Scott Walker's presidential campaign had a very bad week:
-- Washington Post conservative blogger Jennifer Rubin wrote: "Instead of racing to catch up to (Donald) Trump - making Walker appear desperate and weak - he needs to define his own position in the mainstream of the (GOP) party....Ironically, for a candidate who says no one intimidates him, he has now been thrown entirely off his game by Trump";
-- Politico said: "Scott Walker just can't make up his mind on birthright citizenship." Walker has gone from hemming and hawing, but appearing to support Trump's rejection of birthright citizenship, to now saying: "I'm not taking a position one way or the other";
-- The New York Times described Walker's appearance at the Iowa State Fair: "There was only a smattering of pro-Walker signs and T-shirts." The newspaper went on to say: "(Iowa GOP) party insiders noted that no candidate in recent years has lost a polling lead in Iowa and come back to win the caucuses...";
-- Finally, the Washington Post headline got right to the point: "Sinking in the polls..." The Post went on to say: "The biggest loser in Trump's rise may well be Walker, who has seen his hold on the top tier wear away after his milquetoast performance at the first GOP presidential debate..."
What to do? Walker, a career politician, who built his electoral rise in Wisconsin and nationally by scapegoating unions, slyly thought he had a monopoly on demagoguery. And, to seal his deal with the devil, Walker pretends that he does not know if President Obama is a Christian or "loves his country". However, the fearmongering Trump - making hateful remarks about John McCain's war service, undocumented immigrants and women - has outmaneuvered Walker. So Walker is seeking to reboot his presidential campaign by moving further to the right, notwithstanding that he is already at the outer fringe. And, he wants to show "passion". Back to attacking the successful and increasingly popular Affordable Care Act (ACA).
Walker released a Cliff's Notes version of a serious health care policy paper: Repeal the ACA (19 million, including at least 183,155 Wisconsinites, could lose health care coverage), turn Medicaid into a parsimonious state block grant program (greatly reduced eligibility and coverage), "leave those with pre-existing conditions out in the cold" (Modern Healthcare) and states could allow insurance companies to deny coverage under their parents' health care plan to children under 26. Moreover, the Washington Post pointedly said: "Walker's plan is 15 pages, but five of those pages contain only logos and three more pages are devoted to tearing apart the health care law" (ACA).
Walker has been trumped both by himself and Trump.
Kaplan wrote a guest column from Washington, D.C. for the Wisconsin State Journal from 1995 - 2009.