It has not been the "summer of love" for Scott Walker's presidential campaign:
• Politico opined: "Scott Walker the biggest loser of the summer." It quoted one Iowa GOP insider saying: "(Walker's) been on all three sides of every two-sided issue. For the last two months (he) hasn't made a single policy pronouncement that he or his staff hasn't had to clarify or clear up within two hours...Unintimidated has given way to uninformed and unprepared";
• Washington Post conservative blogger Jennifer Rubin wrote: Walker "got himself tied up in knots over issues like immigration, doing his best imitation of the worst Mitt Romney flip-flops." Rubin went on to say that Walker should "reconsider whether (he is) ready for primetime";
• The New York Times reported on the reaction of Iowa GOP voters, quoting one as saying: "It's just a show right now. I heard that Scott Walker wants to build a wall on the Canadian border. I didn't realize illegal Canadian immigration was such a big problem";
• Finally, the Washington Post ridiculed Walker with a biting headline: "6 ways Scott Walker has become more Trumpy".
Walker, who led the way in scapegoating (public employees and labor unions), has been outmaneuvered by Donald Trump. New York Times contributing op-ed writer Thomas Edsall commented: "Donald Trump's success is no surprise...(The) most important truth is that a half-century of Republican policies on race and immigration have made the party the home of an often angry and resentful white constituency - a constituency that is now politically mobilized in the face of demographic upheaval." A desperate, faltering Walker now wants to trump Trump on race.
Walker has falsely maligned President Obama, blaming him for "a rise in anti-police rhetoric" and resultant killing of police. However, Washington Post opinion writer Radley Blako wrote: "But Walker is simply wrong ... to say that more oversight and scrutiny of cops have made the job more dangerous. There's no evidence of that. All the available evidence suggests precisely the opposite." (number of police murdered is down 13 - 16 % from last year).
Dishonest, incendiary rhetoric will not compensate for Walker's plummeting polls, complaining donors, critical pundits on the right, unforced errors or sparse campaign crowds. Most of all scapegoater Walker has been trumped by Trump. Perhaps Walker will stagger on. But the fall no longer looks promising. When will the campaign plug be pulled? Will Walker come back to Wisconsin? Stay tuned.
Kaplan wrote a guest column from Washington, D.C. for the Wisconsin State Journal from 1995 - 2009.