Tuesday, September 22, 2015


I wouldn't go so far as to say I feel sorry for Scott Walker. He's a monster, best known for his scheme to destroy the Wisconsin teachers' union. Conservatives loved that about him, of course, because he was fulfilling their most earnest wish to humble those moocher cloth-ears who dared demand a living wage for work that didn't generate dividends or rightwing propaganda. Also he's been trying to get rid of tenure at the University of Wisconsin, which really sets their hearts on fire. And he loves Jesus and Reagan.

Many conservatives chose to imagine that ordinary people would love Walker just as much as they loved him -- though he always seemed to my unstarry eyes to be in a constant trance state and perhaps developmentally disabled. When Walker was caught eating some barbecue he'd just been serving to people with his latex serving gloves still on, it looks weird to some, but at The Federalist Peter Cook claimed it only looked weird to liberals because they never did an honest day's work -- unlike Walker, who once briefly did marketing for the Red Cross before entering politics. Charles C.W. Cooke of National Review found Walker a perfect candidate for a "Return to Normalcy" campaign "with his homespun tales of one-dollar sweaters, his quiet Midwestern roots, and his down-to-earth everyman appearance..."

Did ordinary people see him that way? It now appears ordinary Republicans didn't even see him that way. Or maybe they did see it, but decided it wasn't enough. Walker was doing okay in the polls until Trump broke out. And suddenly there went Walker's whole reason for being. It turned out his dollar sweaters and latex gloves and his lack of schooly airs weren't what appealed to them -- it was his willingness to be mean to the people they hated; and if you want a candidate to be mean to the people you hate, isn't it much better to have one who seems confident about it? (And if you want one who seems to be in a daze, there's always Ben Carson.) What's the point of ressentiment in a minor key? In April, when Walker tried to excite the crowd by harshing on Mexicans and people found it offensive, National Review's Rich Lowry said, "Walker should take the shots as a compliment, and hopefully, the rest of the field will begin to think and talk about immigration the same way." This was before Trump started calling Mexicans rapists and sweeping the field.

Anyway, now the brethren are wandering away from the scene of the crash with their hands in their pockets, whistling. Byron York was a big booster back in the day. In January he said, "Scott Walker doesn't have to be great on the stump to do well," because  his union-busting was so electifying that "GOP voters will cut him a little slack in the charisma and oratory department." Now, York sees more clearly Walker's "limitations" -- first, there was his "lack of foreign policy chops"; then, said York, "an even bigger problem was domestic policy. [Walker] just wasn't very up on some of the key policy and political issues that a president has to confront..." That wouldn't seem to leave much. Trump doesn't know anything, either, but nobody cares because his ignorance is so dynamic.

Like I said, I wouldn't say I felt bad for the guy, but it must be something to have pandered your ass off for months and then discover that it wasn't enough to be a bully -- you had to act like a bully, too.

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