Here's the Nonsense: Scott Walker has wowed many and is clearly the conservative answer America is looking for.
Here's the Horse Sense: Scott Walker has not been scrutinized and should be. There are too many questionable things that people are not paying attention to. If people are not careful, they might be following someone who is really an establishment GOP candidate.
One of the biggest problems we face in choosing candidates for political office is choosing them based on solid knowledge of who they are and what they stand for. Too often people jump on the bandwagon to support a candidate early on, only to later to find that the candidate doesn't hold true conservative values or principles. We've seen it with candidates like Marco Rubio. And it appears that may be true with Scott Walker, too.
Not just Republicans, but many conservatives have quickly jumped on the Walker bandwagon. But since he first expressed interest in running for the 2016 presidential nomination I've had a nervous feeling about him. And after the glowing reception he got at CPAC, I found myself uncomfortable when people would ask me about him expecting me to jump on the bandwagon, too. His success against the unions in Wisconsin doesn't tell us everything about him that we need to know. And now we're starting to see concerns being raised about him.
Walker has gotten some raving fans who feel he can do no wrong. He is popular in the polls and peaking very early. But peaking this early is usually not a good sign for a candidate. If he is a true conservative, or isn't the establishment candidate of choice, chances are very good that the attacks on him will grow and as time goes by he will become a second tier candidate.
But the real issue isn't whether he's popular now or not. In fact, the issue should never be whether someone is popular. The real issue must always be whether that person is the person we can support without compromising our values. And at this point regarding Walker, conservatives are either foolish or lying to themselves if they say they can.
We're starting to see questions raised about his real positions on issues, which is always a good thing as every candidate should be thoroughly vetted. After all, look at what happened with Barack Obama. He was the least vetted candidate in American history and now we are over 6 years into a disaster that we may never recover from. And we certainly won't recover from it if we don't do extreme due diligence on candidates from now on, conservatives included.
Before we go too far here, let me say that I'm not going to talk about stupid mistakes Walker's made. Mistakes like when he said he could handle ISIS because he handled unions in Wisconsin are stupid, but shouldn't be unforgivable if they are not frequent. Yes, it was a stupid response, but it was one response. We should note it and then see what happens as the candidate moves forward.
Everyone makes those kinds of mistakes, but there is no grace on the right side of the political aisle to allow for those mistakes. The right is prone to circular firing squads destroying our own instead of supporting them when an honest mistake is made. I remember when Rick Perry fumbled answering which federal agencies he'd eliminate during a debate in the 2012 primaries. I had radio talk show hosts all over the country who were criticizing him and trying to get me to agree that it was terrible that he'd made the mistake. I never agreed. I was not a Perry supporter but my position regarding him or anyone else who stumbles was that we all make mistakes. I don't care about a single mistake. Let the person get up, brush themselves off, and move on. If we begin to see a continual list of mistakes develop, then we have something to be concerned about. But a mistake here or there is human and those of us who won't allow for that are judging by a standard that we, ourselves, could not meet.
Let me expand on that for a minute. Early on in his governorship, Bobby Jindal gave the Republican response to a State of the Union address given by POTUS. He didn't do a great job and was criticized and attacked by many on the right. Sadly, those responses are essentially scripted messages from the GOP that are delivered by someone the leadership feels will give an image they want disseminated at that point. And for Jindal, it didn't go so well. But because of that incident years ago I've heard people say he's unqualified to run for president in 2016. How ridiculous! That's about as small-minded as you can get. We can lose some people with great potential if we think that way.
Yet even though people on the right do that, they will look the other way on their values to support someone they get excited about.
In the case of Scott Walker, though, we are seeing many things to be concerned about, not just one response to an issue. Probably the most recent was his hiring of Liz Mair to his campaign staff. She made statements showing her disdain for conservative principles and for the voters in Iowa. The pressure mounted so quickly that Walker got her off his staff in short order to stop the negative reaction.
But she had worked for him before. He knew her and who she was. He never should have made that mistake in the first place. The real questions it raises are why he didn't see the potential problem before deciding to hire her, and if his hiring of her reflects his own lack of commitment to the conservative principles that she denigrated. This shows very poor judgment on his part.
Michelle Malkin, one of conservatism's true icons, has raised real concern about the lack of vetting with Walker. Breitbart reported her concerns in a piece too lengthy to go into here, but well worth your time to click on the link and read. Matthew Boyle, the article's author, wrote in detail about concerns with a Walker candidacy, including this:
"Walker said on Fox News Sunday after CPAC that he has 'changed' on immigration. But he hasn't laid out a policy viewpoint on the matter. His spokeswomen Kirsten Kukowski and AshLee Strong haven't answered whether the governor thinks the government should kowtow to Silicon Valley and Wall Street by increasing H1B visas - or any other legal immigration increase - while record-high numbers of Americans are out of work. They also have refused to answer time and again whether the Wisconsin governor thinks Republicans should trust the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, Facebook's Mark Zuckerberg's lobbying outfit FWD.us, Sheldon Adelson, Bill Gates, or other open borders advocates when it comes to immigration policy."
There are serious concerns raised in this piece, not the least of which is Walker and his staff's lack of answers to questions about such issues as immigration. Saying you've "changed" on immigration means nothing unless you spell out how you've changed and what it is that you do now stand for.
While Walker does say he's changed his mind on amnesty. He said in the past that he believed in a path to citizenship for illegal immigrants (better known as criminal immigrant invaders) and believed that immigration laws should be changed. That's similar to Jeb Bush's position. Yet at the Iowa Ag Summit he said he is not a supporter of amnesty. This is one example of why he's being seen more and more often as a flip-flopper.
Some are legitimately starting to ask if Walker is really an establishment Republican who is packaged to win conservative voters. I've even heard it said that he's nothing but a Romney clone. And there's some reason to consider those concerns.
Here are more things to think about:
1.) It was reported when he ran for his second term as governor last year, that he told Wisconsin reporters that he was pro-life, but refused to say whether or not he supported a ban on abortions after 20 weeks. While doing this he said that people don't really care about this issue. His entire "pro-life" stand is weak. He even hired a pro-abortion spokesman for his re-election campaign. If he's pro-life then why does he brush the issue under the rug instead of taking a strong stand for the unborn?
2.) Walker does not stand up for traditional marriage. In 2013 he said that opposing gay marriage was generational and that the smart thing for Republicans to do was to focus on the economy.
3.) When Rudy Giuliani recently was attacked for his comment about not knowing if Obama loved America, Walker didn't enter into the argument, but instead was praised by the establishment GOP for not lowering himself to Giuliani's level. Maybe it could be said that he was avoiding the conflict, but true conservatives aren't afraid of conflict. They'd rather take a stand for truth and use every opportunity to do so. Does he lack courage to stand when the going gets tough?
4.) Walker is weak on Common Core, taking no stand against it or the damage it does to our educational system.
5.) While he did deal with collective bargaining for public sector unions, it was reported that he declined to say he'd support right-to-work legislation or if he'd veto legislation if sent to his desk. "I think it's pretty clear the Legislature has worked with us hand in hand in the past and I'm making it clear in this campaign, as I'll make it clear in the next (legislative) session, that that's not something that's part of my agenda," Walker said. "My point is I'm not pushing for it. I'm not supporting it in this session." He even tried to push the Republican-controlled Wisconsin legislature into dropping the issue.
6.) Walker issued an emergency order bypassing the Wisconsin legislature so he could implement Obamacare (although he did rescind it after public complaints). He has encouraged Wisconsin's state agencies to help people sign up for Obamacare. There's been no fight from him against it. And he was against Senators Ted Cruz and Mike Lee's efforts to defund Obamacare.
7.) Shortly after Walker spoke at the winter RNC meeting, Mitt Romney also spoke there and said he wouldn't be running again in 2016 and saying that he believed "one of our next generation of Republican leaders - one who may not be as well-known as I am today, one who has not yet taken their message across the country, one who is just getting started - may well emerge as being better able to defeat the Democrat nominee..." This was right after Jeb Bush started moving to take Romney's financial backers and contacts. However, after Romney made his announcement, Walker raced to get those contacts that Bush had not already taken.
After months of denying he'd consider another run in 2016, Romney had finally come out and said he'd consider it only to be thwarted by the Bush family going after his financial backers. It seems quite plausible that Romney might have been publicly polite but behind the scenes decided to help Walker because of being undercut by Jeb. Doesn't it seem that Romney may have had knowledge of Walker's actions to get those backers and contacts or maybe even quietly facilitated that for Walker?
I'm sure many will say that what I am writing is an attack on Walker. It's not. Rather, it's a wakeup call to conservatives to be very careful who we support. Many say we need a former governor because they've run the closest thing to the federal government and that's what will win an election.
I don't think so.
Obama changed the game and showed that no experience was necessary. Most American voters don't consider experience or knowledge an important criteria when they vote, and Obama proved that. He showed that that's not what wins the majority of the American people.
While conservatives might think we have the best chance with someone who has gubernatorial experience, I would challenge that.
Americans, especially conservatives, are feeling pretty down and beat up these days. The person who can win the nomination must be someone who will inspire voters. An inspiring leader will carry far more votes than anything else. With all of his experience, what won for Ronald Reagan was that he was able to inspire the American people. That's important if we're to move a society from complacency to involvement in the electoral process.
March 26, 2015 UPDATE: For those of you who think I'm overreacting on Walker, this new report from Breitbart should make you think twice. Here we see he's flip-flopping again on immigration amnesty.
March 30, 2015: And now Walker is doubling down to try to save his campaign from the concerns people have about his ever-changing stand on immigration. This new report tells how he sees he's in trouble and is changing his position yet again.
The Horse Sense Blog compares the nonsense in today's news with good ol' fashioned horse sense
“…I shall speak forth my sentiments freely and without reserve.… It is only in this way that we can hope to arrive at truth, and fulfill the great responsibility which we hold to God and our country. Should I keep back my opinions at such a time, through fear of giving offense, I should consider myself as guilty of treason towards my country, and of an act of disloyalty toward the Majesty of Heaven, which I revere above all earthly kings.” - Patrick Henry, March 23, 1775
"The further a society drifts from truth the more it will hate those who speak it." - George Orwell
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