It was, what, all of two days ago Gov. Scott Walker (R-WI) described himself as “the most scrutinized politician in America”, and while that claim might justly find widespread derision, we would also beg leave to accommodate the cowardly Badgerα long enough to remind that he does himself no favors on that count by saying stupid things:
By any fair measure, Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker (R) has changed course, quite dramatically, on immigration policy. In the not-too-distant past, the Republican governor was quite moderate on the issue. Now, he’s not – Walker not only opposes bipartisan solutions, he’s even begun taking on legal immigration.
This week, Fox News’ Bret Baier pressed Walker for an explanation: “If you’re willing to flip-flop … on such an important issue like this, how can voters be sure that you’re not going to change your position on some other big issues?”
As the Washington Post noted, the Wisconsin Republican responded with his own unique definition of flip-flop.
Walker responded: “Well, actually, there’s not a flip out there.” […]
“A flip would be someone who voted on something and did something different,” Walker said. “These are not votes… I don’t have any impact on immigration as a governor.”
If bonus points were reported based on creativity, Walker would be in much better shape. But he’s effectively arguing that if he didn’t cast a vote, it can’t count.
And that’s not an especially credible argument.
Yeah, that sort of thing will draw some scrutiny.
The political calculus regarding the optics is robustly defined: Given how much any candidate dodges certain questions, we might reasonably expect some professionally functional manner and method of dodging. Practically speaking, we might suggest that especially at a time when policy evolution is not only acceptable but a useful selling point, Gov. Walker should be able to muster the courage to at least attempt to explain his policy shifts.
Benen notes, “flip-flops are not the be-all, end all of a national campaign”, pointing to Mitt Romney’s astounding 2012 performance. “Walker’s reversals”, the msnbc producer and blogger writes, “won’t come close.”
This is a fair point. And, you know, really, after the bad week Jeb Bush just inflicted on the national political discourse, it does not seem so unfair to expect that Mr. Walker should be able to figure out that cowardice just doesn’t cut it.
Image note: Scott Walker, governor of Wisconsin, speaks during the South Carolina Freedom Summit hosted by Citizens United and Congressman Jeff Duncan in Greenville, South Carolina, U.S., on Saturday, May 9, 2015. The Freedom Summit brings grassroots activists from across South Carolina and the surrounding area to hear from conservative leaders and presidential hopefuls. Photogapher: Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg via Getty Images.
Haberman, Maggie. “Scott Walker Calls Himself ‘the Most Scrutinized Politician in America'”. First Draft. 19 May 2015.
Benen, Steve. “A flip-flop by any other name …”. msnbc. 21 May 2015.