NEWS BLOG (WSAU) He’s
running. Scott Walker is going to make a bid for the White House. In reviewing
his book, I can't draw any other conclusion. This is the kind of book
someone puts out to introduce themselves on the national stage.
If you ask the GOP base in, say, Kansas what they know about Scott Walker, they’ll
probably say something like “he stood up to the big state unions.” That actually works to
advantage. Most voters outside of Wisconsin
know only a tiny morsel about him. He’s the almost-blank-slate conservative.
And that puts him in a better place than other possible candidates who might seek the
Republican nomination. Marco Rubio? That immigration compromise he floated
looks too much like amnesty. Chris Christie? He may not be conservative enough;
he may not have the temperament; and that arm-around-Obama after Hurricane
Sandy hurts. Paul Ryan? Looks too much like a loser after being Romney’s
running mate. Ted Cruz? Rand Paul? They have long voting records now, and may
be too divisive.
looks like the candidate with the fewest negatives – and that’s a great
starting point. He’s managed his governorship so that all possibilities are
open to him.
But when you're a blank slate, the challenge is to
define yourself before you’re defined by your opponents.
What might the pitfalls of a Walker-for-president campaign?
First, all of the John Doe investigations will be dredged up…
not just by prosecutors but by the national press. The Washington-media will
treat John Doe 1.0 as a new story; it will be new to them. President Bush's experience during his second campaign is instructive,
where a faked memo about his Air National Guard service became a
top-of-the-newscast story for CBS news. There will be innuendo and outright
lies. We’re already heard them: liberal talk show host Ed Shultz claimed
to have reliable sources that Walker
was days away from being indicted. Scott Walker will have to make it clear that
this investigation started because he blew the whistle on staff members who
were stealing from a special fund for veterans. Walker hasn’t always done a good job
explaining what the case is all about. John Doe 2.0, still ongoing, is a complete wildcard.
will have to surround himself with better people. A campaign for the White
House needs to be a well-oiled, finely tuned machine. Sometimes the governor's staff doesn’t rise to the occasion. Remember the case where a fake phone call
got through to Walker
claiming to be one of the Koch brothers? That could be lethal to a presidential
campaign. Things like that cannot happen… ever. Scott Walker needs to be
prepared to cut ties to people around him who aren’t up to the job.
I think Governor Walker will also have to manage his lack of a
college degree. If, hypothetically, he were to be running against Barack Obama
we’d hear repeatedly that one candidate is Harvard educated. Walker would be referred to as a drop-out.
Lastly, Scott Walker’s candidacy may ultimately be good for
the country, but not good for Wisconsin. We would have
a part-time governor. The agenda that Walker’s
worked for in our state would take a back-seat to his candidacy. Visits to
battleground states would take precedence over the workings of government here.
I wouldn’t rule out the possibility of Walker
resigning his office if it was in the best interest of his ultimate goal.
is running, until there’s a compelling reason for him not to. Don’t believe me?
Read his book, and you’ll change your mind.