Wisconsin governor Scott Walker last night withdrew from the GOP presidential nomination race. All things considered, it is understandable that he did so, but I believe it says a lot of things—mostly bad—about our current nominating process and the expectations of the electorate. I’ll explain in a moment.
First, I want to examine Walker’s comments in his withdrawal statement. They say a lot.
One of the points he made was how disappointed he was that this entire campaign “drifted into personal attacks.” One candidate, in particular, has excelled in doing so, and that is Donald Trump, who has disgraced himself by the way he has handled legitimate criticism from the other candidates. Walker is correct about that.
Then he said that the best way he can show leadership at this moment is to help clear the field “so that a positive, conservative message can rise to the top of the field.” He called on other candidates with little support in the polls to follow his example “so that the voters can focus on a limited number of candidates who can offer a positive, conservative alternative to the current front-runner.”
With that statement, he made it abundantly clear that he does not consider Trump to be a genuine conservative who deserves the Republican electorate’s support, and that the only way to stop him is to coalesce around someone who can give him a true run for his money. Most surmise that Walker is encouraging his supporters to make Rubio that challenger, and indications are that his top people are already moving in that direction.
What to say about Walker’s failed candidacy? First, it’s sad that two governors with superb credentials as fine leaders with courage—Walker and Perry—are the first to drop out. In the rush to thumb their noses at anyone who has held office, far too many voters are looking for any alternative, no matter the consequences.
It is the height of foolishness simply to lash out at anyone who has experience in government. Walker has a stellar record as a courageous conservative in a blue state who has accomplished pretty much all he set out to do. His demise is grievous to me.
I’ve read a number of autopsies of his campaign, and I agree with some of the criticisms leveled at him for how the campaign was run. Neither did he help himself by the debates, where he failed to shine.
Yet that is another issue for me: voters are looking for charisma and audaciousness more than competence. That does not bode well for the Republican party or the country.
I admire Walker and pray the best for him as he continues to lead Wisconsin, knowing that his foes will now redouble their efforts to smear him and overturn the advances he has made there.
May those efforts fall flat, and may his reputation as a Christian man of conscience repair whatever damage this presidential bid may have done to his reputation. He deserves better.