Walker’s coziness with Trump could be his undoing
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.