Voters in Iowa are buzzing about a Scott Walker presidential run. Here in the American Conservative James Antle III gives you a look at what all the buzz is about.
From my perspective, Walker is a wishy-washy fallback prospect of unpleasant dimensions. For a hardball competitor, Hillary (Benghazi disgrace) Clinton is low-hanging fruit. She can be crushed. But Scott Walker?
Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker’s appearance at Iowa’s first major cattle call for Republican presidential candidates has attracted a lot of buzz.
Walker has never been a great orator, but he was able to win multiple standing ovations from the conservative crowd. It’s enough to make some Republicans wonder: does Walker make as much sense in practice as he does on paper?
Consider that Walker took on public-sector unions in labor-friendly Wisconsin and won. Ohio Gov. John Kasich picked much the same fight and lost. Counting the recall election, Walker has thrice taken the best shot national Democratic and liberal organizations can deliver and won each time in what can fairly be described as a blue state.
Most of the other conservatives running for president are senators (or in one case a neurosurgeon). Most of the other current and former governors running have some major liability among conservatives (including Indiana Gov. Mike Pence) or divide Republicans in their home state (particularly Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal). Not Walker.
Walker is acceptable to nearly every major conservative faction in a way most of the other options are not. But can he straddle two conservative camps that are often diametrically opposed? The groups in question would be the libertarian-tinged liberty movement and the hawkish national-security conservatives.
When New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie picked his first fight with Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul, saying that the rise of libertarians within the party was dangerous, Walker initially sided with Christie. But later, he sought a middle ground.
“I don’t know that you could put me in either camp, precisely,” Walker told theWashington Post in reference to Christie and Paul. He also said there was value in a dialogue among Republicans about civil liberties.
Walker doesn’t seem to have well-defined foreign-policy views, but he’s probably said the least that will automatically repel realists, libertarians, and others on the right looking for a more cautious and restrained approach to military force abroad. That includes Kasich, who like the Republican Party itself was less interventionist in the 1990s and then more hawkish after 9/11 under George W. Bush, and Mitt Romney, who has vacillated between cartoonish saber-rattling and occasional acknowledgements that a repeat of the Iraq War would be a bad idea.
See Walker’s speech here.