Sunday, February 22, 2015

Clown Car Revisited: Scott Walker, the "I Don't Know" Man

This is Scott Walker hanging on a second, something he should
have done before he decided that he didn't know anything.

Scott Walker is getting a second or third look ever since he wowed them at the Steve King Iowa conservofest last month. He spoke in an animated way, and -- bingo! -- he was a contender. Nice work if you can get it.

It's even nicer if you can keep it. His strategy for doing so, which so far is not to answer hard questions or, in the alternative, not answer them in a way that telegraphs his tea-party bonafides, is not working as intended.

He "punts" on evolution.

He "doesn't know" if Obama loves America.

He "doesn't know" if Obama is a Christian.

One thing Walker does know is that America is the greatest country in the world when it comes to opportunity. Unfortunately, the Conservative National Review takes him to task for that one.

A New York Times article makes it clear that after being fuzzy on social issues during last fall's election in purplish Wisconsin, Walker is now having his own Etch-A-Sketch moment.

One unfuzzy moment occurred recently when Martha Raddatz tried to pin him down on foreign policy and succeeded, in spite of his efforts to be "aggressively aggressive," as Reason's Jesse Walker put it:
Raddatz: You don't think 2,000 air strikes is taking it to ISIS in Syria and Iraq?

Walker: I think we need to have an aggressive strategy anywhere around the world. I think it's a mistake to go down a path—

Raddatz: But what does that mean? I don't know what "aggressive strategy" means. If we're bombing and we've done 2,000 air strikes, what does an aggressive strategy mean in foreign policy?

Walker: I think anywhere and everywhere we need to go beyond just aggressive air strikes. We have to look at other surgical methods. And ultimately, we have to be prepared to put boots on the ground if that's what it takes because I think—

Raddatz: Boots on the ground in Syria? U.S. boots on the ground in Syria?

Walker: I don't think that's an immediate plan, but I think anywhere in the world—

Raddatz: But you wouldn't rule that out?

Walker: I wouldn't rule anything out. I think when you have the lives of Americans at stake and our freedom-loving allies anywhere in the world, we have to be prepared to do things that don't allow those measures, those attacks, those abuses to come to our shores.
Got that? The only real specific here is that he's willing to send ground troops to Syria, and even then he's trying desperately not to say that outright. But he's gonna be aggressively aggressive everywhere we need to go. Glad that's settled.
Reason is a leading libertarian magazine that, surprisingly, has latched on to Rand Paul's isolationist outlook, which does make sense from a libertarian perspective. So I'm not surprised that Walker is attacked for being "aggressively aggressive" on foreign policy. But it does show that Walker's way to the 2016 GOP nomination is riddled with pot holes.

One last example of this is a Times' blog post entitled "Establishment Republicans Question Scott Walker’s Handling of Giuliani Comments."
Mr. Walker is the rare prospect on the Republican side who is able to straddle different segments of the party: He appeals to members of the Tea Party movement and has received financial support from the political network of the billionaire Koch brothers, but also has won three statewide elections in a purple state and has a record to sell to the center-right.
But his lack of any separation from Mr. Giuliani over the comments has frustrated some senior Republicans, who said Mr. Walker was still not sure-footed on the national stage.
 Mwuh-oh. Pot shots from the ultra-conservatives, the establishment conservatives, and the libertarian wings of his party. That leaves the tea party. That does not a viable candidate make, but I think we knew that already. Don't forget, though, that his Iowa speech got him a seat in the clown car. So we have months of fun to look forward to, unless he continues his "I don't know" campaign much longer.

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