I understand that Scott Walker is not a perfect Presidential candidate. I understand that his initial foray into dealing with the national press was less than ideal and I haven’t been crazy about his blatant pandering on immigration. I also understand that he lacks the rhetorical flair and stage appeal of [mc_name name=’Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL)’ chamber=’senate’ mcid=’R000595′ ].
And this is a big but. Scott Walker for all his flaws knows how to extend a giant middle finger to the anti-American left and he isn’t the slightest bit shy about doing it. That counts for a lot, not just with me but with a huge portion of the GOP primary electorate who has been begging for someone who could prove that you can win elections and govern effectively while taking on liberal sacred cows at the same time. Scott Walker seems determined to be that guy and so far it is working.
What was the story that dominated the news all week last week? The tragic shooting at the Emanuel AME Church in Charleston, SC last week. Immediately, everyone on the left attempted to pin this one on one of two things – a) guns or b) the confederate flag. The sun hadn’t even gone down the day of the massacre before President Obama had stood behind a lectern and solemnly – and wildly incorrectly – blamed the whole incident on American gun culture. Virtually every other liberal commentator on the planet took the cue from Obama to wag their heads sadly and lecture the country on our lamentable lack of “sensible” gun laws.
Most elected Republicans we all know would have kept their heads down on the gun issue until the public furor over Charleston died down, then hoped that the status quo pro-gun American sensibility would have reasserted itself. But not Scott Walker. Walker understands, if nothing else, that the quickest way to lose a battlefield is to desert it. And so, less than a week after the Charleston shooting, Scott Walker was publicly signing two laws making it easier for the citizens of Wisconsin to own guns. Behold, how the Washington Post howled while reporting this story:
Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker (R) plans to sign two new laws on Wednesday that expand the rights of gun owners by removing a 48-hour waiting period for those looking to purchase a firearm and allowing off-duty or retired police officers to carry concealed weapons at public schools. This action will come one week after a suspected gunman shot and killed nine people in an African American church in South Carolina, yet again prompting a national discussion about gun laws in the U.S.
Walker plans to sign the two pieces of legislation — Senate bills 35 and 70 — at a ceremony at the Milwaukee County Sheriff’s Office on Wednesday afternoon, according to a Tuesday evening press release from the governor’s office. Laurel Patrick, a spokeswoman for the governor, said this bill-signing was scheduled and announced about two weeks ago, several days before the shooting occurred in South Carolina.
Walker, who is expected to announce in mid-July that he will run for president, has overseen the expansion of gun-owner rights in Wisconsin. He often brags in early-primary states like Iowa that his state now allows most of its residents to carry concealed firearms. Wisconsin has also enacted a so-called “castle doctrine” that provides some protections to homeowners who shoot intruders to their property.
Sure, the signing was scheduled before the Charleston shooting occurred but Walker and his people could very easily have shunted this off to the side and quietly signed the bill without any ceremony at all.
The Washington Post treats this as evidence of some sort of political tone deafness on Walker’s part. I treat it as evidence that Scott Walker does not give a tinker’s dam for what the Washington Post will think or say about anything he does. In fact, I assume that somewhere in Scott Walker’s decision flowchart for basically every action he takes, “Will this piss off the Washington Post?” is a question for which the “Yes” answer leads inexorably towards taking the action.
Scott Walker has something of a dull personality, but he makes up for that in large part by basically having a large klaxon affixed to his head that constantly blares profane insults to and about liberals. There are plenty of people out there who have similar klaxons, but Walker is the only one I know of who won three statewide elections in a blue state and who still continues to command a governing coalition in his home state legislature.
The challenge for Walker now is to become the same guy on the campaign trail that he is in the governor’s mansion. It’s less than two months until the first debate, and some of the luster has worn off. He has time to get it back with the field being largely wide open, but in order for him to regain his position he will need to recapture at least some of the shine that Rubio has, for now, stolen away.