In his blustery speech Monday tossing his hat into the 2016 White House race, Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker focused almost entirely on views appealing to the hard-core right wing of his Republican Party.
In the weeks, or perhaps months, ahead, with 15 opponents in the GOP race, Walker will have to do better. He hit illegal immigration, of course, and now has shifted his position from flirting with a pathway to citizenship to the conservative hard-line focused on bashing illegal immigrants but offering virtually no solutions to the long-term issue.
And he, of course, said he’d repeal “Obamacare,” which is becoming such a tired refrain even Republicans in Congress aren’t using it much anymore. Walker even attacked Common Core guidelines for public education, uniform standards that once were supported by lots of Republican governors until GOP right-wingers found a receptive audience in linking the standards to ... President Obama.
Walker came to the national spotlight because he fought public employee labor unions in his state. And that was about it. And though Walker has touted his state’s economy, the truth is that there’s been no economic miracle in Wisconsin.
Hillary Clinton, in contrast, has been performing as a presidential candidate should.
In an economic-focused speech the day after Walker announced, Clinton said she wanted the nation’s economy to be judged not by how well the stock market was doing, but by how well the middle class was doing. She dismissed Walker and his fellow GOP candidates Jeb Bush and Marco Rubio for promoting “trickle down” policies “the give more wealth to those at the top, by cutting their taxes and letting big corporations write their own rules.”
Clinton said the next president should focus on helping more workers reach and stay in the middle class. “We must raise incomes for hard-working Americans so they can afford a middle class life,” she said. And she promised, “The will be my mission from the first day I’m president to the last.”
Walker may win over the tea party in the Iowa primary and may win the nomination of the Grand Old Party. But when it comes to focusing on the issues that matter, Clinton beat him the day after he announced.