Scott Walker, God’s Gift to the Democratic Party
Beltway Democrats may not deserve good luck, but it looks like they could have plenty in the next presidential race. Heading into the weekend, Scott Walker, a man born to be slaughtered in a general election, is suddenly leading the Republican pack in the Iowa polls.
Walker is surging thanks to his performance at this week’s Conservative Political Action Conference, where the union-busting governor inspired raucous applause with his “I was a dick in Wisconsin, and I can be one in Washington, too!” stump speech.
Walker’s address was a broadside against a litany of conservative bugbears, from Planned Parenthood to the media to tax day to the subversive act of voting without a photo ID, etc.
But the money line came during a Q&A session. Asked how he would take on radical Islamist terrorists, Walker referred to his experience taking on pro-union protesters in his home state:
If I can take on 100,000 protesters, I can do the same across the world.
Walker’s seeming comparison of peaceful union activists to head-chopping Islamic terrorists drew a predictable response, with progressive groups like American Bridge sending out alerts denouncing his comments, along with outrage from the Democratic National Committee.
But the National Review also called it an “unforced error,” with writer Jim Geraghty taking special offense at the fact that Walker had forced him into a place where he had to defend, of all people, union activists. Even Rick Perry, not exactly a kumbaya-chanting paragon of tolerance, chided Walker for crossing a line:
These are Americans… You are talking about, in the case of ISIS, people who are beheading individuals and committing heinous crimes, who are the face of evil. To try to make the relationship between them and the unions is inappropriate.
In response to all of this, Walker’s campaign quickly backtracked from his statement, sort of. Campaign spokesperson Kristin Kukowski said that Walker was “in no way comparing any American citizen to ISIS,” which sounded like a retraction.
But Walker himself denied making any offensive comparison, and blamed the whole thing on the media. “You all will misconstrue things as you see fit,” he said.
This echoed earlier comments, made in the wake of Rudy Giuliani’s “Barack Obama doesn’t love America the way you do” flap, about “self-manufactured ‘gotcha’ moments from the media.”
Meanwhile, the polls spoke for themselves. Politicians who make major accidental gaffes usually don’t see a bounce in the numbers, but what little data there is suggests Walker surged on the strength of this past week’s performance. The Quinnipiac poll, admittedly a small sample size and one taken extremely early in the game, shows him at 25 percent and lapping presumptive favorite Jeb Bush, who’s now limping along at 10 percent.
This came on the heels of another interesting poll. Remember how much abuse Rudy Giuliani took (even I got into the act) for accusing Barack Obama of not loving America?