Nov 24, 2014

Iowa GOP Caucuses Ideal for Scott Walker

Scott Walker lied about his intentions during and after his campaign for reelection to governor, saying he had no plan to run for the GOP nomination for president.

As Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel columnist Dan Bice put it, "On Sunday (Nov, 16), Gov. Scott Walker told WISN (TV-Milwaukee) you'd have 'to be crazy' to think about running for prez; on Tues., he says he's praying and polling on the issue; on Thurs., he's putting his prez team in place."

It may be that Iowa Republicans figured decisively in Walker's decision to move forward. With no commitment to the Wisconsin public, Walker will use the Wisconsin budget as a showcase to the extremists who fund his campaigns and the religious right that dominates Iowa Republican politics.

The winners of the past two Iowa Republican Caucuses are Rick Santorum (2012) and Mike Huckabee (2008), and Iowa is a state where religious right whacks such as Pat Robertson (1988) and Gary Bauer put up respectable numbers.

So Walker can win Iowa, take more money from Republican extremists and fade out a few weeks after.

As DesmoinesDem of the Bleeding Heartland writes me: "I think Scott Walker has the potential to do very well in the Iowa caucuses. In fact, if I had to bet on any one candidate today, I would guess he has the best odds of winning the caucuses."

Unlike most of the Republican governors who are considering running for president, Walker hasn't taken any deal-breaker moderate positions, such as supporting Medicaid expansion (like John Kasich) or the DREAM Act (like Rick Perry). Furthermore, Iowa Republicans love the concept of voter ID laws and hate public-sector unions."

Still, the fact that Scott Walker cannot think on his feet and is an intellectual lightweight could be a handicap, as Iowa voters and the Iowa media won't give Walker a free ride as in Wisconsin in which Walker held zero town hall-style listening sessions and avoided unscripted public events—a fact the Democratic Party and Mary Burke's campaign never mentioned.

"Typically, candidates who are successful in the Iowa caucuses do a lot of 'retail politics,' including meet and greets, house parties, and other small gatherings around the state. There will probably be lots of multi-candidate forums hosted by county Republican party organizations, religious-based advocacy organizations, or conservative breakfast clubs. If Scott Walker or any other candidate consistently declined all invitations to unscripted events, that would not go over well with Iowa caucus-goers," concludes DesmoinesDem.

Walker's problem in Iowa is that many public forums are digitally recorded, and the reach of displays of ignorance ala Rick Perry 2012 and Walker's scandal-plagued history will be amplified beyond Iowa.

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