In an electorate demanding a dismantling of the status quo, Scott Walker should be a natural favorite.

There is no candidate in the Republican field who has delivered the institutional-level blow to the left-wing that Walker did by passing collective bargaining reform in Wisconsin.

It wasn’t an easy fight, and it would have been easy just to compromise to get the howling crowds to go away. It was what I called Wisconsin’s long, strange trip:

Police insurrections.  Palace guardsCatch a Senator contests.  Doctors behaving badly.  Massive national solidarity protests which weren’tIdentity theft as political theater.  Shark jumping.  Legislators who run away to other states.  Bus bang bangs.  Protesters locking their heads to metal railings and pretending to walk like EgyptiansBeer attacksCanoe flotillas.  (alleged) Judicial chokeholds.  Tears falling on Che Guevara t-shirts at midnight.  Endless recalls.  And recounts.  Communications Directors making threats.   Judges who think they are legislators (well, I’ll grant you that one is common).  V-K DayHole-y warriors.  Cities named Speculation and Conjecture.

But in a quiet way, he just kept on keeping on. And the result, including surviving a recall election, dealt a body-blow to Democrats unlike anything any other Republican presidential candidate can claim.

Walker also had other, though less obvious, conservative reforms.

And he did all this as the conservative movement in Wisconsin was under full-blown assault by the John Doe prosecutors, seeking to isolate Walker and bring him up on charges. After several years of investigation and ruined lives, they never got nothing on Walker.

So coming into the cycle, those of us who carefully followed what happened in Wisconsin naturally gravitated towards Walker. But we were a limited sub-set of the electorate.

When the Trump phenomenon came along, Walker’s support started to evaporate towards those who seized the moment, including Dr. Ben Carson.

Walker’s first debate performance was workmanlike, and in hindsight was a huge missed opportunity. That debate marked the beginning of the slide — it’s not so much that Walker made a bad impression on the huge TV audience, he just didn’t make any impression.

Walker has gone from frontrunner to middle of the pack, losing (depending on poll) about half his support.

Wondering what happened to Scott Walker’s campaign is a hot topic now. In fact, I asked on August 12, How does Scott Walker regain his momentum? Does he need to now?

At WaPo, two reporters ask, What happened to Scott Walker?:

Instead of rising to the occasion, however, Walker has continued to raise doubts.

Several supporters say Walker appears to have had too many meetings with too many experts, turning him into a more timid version of himself. They miss the Midwestern candidate who focused on economic issues like weakening public unions, making painful cuts to the budget and reducing taxes by more than $2 billion.

A former Republican officeholder said Walker needs to project the political persona that first made him attractive to conservatives, rather than seemingly lurch farther to the right on issues that never have been at his core.

“The Walker of the Iowa caucuses is not the Walker that people were used to seeing in Wisconsin,” said the Republican official, who requested anonymity in order to offer a candid view of Walker’s candidacy.

That sounds about right to me.

Life is not fair, and neither are election cycles. It may be that people are looking for something Walker is not capable of selling. That would be unfortunate, but no one said politics is fair.

I have little doubt that as President, Walker would deliver more of the body blows that so endeared him to us. It won’t be fluff, and it won’t be showmanship.

Just so relentless they will lock their heads to metal railings in protest. Oh wait, they’ve already done that.

[Protester at Wisconsin State Capitol, 2011. Image via JSOnline]

Can Walker get back up? I hope so.

That’s not an “endorsement,” just a hope that when the field sorts itself out, and there are just a few people standing, Walker is one of them.


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