--The top three Republican Presidential candidates.
Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker is clearly within the top three in the 2016 Republican Presidential Primary sweepstakes, along with former Florida Governor Jeb Bush and first term Florida U. S. Senator Marco Rubio.
Walker is at or near the front of the Republican pack in Iowa and he came in second to Rand Paul in the straw poll at the all important CPAC gathering of conservatives in the nation's capitol eight weeks ago.
Walker is a hero to conservatives, especially on the domestic policy level, because he took on the public sector unions and beat them as he sought to restore fiscal sanity to Wisconsin state government-- and he beat the public sector unions in their effort to recall him, winning three statewide elections in the last four years.
But, most importantly, Walker appears to have all the requisite traits to be his party's nominee for the Presidency: He is in sync with the Republican Party's base; he can raise big money; he is putting together a credible national campaign organization; he knows how to get out a conservative message that can also resonate with independents and conservative Democrats and he can appear Presidential.
But one nagging concern is whether he can play on the national stage and handle intense scrutiny and tough questioning from the media
--Scott Walker on abortion: "A woman and her doctor."
For example, on the relatively straightforward issue of abortion, Governor Walker struggled a bit when Chris Wallace interviewed him on Fox News Sunday on March 1, 2015. And, Chris Wallace didn't even challenge him on that issue, like he should have. Take a listen to Chris Wallace with the Governor (and you can watch it here).
Chris Wallace: …During the re-election campaign when you were running against a woman…you ran this ad: “There is no doubt in my mind that the decision of whether or not to end a pregnancy is an agonizing one. That’s why I support legislation to increase safety and to provide more information for a woman considering her options. The bill leaves the final decision to a woman and her doctor. “ Do you believe a woman has a right to end a pregnancy at any point during those nine months.
Scott Walker: Well, I think ultimately-- I [am] pro-life because that’s an unborn child. When I think of the ultrasound picture that Tanette, my wife, and I saw of our first son—who is now going to be 21 this June, it is indistinguishable not to recognize that’s a human life. That’s why I am pro-life. My point is that we acted on the grounds that we have legally- to be able to act under the Supreme Court’s decision. We’ll act that way at the federal level if we were in a position like that as were. But ultimately, it is a life.
Chris Wallace: But, ultimately it is her choice?
Scott Walker: But, legally, that’s what it is under the guidelines that was provided by the Supreme Court
Chris Wallace: And, would you change that law?
--Would President Walker try to change the abortion law via his Supreme Court nominees?
Scott Walker: That’s not a change you can make. The [United States] Supreme Court ultimately makes that [decision]. I believe in the right to life and I believe there are other things that can be done at the state and federal level.
Of course, this is where Wallace should have asked if Walker would like to see Roe V. Wade overturned. If Walker said no, then we know he is pro-choice, not pro-life. If Walker said yes, then Wallace asks him how he squares that with his ad—which said, “The final decision is left to a woman and her doctor.” If Walker wants to change current abortion law, he should have said, "The final decision NOW is left to a woman and her doctor, but I would like to see the Supreme Court change that."
--Did Chris Wallace go soft on Walker?
Also, Wallace should have asked Walker, if, as President, he would seek to appoint Supreme Court justices who are strict constructionists and likely to want to return the abortion decision to the state legislatures, which is where the decision was prior to the U. S. Supreme Court ruling in Roe v. Wade in 1973 that there was a constitutional right to an abortion.
But Wallace asked none of the questions, above, that this reporter thinks he should have asked. Instead Wallace changed the subject and went on to immigration.
It is the absence of follow-ups, as outlined above, that allows the FNC critics to argue that FNC goes soft when it comes to challenging conservatives [even as MSNBC does when it comes to challenging liberals]. This is the kind of soft questioning you might expect from a Shawn Hannity, but not from Chris Wallace—so this reporter will just assume Chris had a bad day. It happens to the best of tv show interviewers, from time to time.
--Does Walker's lack of a college degree matter? Can he catch Jeb Bush and Marco Rubio?
Further, the above dialogue indicates that Scott Walker’s lack of a college degree is likely to dog him for quite a while. Yes, of course, a college degree doesn’t immunize you from screw-ups, as outlined above. But, if you have a college degree, you are less likely to concoct problems for yourself by having trouble verbalizing your thoughts.
It is the sense of this reporter that Scott Walker is probably Pro-Life and he probably realizes that for a candidate to be the nominee of the Republican Party for President in 2016, that candidate has to be unequivocally Pro-Life. But, Walker never mastered the fine art of college bull sessions and that shows up in his media interviews.
It will be interesting to see if Gov. Walker can catch up with Senator Rubio or Govenor Bush, in terms of being a smooth talker on the issues. He will have to if he wants to play in the big leagues.
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