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Frontrunner to Fringe: Scott Walker's Tumble

Just a couple weeks ago, it looked like Scott Walker had catapulted himself to frontrunner status in what remains a comically crowded and flawed Republican primary field. But we quickly learned that Walker isn’t quite ready for primetime.

Since being dubbed the leader of the GOP pack, Scott Walker has managed to marginalize his candidacy with an astounding display of gutlessness. First, he was asked flatly if he believed in evolution, and refused to answer. Then, he stood beside Rudy Giuliani as the former mayor raised racially-tinged questions about Barack Obama’s patriotism. Asked point-blank, Scott Walker was not willing to concede that the president of the United States of America in fact loves America.

Then, Walker took his act one step further when he claimed not to know whether Barack Obama was a Christian because he’s “never asked him” that. Perhaps Walker was inspired by his meeting earlier last week with birther-in-chief Donald Trump. All this has been enough to make Democrats yearn for 2008 and the comparative civility of John McCain.

But Scott Walker’s willingness to entertain such radicalism in order to avoid political risks is more than just a sign of his utter lack of a leadership. It’s a sad commentary about the party he belongs to — a party in which Scott Walker and the fringe have become mainstream.

Check out the brutal coverage that has been brought on by Walker’s antics:

Scott Walker’s spineless silence

Washington Post Editorial Board, February 20th, 2015

“His (Mayor Giuliani) remarks presented an early test of character for Mr. Walker, and Mr. Walker failed spectacularly. At the dinner, the governor said nothing. Even the next morning, having had a night to ponder, Mr. Walker chose not to lift himself out of the Giuliani sewer.”

“ Any reader of this page knows that we find plenty to criticize in Mr. Obama’s foreign policy. But the questions about his patriotism that emerge from a venomous stew of racism, xenophobia and echo-chamber cable television chatter are ludicrous and say a great deal more about the critics than about the object of their criticism.”

Scott Walker’s cowardice should disqualify him

Washington Post Op-Ed, February 20th, 2015

“What Scott Walker did ought to disqualify him as a serious presidential contender”

“Certainly don’t look to Walker, who, in trying to establish himself as the man to lead the country after the 2016 election, is avoiding anything that might resemble leadership.”

Scott Walker’s unforced errors

Politico, February 23rd, 2015

“It’s just bad politics to question the faith, patriotism, or nationality of a Democrat who has won two presidential elections with over 50 percent of the vote.”

In Pre-Primary Pivot to Right, Walker Shifts Tone on Abortion

New York Times, February 22nd, 2015

“The shift in emphasis and tone is noticeable not only on abortion, but also on same-sex marriage, another issue of intense interest to social conservatives.”

“A few weeks before the November election, in an interview with The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, the governor sidestepped questions about his earlier opposition to abortion, and declined four times to answer directly when asked if abortion should be prohibited after 20 weeks — a position he had previously embraced. He also declined to restate his earlier opposition to abortion in cases of rape and incest. “

“In a breakout speech in Iowa on Jan. 24, he drew loud applause from the crowd of conservative activists when he declared that he had passed “pro-life legislation” in Wisconsin and “defunded Planned Parenthood.” ’

The risk of Scott Walker’s safe politics

CNN, February 22, 2015

“ The refusal to fully engage on the questions about evolution and the President’s faith, or to pass some kind of judgment on Giuliani’s comments, creates a dissonance with Walker’s would-be campaign message: that he represents “fresh leadership” and is someone with “big, bold ideas and the courage to act on it.”

Establishment Republicans Question Scott Walker’s Handling of Giuliani Comments

New York Times, February 21st, 2015

“Dan Senor, a prominent Republican adviser on a range of issues, did not discuss Mr. Walker directly in an email exchange with The New York Times on Friday, but said he saw little value in his party getting bogged down in a discussion about the president’s mindset.”

“There is a simple response: ‘I don’t challenge President Obama’s love for America; I challenge his agenda for America.’ Period. And then move off it,” Mr. Senor said.” ’

Scott Walker’s Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Answer

Daily Beast, February 21st 2015

“Walker, just a few seats away, said . . . nothing. Asked the next morning on CNBC about Giuliani’s words, the Republican presidential aspirant was spineless..”

“Conservatives should be worried that Walker hasn’t proven capable of navigating these land mines. Make no mistake: The media is biased. There is a double standard. And surrogates and center-right media—not candidates for president—ought to call them out.”