Walker’s co­zi­ness with Trump could be his un­do­ing

Wisconsin Gazette - - Editorial -

Scott Walker has been busy try­ing to con­vince his col­leagues to ap­prove give­aways for vot­ers ahead of his re­elec­tion bid. He should be spend­ing his time try­ing to solve his Don­ald Trump prob­lem.

For­give us some schaden­freude, but Walker is caught be­tween the prover­bial rock and a hard place when it comes to Trump. If he con­tin­ues his em­brace of the self­pro­claimed “sta­ble ge­nius,” Trump’s mas­sive un­pop­u­lar­ity could drag Walker down. If he tries to down­play or white­wash his Trumpian con­nec­tions, he’ll tick off the ru­ral white vot­ers who helped Trump win the state in 2016 — and who are es­sen­tial to Walker’s re-elec­tion.

Let’s re­view the record, start­ing with Walker’s sad at­tempt at voter bribery.

Wis­con­sinites are no­to­ri­ously fru­gal, but Walker’s pro­posal to give par­ents a measly gift of $100 per child is un­likely to sway many vot­ers. In fact, they might find it of­fen­sive that he thinks their votes can be bought so cheaply.

Was Walker not pay­ing at­ten­tion when Paul Ryan was sav­aged for a tweet in which he boasted that a sec­re­tary’s $1.50 weekly in­crease in take-home pay proved the Repub­li­can tax plan is a suc­cess? Clue­less.

Vot­ers know Walker is try­ing might­ily to dis­tract at­ten­tion from his fail­ure to cre­ate the 250,000 jobs he promised dur­ing his first term. He’s nearly at the end of his sec­ond term and he still hasn’t made good on that vow.

Per­haps hop­ing to dis­tract vot­ers from his job-cre­ation record — in case the $100 doesn’t — Walker shelled out a mas­sive amount of tax­payer money to a dis­rep­utable for­eign com­pany that promised to bring as many as 13,000 jobs to the south­ern part of the state. Maybe he thought that dazzling but hy­po­thet­i­cal num­ber would fill vot­ers with awe.

For par­ents, $100. For Fox­conn, $3 bil­lion.

More re­cently, Walker pro­posed giv­ing Kim­berly-Clark a tax credit pro­por­tional to the one he gave Fox­conn. The money was more cor­po­rate wel­fare — an at­tempt to get the com­pany to change its plans to close plants in Neenah and Fox Cross­ing, which would mean the loss of 600 jobs. But the com­pany didn’t ask for the money and hasn’t agreed to take it.

Rather than a tiny child tax credit or mas­sive cor­po­rate bribes, maybe Walker should be look­ing more closely at his re­la­tion­ship with Trump. Walker, like Ryan, ini­tially vowed never to sup­port the re­al­ity-TV star. But once Trump as­cended to the high­est of­fice in the land, both mor­phed into his lap­dogs.

Walker has made mul­ti­ple joint ap­pear­ances with Trump. And Walker can’t deny them, be­cause — as is the case with Trump’s de­nial of a re­la­tion­ship Stormy Daniels — there are pic­tures prov­ing oth­er­wise.

Since they’re joined at the hip, Walker some­how needs to deal with how toxic Trump has be­come. And the sit­u­a­tion is only get­ting worse. That’s not just be­cause of the women com­ing for­ward with tales to tell. Trump’s com­ing un­hinged as the Rus­sia in­ves­ti­ga­tion creeps closer to him. With ev­ery new de­vel­op­ment in the probe, he acts guiltier; and ev­ery time he re­fuses to crit­i­cize Putin, he looks guiltier.

The stink of Trump’s foul deal­ings with the Rus­sians and his myr­iad other trans­gres­sions can­not be washed away with a $100 check to Wis­con­sin par­ents. Vot­ers are not blind to Trump’s grow­ing des­per­a­tion — whom will he fire next as he tries to ob­struct the course of jus­tice? And Walker is in his cor­ner.

But surely Walker knows what hap­pens to can­di­dates as­so­ci­ated with Trump. Fol­low­ing Trump’s ap­pear­ances in Alabama to stump for a Se­nate can­di­date and in south­west Penn­syl­va­nia to fire up his base for a con­gres­sional can­di­date, both lost. Trump was sup­posed to de­liver speeches prais­ing the can­di­dates, but in­stead he went off on rants about him­self and his per­ceived en­e­mies. In Penn­syl­va­nia, he bragged that he’s bet­ter look­ing than the pho­to­genic Demo­cratic can­di­date, who’s 38 years his ju­nior.

Even when Trump doesn’t ap­pear with them, he helps can­di­dates lose. He has women, mi­nor­ity groups and en­vi­ron­men­tal­ists riled up in a way that the na­tion hasn’t seen since Barack Obama’s elec­tion in 2008.

Rock and a hard place in­deed. Walker won’t be able to buy or lie his way out of this co­nun­drum.

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