With the rapid ascension of Scott Walker to the first tier of Republican contenders in 2016, it was expected that he would become an increased target of national medial scrutiny. The first round of salvos has indeed been fired and if it is any indication of what is to come, then the left truly has already fired all the bullets they have at Scott Walker.
First, second-rate thinker and first-rate hack Gail Collins went after Walker in a NYT column that blamed Scott Walker for massive teacher layoffs. The only problem with this column was that the layoffs in question occurred in 2010 – before Walker took office. This error was particularly embarrassing in light of the fact that Collins’ column was titled “Scott Walker Needs an Eraser.” Given that the central fact in Collins’ column was false, Collins herself was forced to pull out the eraser and add a correction that basically wiped out the whole column. As Ed Morrissey noted at the time:
That’s an amazingly insufficient correction, coming two days and several portions of credibility late. It treats this as though the date of Walker’s inauguration and the layoffs were incidental to Collins’ column, and were merely overlooked. In fact, that was the entire point of the column. Her argument was that Walker’s record was going to trip him up when it came under scrutiny from the national media, which was a ludicrous point considering how the national news media covered Walker’s fights from the 2011 Fleebagger crisis through his recall election victory in 2013. Perhaps Collins slept through those years of national media scrutiny into Walker’s travails and his fiscal strategy in Wisconsin. Her editor obviously did.
Next came a phalanx of press-Democrat members trying to make hay out of Walker’s refusal to answer questions about evolution during the course of a trade mission to the UK.Richard Cohen of the Washington Post had a pretty typical sample of this particular brand of desperation, as reported by RCP:
But it was in London that a Brit, somehow overlooking the significance of cheese, asked the governor whether he believes in evolution. This is precisely no different than asking whether one believes in the theory of gravity or general relativity, but Walker would not answer. He said he had come to London to deal not with philosophical matters but, as cannot be emphasized enough, cheese. Good day, gentlemen!
The most insulting and ridiculous part of Cohen’s column was the pretend voice in which it was written – as though Cohen were a pretend conservative who might have voted for Scott Walker, only until he refused to answer a question about evolution. Even swing voters are not such morons as to believe this tripe, Richard Cohen being one of the most well known political quantities in America to anyone who lived through the Clinton years. But even if he were, the suggestion that Walker demurring on a question that is completely irrelevant to the performance of his job (or the job of the President of the United States, for that matter) while in the course of, you know, doing his job (which is not, as suggested, to peddle cheese to Brits) is going to change literally anyone’s mind is completely laughable.
Now comes Dana Milbank, who has the luxury of not being treated like a serious person by either the right or the left because he is a serially dishonest and untalented hack. Unsurprisingly, Milbank gets the job of trotting out the most desperate attack yet – that Walker should be disqualified from the Presidency because he sat at a table with Rudy Giuliani when Giuliani said that Obama doesn’t love America and didn’t immediately rise up to smite Giuliani to death. Nevermind that Walker offered at the time what can only be considered polite disagreement with Giuliani, this was insufficient for Milbank:
As the world now knows, Giuliani, the former New York mayor, said at a dinner featuring Walker, the Wisconsin governor, that “I do not believe that the president loves America.” According to Politico, Giuliani said President Obama “wasn’t brought up the way you were brought up and I was brought up, through love of this country.”
And Walker, just a few seats away, said . . . nothing. Asked the next morning on CNBC about Giuliani’s words, the Republican presidential aspirant was spineless: “The mayor can speak for himself. I’m not going to comment on what the president thinks or not. He can speak for himself as well. I’ll tell you, I love America, and I think there are plenty of people — Democrat, Republican, independent, everyone in between — who love this country.”
But did he agree with Giuliani? “I’m in New York,” Walker demurred. “I’m used to people saying things that are aggressive out there.”
This level of patent desperation would be sad if it weren’t being wielded by such despicable people. The political party that harbored massive numbers of 9/11 truthers – i.e., people who accused Bush of Cheney of being guilty of killing thousands of American people on purpose – does not get to lecture Republicans on confronting extremist rhetoric, not with a straight face. Especially not when the rhetoric in question isn’t “I think Obama killed thousands of Americans on purpose just so he could lead us into war,” but rather “I don’t think Obama was raised to love America as much as other people in this country were.” At least arguably, this statement might be damaging to Walker if he had made it himself, but the idea that it will be damaging to Walker that Giuliani said it, and that Walker didn’t condemn him forcefully enough, is an argument so facially laughable that only the truly desperate would attempt to peddle it.
Unless the Democrats have some different bullets in the chamber, the next two years will be very long for them indeed, if Walker gets the nomination.