I wanted to follow up on the points I made in my earlier post about Rudy Giuliani, 2016 and the GOP clown car. This point is about Scott Walker. I’ve said before that I think Scott Walker is a seriously underrated 2016 contender – if only because the more talked about contenders were such weak general election candidates. I think that is much less the case now because he’s currently getting much more attention than he was only a few weeks ago. But the Rudy drama makes me think he’s less prepared for the national spotlight than I realized.
As I said earlier, most of the presidentials have managed to find safe, predictable, reasonable ways to step over Rudy’s mess. Not Walker. He stumbled over each one. He got pulled into the question of whether Obama loved his country – not sure. And then he got pulled into answering whether or not Obama is a Christian – not sure about that either – something he didn’t even need the Giuliani hook to get goaded into. I mean, when was the last time we talked about whether Obama might be a crypto-Muslim?
If Walker were positioning himself as a different sort of candidate it would be one thing. But for the candidate he’s trying to run as, these comments are not remotely strategic. And let’s not forget: President Obama isn’t running for reelection. They are the result of some mix of lack of experience, smarts preparation for a national stage. Certainly these mini-gaffes have no great impact now. But they’re revealing and unforced errors in the gentlest part of the primary winnowing process. Now is light years from the full, pitched intensity of a national campaign which grinds mistakes from even the most able and talented of politicians.
I cannot think Jeb Bush and his team weren’t smiling about all this. And political professionals taking stock of the candidates are taking notice.