Walker Presidential Campaign Death Watch: Say it ain’t so! On the abrupt departure of Our Favorite Neighboring Governor from the GOP’s presidential circus, Russ Choma at Mother Jones says, “A sullen Scott Walker appeared at a brief press conference in Madison, Wisconsin, on Monday afternoon to announce that he was ‘suspending’ his presidential campaign … The most interesting question amid the wreckage of Walker’s campaign may now be about where his wealthy backers will go with their money. In July, the super-PAC supporting Walker, Unintimidated PAC, reported having locked up more than $20 million, placing him in the top of echelon of GOP candidates in terms of financial backing. The bulk of the money, $13.4 million, came from just four people, including Wisconsin-based roofing supply magnate Diane Hendricks, a longtime supporter who gave $5 million.”
Nate Cohn of The New York Times says, “The Walker campaign — or perhaps the candidate personally — felt pressure from the rise of Mr. Trump on his right, especially once Mr. Walker started slipping a bit in the polls. This sort of pressure isn’t unusual and was inevitable — he would have felt it at some point, if not from Mr. Trump, then from Ben Carson or Ted Cruz. Mr. Walker, to put it gently, did not handle this pressure well. His instinct was to move to the right as fast as possible at any point of vulnerability. He staked out a conservative position on birthright citizenship and a fringe position on considering a wall at the Canadian border. These moves alienated party elites and weren’t credible to conservative voters. He quickly reversed positions; in the end, he reassured no one.”
Robert Costa, Dan Balz and Jenna Johnson at The Washington Post write, “Union leadership, which had long considered Walker a top target, reacted quickly Monday to reports that he was suspending his campaign. ‘Scott Walker is still a disgrace, just no longer national,’ AFL-CIO president Richard Trumka said in a terse afternoon statement. In recent weeks, there were clear signs that Walker’s campaign was in trouble. His poll results began to resemble a ski slope. And although the super PAC was flush with money, supporters worried that the campaign itself was running low on cash. The large cadre of staff and paid consultants around Walker have been on what one called a ‘death watch’ for the past several weeks.”
Ed Straker at the conservative American Thinker site lists the reasons for the quick demise of Wisconsin’s “turnaround” artist: “It’s okay to flip-flop, but not as frequently as Flipper. Almost everyone (except Ted Cruz and Jeb Bush) has changed positions in this race. Donald Trump used to be a raging liberal (and perhaps he still is). But even Trump, once changing his position, didn’t go back and forth and back and forth several times within the space of a few days. Scott Walker had three different positions (count them: three) on birthright citizenship alone in a week’s time. He quickly became known as being squishy on immigration. … He refused to answer serious policy questions on the grounds that he isn’t yet president. I’ve never made fun of the fact that he never went to college, because he could be quite intelligent despite it. But he showed time and time again (like with his idea of being tough on border security by building a wall with Canada) that he is out of his element.”
For the PiPress, Rachel Stassen-Berger writes, “Minnesota media executive and Walker donor Stanley Hubbard is also waiting to pick a second favorite. In recent days, he has made donations to Carly Fiorina, Sen. Marco Rubio, neurosurgeon Ben Carson and Gov. Chris Christie. ‘I’m not betting on any more horses yet,’ Hubbard said. Hubbard, who donated heavily to Walker-supporting PACs, told the Pioneer Press last week that he would no longer give money to PACs, just to individuals.”
At PowerLine, Steven Hayward starts out then lets Paul Mirengoff and John Hinderaker add their wooden nickel’s worth. “Michael Walsh blames the GOP consultant class for Walker’s poor showing. I’m always prepared to hate the consultant class by default, but I am not sure it is the best explanation in this case. Consultants certainly blow a lot of races and ruin their candidates (that probably applies to Fiorina’s 2010 manager in the California Senate race). But at the presidential level the buck stops with the candidate. I came away from seeing Walker give a speech and answer questions in Washington a couple years ago, and my dominant thought was, ‘This guy isn’t ready. He better get ready soon.’ He didn’t. Not nearly enough.
PAUL ADDS: I agree with this analysis. Walker wasn’t ready to be a presidential candidate. However, I suspect that he is ready to be a capable president, which is a very different matter.
JOHN adds: I, too, am sorry to see Walker go. I think it is unfortunate that the first two candidates to drop out of the race — Rick Perry and Scott Walker — came from what would should be the most promising category: solid conservatives with excellent track records as governor. It is counter-intuitive, to say the least, that Perry and Walker are gone, while Rick Santorum, John Kasich, George Pataki and Jim Gilmore are still in the race. Not to mention Donald Trump.”
For USA Today, Jill Lawrence writes, “In a way this is vindication for Democrats and unions. Clearly an identity as organized labor’s enemy number one is not enough to carry a campaign. On the other hand, Walker was elected governor of Wisconsin, survived a recall and won reelection in the span of four years. It’s beyond ironic that Republicans are now doing what Democrats and unions failed at three times. It’s also slightly tragic for Democrats, because it would have been easy to make a general-election case against Walker.” Hence, the tremendous disappointment felt by many.
They canned … Ragnar? Ben Goessling’s ESPN story says, “When the Minnesota Vikings emerged from the TCF Bank Stadium tunnel on Sunday, their entrance was missing something: the bearded, long-haired, fur-clad man who’d rode a motorcycle out of the tunnel at Vikings home games for more than 20 years. The team released a statement Monday evening saying it had parted ways with ‘Ragnar’. … [Joe] Juranitch’s website claims he set a world record in 1982 by shaving his beard with an axe in eight minutes, 43 seconds, as part of a promotion for Razor’s Edge Systems — the family business he still runs today. The company sells everything from industrial meat sharpeners to knife sharpening equipment.” Perhaps a new mascot? I see a Minnesota legislator in Helga braids with a big wet kiss from Roger Goodell planted on his forehead?
Was this survey taken before or after the State Fair? Stribber Jeremy Olson says, “Minnesota was The Biggest Gainer in 2014 — or rather, one of only five states with an increase in adult obesity at a time when the nation’s obesity epidemic finally seems to be leveling off. Minnesota’s increase, to an obesity rate of 27.6 percent, came as a disappointment to state health officials, who have targeted the problem for several years with millions of dollars of investments in walking paths, farmers markets and other strategies to ‘make the healthy choice the easy choice.’” As long as it’s deep-fried.
Today in Big Gummint job-killin.’ Says Pat Kessler at WCCO-TV, “Top Minnesota Republicans say new federal energy rules could force a shutdown of some of the state’s coal-fired power plants. The Environmental Protection Agency is ordering a 40 percent cut in Minnesota’s carbon emissions by 2030. Most of that will come from power plants, like Xcel’s Sherco plant in Becker. The tough new energy standards could force changes in the way we make power and use it every day.” Change! It ain’t natural!
Did someone say “Wisconsin”? Meg Jones of the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel says, “Wisconsin has started to issue new driver’s licenses and identification cards with features designed to curb fraud and identity theft. The new licenses and ID cards, made of a stiffer polycarbonate, are being touted as the most secure in the nation and feature black and white laser-engraved photos and ultraviolet ink displaying intricate artwork of the state Capitol and flag. Another feature of the new licenses and ID cards are raised signature, date of birth, expiration date, driver’s license and ID numbers and U21 (under 21) that can be felt when holding the cards and make them harder to copy.” Black and white photos? How can they tell how red the driver’s nose is in a black and white photo?
Hmmm. What’s MinnPost’s cut? Ashley Roberts of WCCO-TV says, “Taiwan made good on its word to visit Minnesota Monday, and along with its trade delegation came a massive order for agricultural products. Gov. Mark Dayton and other state leaders were on hand as Taiwan ordered billions of dollars’ worth of corn, soybeans and wheat. All across Minnesota, farmers can smile as warm winds dry some eight million acres of ripening field corn. But it was the news in St. Paul that adds to their optimism. … A Taiwanese trade delegation signed letters of intent to buy $2.4 billion of Minnesota corn, soybeans and wheat in 2016 and 2017.”