What went wrong .... WashPost analysis
Scott Walker drops out of the race at a news conference in Madison last night. (Photo by Andy Manis/Getty Images)By James Hohmann
THE BIG IDEA:
— Scott Walker believed that surviving the recall prepared him for the rigors and scrutiny that come with running for president. He was wrong.
Winning three elections in four years in a blue state like Wisconsin clouded his judgment and made him overconfident in his own abilities.
He shuffled off to his super PAC some of his closest, long-term advisers who helped him get onto the national stage. From there, they could not coordinate with him. He surrounded himself with an oversized entourage that didn’t seem to understand what made him tick. He wound up looking like a flip-flopper who was not ready for primetime and who was constantly telling audiences what they wanted to hear.
Walker seemed to blame Donald Trump last night for changing the dynamic in the race and causing him to drop out, but he and his own senior staff deserve more blame than anyone else. Here are five of the reasons Walker blew his very real chance to be the GOP nominee—
1) He came across as inauthentic. Trump is leading in the polls because conservatives think he tells it like it is, even if they don’t agree with him on every issue or find some of what he says offensive. Walker, who has never held a real job outside of politics, made himself look like a career politician with constant punts and recalibrations. It always felt like he had his finger in the wind and was studying the polls a little too closely. The Post reporter on the Walker beat, Jenna Johnson, seemed to always be filing stories on how the governor was trying to clarify his position on this or that.
He flip-flopped on ethanol to try winning over Iowa agriculture interests.
He flipped on immigration, taking a hardline to match the mood of the moment and to have an issue with which he could contrast himself from the right with Jeb Bush and Marco Rubio.
He seemed to endorse ending birthright citizenship last month. Then he said he didn’t have a position on the issue. Then he said that he did not want to change the Constitution, which many believe guarantees citizenship to those born on U.S. soil.
Over Labor Day weekend, he refused to say if the U.S. should accept more Syrian refugees, telling reporters that it was a “hypothetical question” and that he wanted to talk about reality – only to say soon after that the U.S. should not accept more refugees.