Scott Walker’s Lament

If he were not basically one of the least sympathetic figures in public life today (even if you like him it’s probably because you enjoyed his remorseless, hammer-headed attacks on the public sector and unions in Wisconsin, but you sure wouldn’t want to have him over for dinner), you’d sorta feel sorry for Scott Walker this week. He’s been tanking in the polls, particularly in Iowa, the state he stood athwart like a colossus back in the winter and spring. His donors are apparently going behind his back trying to force his campaign manager, Rick Wiley, to resign, and may even be circulating some rumor about an act of “indecency” by Wiley that’s too salacious for even Buzzfeed to describe.

And then he barely registered his presence in a debate everybody thought he needed to do very well in. So he does what any self-respecting Republican would do, in the absence of the ability to blame Obama: he’s blaming the media, per Andrew Kaczynski:

Walker said the media no matter what was determined to stick to “the narrative” that former HP CEO Carly Fiorina had a good debate and that CNN ultimately just want to turn he candidates against each other for ratings.

“I think going in, we knew the narrative no matter what was gonna happen was they were gonna say that Carly had a big night, no matter what, and obviously, they said that,” Walker told radio host Glenn Beck on Thursday. “I think the other impression — the feedback I got from folks, not just in the press but from across the country we talked to was a frustration that there wasn’t more talk.”

Lord-a-mercy, governor, you were up there for three hours! Just because you didn’t have the chops to interrupt your way into every conversation like Christie and Fiorina doesn’t entitle you to bitch. And did you just forget to mention the shiny new federal union-bashing initiative you unveiled earlier this week, entitled “My Plan To Give Power to the People, Not the Union Bosses”?

Now it’s true the Carly Boom was something media folk were transparently hoping for, but so, too, was the entire Republican Establishment, including, I would assume, Walker’s Wisconsin buddy Reince Priebus. Who else was going to give Trump some comeuppance? His punching-bag Jeb Bush? Scott Walker?

Be serious, now.

I sure wouldn’t write Walker off this early, but he really does need to internalize the fact that in a field this large and raucous just reciting how you beat the unions and liberals in Wisconsin and they tried to recall you and you beat them again and then again will get you a round of applause but not necessarily attention or votes. I mean, really, Mr. Libertarian Moment himself, Rand Paul, looks completely lost in this kind of environment, as does Jeb a good part of the time. When you’re whining about it to Glenn Beck, you sound like one of those losers Donald Trump is always talking about.

Ed Kilgore

Ed Kilgore, a Monthly contributing editor, is a columnist for the Daily Intelligencer, New York magazine’s politics blog, and the managing editor for the Democratic Strategist.