Whether it's unions or universities, Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker (R) has waged a number of huge fights -- symbolic and otherwise -- with liberals. So far, the fights have only served to bolster his credentials among national conservatives who like nothing more than a Republican willing to poke liberals in the eye.
And now New York Times columnist Gail Collins has thrown Walker another hanging curveball by which to bash liberals and shine in the eyes of conservatives.
In a recent column widely derided as a "hit piece" by conservatives, Collins centered on Walker's breakout speech in Iowa, declaring that it was "his moment." Known for her stream-of-consciousness writing style, Collins sets herself up as a kind of fact-checker of Walker's record. She blames the governor for cutting state aid to education that led to teacher layoffs -- particularly in regard to one teacher who had been honored.
But there was just one big problem with that assertion: Walker wasn't actually in office when said cuts were made.
The headline -- "Scott Walker Needs an Eraser" -- pretty much said it all, except it wasn't Walker who needed one.
The correction, which came two days after the column was posted, said: "An earlier version of this column incorrectly stated that teacher layoffs in Milwaukee in 2010 happened because Gov. Scott Walker 'cut state aid to education.' The layoffs were made by the city’s school system because of a budget shortfall, before Mr. Walker took office in 2011."
Walker's conservative fans immediately seized on Collins's mistake.
Here's the Weekly Standard:
The National Review:
And at Powerline, a call to arms:
The battle over the 2016 election is well underway, and the Democratic Party press is pulling no punches. My guess is that over the next 21 months, we will see open warfare against the Republican Party and its candidates, to an even greater degree than in the past.
If we're sticking with the warfare theme, then Walker is liberal enemy No. 1. And this is a great place for a guy whose star is starting to rise. That's because conservatives are great at turning the enemy (Walker) of their enemy (liberals) into their best friend.
The reaction of conservative media outlets shows that he has some enviable support. They are certainly keeping score. (Walker: 1, Collins: Big Fat Zero.)
It all goes back to the 2012 recall effort, in which unions and liberals overstepped by seeking to remove Walker as governor because of his decision to roll back collective bargaining rights for public-sector unions. They lost, and suddenly they had created a world-beating conservative hero who just won another election in a blue-leaning state. He has won three races in four-plus years -- a fact he will remind crowds of often, and one that wouldn't be true without that overreach.
Now, with another defeat of Collins and the "liberal media," the legend of Walker -- slayer of all things liberal -- continues to grow. In a crowded field in which everyone will clamor for the conservative label, Walker has that distinct advantage.
And liberals largely have themselves to blame.