Mitt Romney’s appeal was due to the fact that he was a Republican who was able to overcome great odds by getting elected in a blue state and by passing a signature policy achievement with universal health care reform.
Scott Walker’s appeal is that he is a Republican who has managed to get elected (three times) in a blue(-ish) state and managed to secure his own signature legislative achievement with public sector union reform.
Unfortunately, that’s not where the similarities stop.
Like Romney, Walker is less than eager to talk about the policies he’d support to protect innocent, unborn children if elected President. Walker has even been hesitant about supporting widely popular proposals like Sen. Lindsay Graham’s Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection act, which limits abortion after the 20th week of a pregnancy when the child can feel pain. The bill polls at a strong 60 percent support among nearly all demographics, including women, youth, and Hispanic voters.
As some of us remember, Romney was a pro-life candidate. The problem was that he didn’t campaign on being a pro-life candidate. Romney refused to paint Obama as an extremist on this issue, even though Democrats support aborting seven-pound babies, as Sen. Rand Paul recently pointed out.
And what did Romney do when he was attacked for being an extremist on abortion? He ran an ad in which he assured voters that he actually did support abortion in certain circumstances, but that jobs and the national debt were much more important issues. That didn’t turn out to be a very effective strategy.
There’s no evidence that Walker would be any different. In fact, there’s evidence that he’d be exactly the same. During his reelection campaign, he defended his record by stating that his ultrasound legislation never restricted access to abortion. Walker doubled down on that when he spoke to Fox News’ Chris Wallace and said that ultimately, the president can’t change abortion policy because of the Supreme Court’s ruling.
Walker can try to pivot away from abortion to jobs and the national debt, but unless he addresses the abortion issue head-on, he will follow the same end as Romney’s campaign. If Walker becomes the GOP’s candidate for President, would he ask Hillary Clinton, Liz Warren, or Martin O’Malley whether or not they support aborting a seven-pound baby? I doubt it.
But it only gets worse.
Also like Romney, Walker doesn’t seem interested in getting more than 27 percent support from Hispanic voters.
Walker has gone on record over the past couple of weeks practically blaming Hispanic immigrants for stagnant wages and a poor economy. Besides straining credulity, Walker’s rhetoric is just reckless. This is how the Wall Street Journal covered his comments:
In a radio interview Monday with Glenn Beck, Mr. Walker said “the next President and the next Congress need to make decisions about a legal immigration system that’s based on, first and foremost, on protecting American workers and American wages.” He went on to say, “I’ve talked to folks, I’ve talked to Senator Sessions and others out there.” At the “forefront of our discussion going foward,” he says, must be what legal immigration is “doing for American workers looking for jobs” and what it “is doing to wages.”
If you’re interested in getting support from Hispanic voters, you shouldn’t be getting your talking points from Senator Jeff Sessions. Just wait until Walker has to defend these comments on Univision or Telemundo. Romney’s infamous “self-deportation” comments won’t hold a candle to that.
With irresponsible comments about immigrants and by refusing to talk about social issues like abortion (where Hispanics actually agree with Republicans), how does Scott Walker plan to win the Hispanic vote?
Does he expect to win the support of Hispanics by talking about corporate tax reform? Maybe he plans to win their support through entitlement reform? Maybe he thinks that Hispanics will get jazzed up about foreign trade policy?
Possibly, but it’s highly doubtful.
Scott Walker doesn’t have to follow in the footsteps of Mitt Romney. And we all know that he shouldn’t.
If Walker wants a chance at getting the nomination and then making it to the White House, he needs to change the way he speaks about the abortion issue and work to engage the Hispanic community… before he becomes the Mitt Romney of 2016.