In perhaps the fastest crash-and-burn I’ve ever seen of a presidential front-runner, Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker announced this afternoon that he is “suspending” (a political synonyn for “quitting”) his presidential campaign.
Not long ago, Walker polled first in Iowa among Republican candidates, running on the strength of his repeated success beating unions and winning elections in the blue state of Wisconsin.
But his political raison d’être of hard-charging plain speaking was Trumped by someone who did it even harder and plainer. His debate performances were listless, and Fox News host Megyn Kelly, in my opinion, killed his electability by asking him, “Would you really let a mother die rather than have an abortion?” The only electable answer is an emphatic “No!” regardless of one’s pro-life bona fides, but Scott Walker was already on record as a “yes” and basically responded with “I am pro-life.” Once the public knew his position, he was political toast. Conservatives will dispute and bemoan my assessment (as presaged by the brief cheer he got in response to his debate answer), but an honest look at the American electorate shows that while abortion is roughly a 50/50 issue in America, a life-of-the-mother exception is not; a vast majority of Americans (Megyn Kelly says it’s 83%) including many or most pro-life Americans support that exception.
Scott Walker seemed a different presidential candidate than governor or gubernatorial candidate. Maybe he played it too safe, too cautious, maybe he was simply Trumped, but he never seemed ready for prime-time, never ready with a good answer that didn’t seem to have poll-tested just an hour earlier, and never gave voters a compelling reason to think that he should be our president, or even that he knew why he should be our president.
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