If you want to run for president, these are the kind of small land mines that have to be avoided. It’s the life that Walker seems inclined to choose. As the responses by Marco Rubio and Jeb Bush suggested, there were ways to answer the question while still pivoting to a critique of President Obama. So even if Walker’s objection was valid, his weak-tea answer was less so.
This is the business Walker has chosen if he runs for president. Which is the basic point that Matt Lewis made in the Daily Beast:
Conservatives should be worried that Walker hasn’t proven capable of navigating these land mines. Make no mistake: The media is biased. There is a double standard. And surrogates and center-right media — not candidates for president — ought to call them out. It is still possible to triumph in this hostile environment. To win, conservatives have to be twice as good. The liberal media had a monopoly in the 1980s, yet Ronald Reagan still managed to be the Great Communicator. I’m tired of this whining and playing the victim card. That’s what liberals do. If Republicans are to win the White House, conservatives will have to take this advice: Learn to adapt and overcome — not complain about media bias.
For Walker fans, the interesting thing is that it’s unclear whether he is moving down the learning curve. Consider the end of his conversation with Balz:
Asked whether it has caused greater scrutiny than he had anticipated at this time, Walker said that, too, has come somewhat faster than expected. In some ways, he said, it has been helpful because it has stirred conservatives to defend him from some of the criticism he’s received.Walker said Saturday that he is ready for whatever comes his way. “For us, it’s not that we didn’t think it would happen,” he said. “It’s just that it moved the timeline up. It doesn’t shake us. As you’ve seen, things that might shake up other would-be candidates, we’re used to. We just figure a way to turn it on its side.”
This sounds like a candidate defending his initial response, not someone who’s adjusting to the bigger game. Which is consistent with his past record in Wisconsin.
It’s still early, so maybe Walker will be vindicated, as he was in Wisconsin politics. Or maybe he’ll adapt. What he can’t do anymore is whine about the way the game is played. This is the business that he has chosen.