Updated - DesmoinesDem of the Bleeding Heartland in Iowa repeats an assessment that Scott Walker remains the leading Republican presidential candidate for the Iowa caucuses, a view sustained by the Des Moines Register's just-published Register/Bloomberg Politics Iowa poll.
Walker's inability to coherently answer a follow-up question in an interview with Martha Raddatz of ABC News on national television will add to Walker's stature among Iowa Republican caucus-goers, and will lead Walker into ridicule territory for most everyone else.
Walker appeared stumped when Raddatz asked for an explanation of what Walker means when he said the United States needs to be "very aggressive" in foreign policy.
Walker responded that U.S. foreign policy needs to be prepared contra President Obama for "boots on the ground" .... "anywhere in the world," policies "that don't allow those [ISIS] measures, those attacks, those abuses to come to our shores." (Milewski, Capital Times) (Peterson, Democurmdgeon) (DeFour, Wisconsin State Journal)
That 'aggression' in international relations and international law is considered a crime seems to have escaped Walker's extemporaneous responses to Raddatz' follow-up. (See Harris, Robert H. Jackson Center and Wilmshurst, United Nations)
"Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, who has surged to the top of the potential GOP presidential field, said on 'This Week' Sunday that he wouldn’t rule out putting U.S. boots on the ground in Syria if he were the commander-in-chief." (Puckett, ABC News) (ABC News Transcript)
Waging a new war in Syria is crazy.
And casually stating an intention to go to war "anywhere" makes Walker appear more like Sarah Palin than say, Richard Falk, Chris Hedges or William J. Astore.
Scott Walker is an Evangelical extremist who is very weak on public policy, an odd defect for someone seeking the presidency, and he is finding hiding this fact can present problems as he appeals to fellow religious right travelers in Iowa.
Walker is already getting panned for "falling on his face" (Easley, PoliticusUSA) in a softball interview.
"When Walker says, 'I wouldn’t rule anything out,' does that mean that he hasn’t given much thought to any of these questions, or is he really that irresponsible?" (Larison, The American Conservative)
The winners of the past two Iowa Republican Caucuses are Rick Santorum (2012) and Mike Huckabee (2008), hence one can conclude the Iowa GOP caucuses are not instructive to whom the GOP selects as its presidential nominee.
But Iowa will present to the nation the personal weaknesses and ideological extremism that define Walker in Wisconsin as he is introduced via the Koch brothers and other billionaires.
At home in Wisconsin Scott Walker has waged 'aggressive' wars against domestic enemies such as the University of Wisconsin System, K-12 public education, the entire city of Milwaukee, fresh water and the state budget.
Michael Auslin writes in the National Review this morning:
It’s hard to overestimate the importance of this Slate article, 'Divide and Conquer,' by Jamelle Bouie. He has done the GOP a favor by revealing the Democratic party’s strategic plan for defeating Scott Walker in 2016: smearing him as a 'divisive' candidate who will send dog whistles to his white supporters and seek to run the table with the still-majority white voters to win the White House. ...
He is no popular media sideshow like Sarah Palin or Donald Trump. Nor does he have the electoral or familial baggage of Mitt Romney and Jeb Bush. He is the real deal, a Midwestern conservative who has successfully taken on public unions and governed a center-left state.
I think that ship has sailed already; Walker is the most divisive and toxic figure in Wisconsin history since Joe McCarthy, and as Bouie in Slate notes: "Unlike Mitt Romney—who was merely adopted by the world of racially polarized politics—Walker was born in it and molded by it. As [Alec] MacGillis [TNR] notes, Walker’s home turf of metropolitan Milwaukee is home to 'profound racial inequality, extreme political segregation, [and] a parallel-universe news media,' trends that predate Walker, 'but have enabled his ascent.'"
Though much is made of Scott Walker (and former governor Tommy Thompson (1987-2001)) winning in blueish-state Wisconsin, Wisconsin's gubernatorial elections are held in midterm presidential election years when the turn-out is stronger for white, rural and older voters that trend Republican.
Neither Walker nor Thompson ever reached over across party lines, and both demonized the minority citizenry, with Walker merely radicalizing political tactics and trends that Thompson began with more subtlety and less venom.
Scott Walker is running underground—hiding from his association and with the his patrons, plutocrats, his criminal past, his radicalism and racism.
The idea that Walker could be a unifying figure is like calling Sarah Palin an imposing intellect.
MacGillis at TNR knocked down this nonsense down last year, but to anyone who knows Wisconsin politics at all—like Joan Walsh—this is simply an affirmation of the axiomatic.
The fact that Walker is a lightweight would just make exposing him to the nation an easier project for Hillary in 2016, no matter how many times Walker says, we have to invade and be very aggressive.
As Uppity Wisconsin notes: "Since Walker has become governor we're are experiencing a kind of anti-intellectualism that has only occurred below the Mason-Dixon line in the past."