrats.’ Instead, it came across as cowardice… and isn’t it clear by now that along with beating on liberals, what we want out of a leader is someone who will pummel the media relentlessly and unapologetically?
The grass roots don’t care what the media says. We don’t trust them. They lie. We despise them. And in this, we are only returning the favor–the media is just the propaganda arm for the Democrat party.
But there was weakness on the home front, too. Walker took credit for making Wisconsin a right-to-work state, but the strong rumor here in Wisconsin is that he had to be dragged kicking and screaming into that fight. The aforementioned article says:
Mr. Walker moved to the right, taking hawkish positions on immigration, signing an anti-union bill in Wisconsin and asking the state Legislature to send him a bill banning abortions after 20 weeks. [emphasis added]
Asking the legislature to send him a bill banning abortions after 20 weeks? This must be the “Pain Capable” bill. The conservatives I know–in particular the pro-life ones, since that is my own area of effort–weren’t exactly impressed by this because this is all that Mr. Walker has done. There are, as we speak, at least 3 stridently pro-life bills working their way through the legislature and, as of this writing, I have not heard a peep from Walker’s office that he will sign those into law. And I have called his office twice to demand an explanation. A ban on abortion after 20 weeks is a good step in the right direction, but will not have nearly the impact that defunding Planned Parenthood or telling the ‘researchers’ at the University of Madison to pound sand if they want to trade in fetal baby parts.
The way it looks from here, Walker didn’t want to cause too much more controversy than he already had, with the result that, frankly, a lot of Republicans who had went out on a limb for conservative values (and for him) were being left high and dry.
You have to understand, in Wisconsin, the Republicans have majorities in the House, in the Senate, and in the Wisconsin Supreme Court. And the governorship. You cannot get a better signal from Wisconsin citizens that they want to see Republican values implemented throughout the state, and yet since Walker’s re-election, only modest steps in that direction have been taken, and largely at the instigation of other Republicans in the state. Over the last nine months or so, I have seen conservative support for Walker grow increasingly lukewarm, and I’m sure this is why: Many wonder if Walker’s presidential aspirations had taken priority over Walker’s conservative principles.
With his own support in Wisconsin growing tepid, you can well understand how the chill wind might put a damper on his national numbers, too. The reason why Trump sucked up support from Walker, primarily, is because people became less convinced that Walker was going to act on his convictions, and absolutely convinced that Trump would.
In my opinion, Walker has not lost the trust and confidence of the rank and file who elected him. I think he will make an excellent candidate for 2020, but only if he implements Republican values with the same audacity that Democrats agitate for their own.
And this is a lesson to the rest of the GOP… the candidates and the ‘establishment.’ You are a stench in our nose. If we wanted liberal policies implemented in the Federal government, we’d vote for a liberal. We don’t want a Big Government. STOP MAKING IT BIGGER AND APOLOGIZING FOR ANY HINT OR SUGGESTION OF MAKING IT THE TEENSIEST BIT SMALLER. If you keep promoting liberal policies, why would we keep voting for you? It makes no sense at all. Go big, or go home. Go home, because we have no use for you.
You’ll never persuade people that conservative values are superior to liberal ones, if you never implement them and you seem afraid to even mention them, let alone criticize the liberal ones!
Good luck, Scott Walker. I look forward to seeing the warrior emerge from you again.