New “Crystal Ball” frontrunner for GOP nomination: Scott Walker?

posted at 11:21 am on August 15, 2013 by Allahpundit

Worth blogging just because it’s the first time I’ve seen a major elections analyst name Walker as the man to beat. I agree with the basic outline: There’ll be a centrist champion, a right-wing champion, and then a compromise candidate who can draw from both camps. Sabato thinks that’s Christie, Rand Paul, and Walker, respectively. I think it’s likelier to be Christie, Cruz, and Rubio, with Rand Paul an X factor fueled by libertarians, but oh well.

Scott Walker continues to hold the top spot on our list because we believe that if he decided to run, he could potentially appeal to both the party’s defense hawks and its fiscal conservatives. In the event of a Paul-Christie duel (or a battle among others) for the soul of the Republican Party, Walker could present himself as a consensus choice whose nomination would avert a GOP identity crisis. Yes, we realize that Walker might end up being a disappointing national candidate — he very well might not have the swagger, fundraising chops, rhetorical ability and national base of support to make much of a bid — but in our view he continues to lead a wide-open field.

We’ve moved Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) down the list. His prominent role in the Senate’s immigration debate has done him some damage in early polling: There’s evidence that he has recently slipped in Iowa and New Hampshire, and that his national star has faded at least slightly amongst Republicans. This all could be some early, meaningless noise, but if one has to rank the GOP presidential contenders, he just doesn’t belong above Walker, Christie or Paul at this point. Bob Vander Plaats, an evangelical leader in Iowa, said that some Iowans he’s talked to believe 2020 might be a better opportunity for Rubio than 2016. Easy now — there’s many months to go before even 2016 comes into focus.

Sabato lists one of Walker’s potential key disadvantages as being too bland a la Tim Pawlenty. Really? The guy who broke the unions in Wisconsin and then humiliated big labor by winning his recall fight? He won’t have a blandness problem. His problem, I think, is fundraising. He’s a big name on the right but righties have other places to go with their donations, namely, Cruz and Paul. Meanwhile, he’ll probably lag behind Christie for establishment money. That’s one of the reasons I think Rubio has a leg up as the “compromise candidate” — he’s a bigger name, Beltway Republicans will be grateful to him for the amnesty push, and he has a key selling point as the country’s potential first Latino nominee to counter Hillary’s own historic nomination. Whether he is in fact more “electable” than Walker isn’t clear but I think he’ll be perceived that way by GOP voters. People have short memories; the immigration business will fade by 2015 provided that the core elements of the Gang of Eight bill don’t end up being passed by the House. If that happens and border enforcement under the new law starts to sputter and wheeze before the primaries, hoo boy.

But maybe I’m overestimating the importance of fundraising to Walker’s chances. The compromise candidate doesn’t need to win early; all he needs to do is be competitive and hang around until South Carolina, when voters will start to think strategically about whether they want the Iowa or New Hampshire winner as nominee. If Paul wins IA and Christie wins NH, there may be so much grousing from the two sides of the party about the other that they start to migrate towards the guy in the middle as the “Stop Paul/Christie” option. That’s what might have happened to Pawlenty if he hadn’t flamed out early. Can Walker keep himself viable for a month or two by finishing in the top three in Iowa, next door to Wisconsin, with Paul, Cruz, Santorum, and Rubio all in the field? Hmmmm.


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11. I’m from New Jersey so that makes Christie a better choice than Hillary.

timberline on August 15, 2013 at 12:14 PM

Christie also attacks people who are trying to ensure that sharia doesn’t become part of U.S. law.

You see Christie as normal. Those of us in “flyover country” see Christie as just another obnoxious, loud mouth jerk from New Jersey. New Jersey Republicans would be viewed as liberal Democrats in “flyover country.”

bw222 on August 15, 2013 at 1:22 PM

timberline on August 15, 2013 at 12:33 PM

Janice Rogers-Brown is a black, conservative (and obviously female) judge.

bw222 on August 15, 2013 at 1:28 PM

For those curious, the nine Presidents who didn’t attend or graduate college: George Washington, Andrew Jackson, Martin Van Buren, Zachary Taylor, Millard Fillmore, Abraham Lincoln, Andrew Johnson, Grover Cleveland, and Harry Truman. Note that Walker did attend college, but never graduated.

cdw070 on August 15, 2013 at 12:12 PM

Some pretty good names on that list. Also, some downright awful names.

besser tot als rot on August 15, 2013 at 1:33 PM

Cruz then Rand Paul…in that order.

lets nominate a conservative with some balls this time.

LevinFan on August 15, 2013 at 1:03 PM

Are you thinking … Cruz for 8 years and then Rand Paul for 8 years? Sounds good to me. That should get us back on the right track.

besser tot als rot on August 15, 2013 at 1:36 PM

There’s evidence that he has recently slipped in Iowa and New Hampshire, and that his national star has faded at least slightly amongst Republicans.

Conservatives in Iowa has told Rubio not to bother showing up. This line qualifies for the understatement of the day nomination.

cajunpatriot on August 15, 2013 at 1:40 PM

I seriously doubt Walker will ever be the nominee or president just because of the college thing. He’s got a great record, but the simple fact that he doesn’t have a college degree will be used to tar him as a moron in both the primaries and general election.

LukeinNE on August 15, 2013 at 1:51 PM

Funny though Harry Truman didnt have a college degree but helped win us WWII, but we cant mentioned that cause he was also a Progressive.

ninjacoastie on August 15, 2013 at 2:06 PM

I would bet on Christie because he isn’t marching to the GOP drum.

timberline on August 15, 2013 at 12:20 PM

No, he marches to Obama’s drum. Run Hillary and Christie and it’s over…dems will vote for Hillary and conservatives will stay home.

NJ Red on August 15, 2013 at 2:09 PM

would bet on Christie because he isn’t marching to the GOP drum.

timberline on August 15, 2013 at 12:20 PM

Also, not a lick of difference between Hillary and Christie at this point.

NJ Red on August 15, 2013 at 2:12 PM

Did they consult with Chris Matthews?

Hill60 on August 15, 2013 at 2:17 PM

He might not be a total package but me living in the state of WI he has done nothing but wonders for this state.

He also won twice vs some really nasty attacks from the left and even went on as far as taking on the public union sector which in the end, was well worth it.

I am being selfish when I say I like to keep him for WI at least a few more cycles.

What I am afraid is that he will “evolve” like many that get higher up on the food chain. Will he do such a thing? Dont know, but history shows it has happen.

watertown on August 15, 2013 at 2:21 PM

You don’t mention the essential liberty question in your analysis.
Young people today aren’t convinced that the NSA, TSA, FBI or anyone of those “security” driven agencies are worth the vast amount of tax dollars being spent on duplicity. Scott Walker/Tim Pawlenty hits the nail pretty much right on the head. He’s not done in Wisconsin, and I’m pretty sure we don’t wish to lose him to a national office. Christie is a loud mouthed grudge holder who will ultimately end up costing the GOP their big tent. Cruz is too new to everyone but has great messaging capabilities. Rand Paul is the man to keep your eye on. He is perfecting the talk show scene and has given principled speeches in some very hostile environments. My guess is Rand Paul/Ted Cruz ticket. We better wake up before the battle this time around….

psychocyber on August 15, 2013 at 2:31 PM

Walker FTW!

Buy Danish on August 15, 2013 at 2:37 PM

Funny though Harry Truman didnt have a college degree but helped win us WWII, but we cant mentioned that cause he was also a Progressive.

ninjacoastie on August 15, 2013 at 2:06 PM

He was also the sitting VP because FDR soured on his previous VP so dumped him and put Truman in there.

Would Truman have ever been President if he hadn’t been FDR’s NotMyLastVPWhoIDon’tLikeAnymore?

hrh40 on August 15, 2013 at 2:45 PM

Stop trying to shove the rino Chris Christie at us!

Amjean on August 15, 2013 at 2:52 PM

Rubio looked us in the eyes and LIED repeatedly about the Gang bill.

He has many years and at least one term as Governor before he can be rehabilitated, much less regarded as qualified.

Again, if your biggest management challenge has been running your congressional office staff, YOU ARE NOT QUALIFIED TO BE PRESIDENT.

Walker is the ideal candidate because he has had results and beat the unions and the Democrats decisively in one of the most dependably blue states of the modern era.

Christie – no Obama-hugging Michelin tire boys for me, thanks just the same.

Santorum – not qualified, million$$ lobbyist, was only second last time because he was the last “Not Romney” in the race, not because any sane person wanted him to actually be President.

Rubio, Cruz, Paul – I believe that children are our future. Now, let them actually RUN something and gain some management experience, and maybe they can be President when they grow up.

Jeb Bush – Woulda should coulda run in the 2000 cycle, was the brother we expected then. The moving hand writes, though, and having writ, moves on.

Gingrich – Only ran to sell books & keep his name out there for lectures and consulting gigs. No more free commercials, please.

Adjoran on August 15, 2013 at 2:53 PM

I really like Walker. I really like Cruz. If the two could come together on some kind of achievable plan to deal with illegal immigration, I think they would make a dynamic ticket for 2016.

Immigration is a huge sticky wicket for many reasons. I don’t like amnesty, but people, let’s be real. Politicians on both sides are truly in favor of amnesty for one very simple reason: we don’t have the demographic tax base to keep supporting SS and Medicare. We aren’t having enough kids. The baby boomers are retiring. That’s the elephant in the room no politician dares to talk about. We are going to lose the amnesty battle. Sadly.

idalily on August 15, 2013 at 3:01 PM

There are two names, if on the GOP ticket, will make me stay home: Christie and Jeb.

stenwin77 on August 15, 2013 at 12:34 PM

For me personally, I would add Rubio to that list.

Burke on August 15, 2013 at 3:08 PM

Good God Almighty I read the Iowa idiot Bob vanderPlaats is already singing Ted Cruz’s praises.

Tell you what, Bob, be sure to FORCE him immediately to sign:
1) that 2 male fruits should never be allowed to get married
2) the negroes were a happier family when they had a Mammy and a
Pappy and were slaves.

It really helped Bachmann and Santorum to have signed that (although Michele said she never read it)
Personally, I hope Senator Cruz tells you where to stick it.

Marcus on August 15, 2013 at 3:24 PM

You don’t mention the essential liberty question in your analysis.
Young people today aren’t convinced that the NSA, TSA, FBI or anyone of those “security” driven agencies are worth the vast amount of tax dollars being spent on duplicity. Scott Walker/Tim Pawlenty hits the nail pretty much right on the head. He’s not done in Wisconsin, and I’m pretty sure we don’t wish to lose him to a national office. Christie is a loud mouthed grudge holder who will ultimately end up costing the GOP their big tent. Cruz is too new to everyone but has great messaging capabilities. Rand Paul is the man to keep your eye on. He is perfecting the talk show scene and has given principled speeches in some very hostile environments. My guess is Rand Paul/Ted Cruz ticket. We better wake up before the battle this time around….

psychocyber on August 15, 2013 at 2:31 PM

I agree 100% on Rand Paul/Ted Cruz for 2016 Pres/VP combo. Rand Paul was elected in 2010 and has run a small business. Ted Cruz was elected in 2012 and needs a few more years of seasoning. Then after
eight years, Ted Cruz can take over as pres with another conservative
as VP. No more rinos!

Amjean on August 15, 2013 at 3:27 PM

I like Walker and will give him a serious look if he runs. Same for Cruz, Perry or Jindal.

I’m not willing to consider Santorum, Huckabee, Rubio, Christie or Bush and am unlikely to consider Rand Paul, unless he gets a lot more realistic about foreign policy.

cool breeze on August 15, 2013 at 3:28 PM

I like Walker. I know he is willing to walk the walk, but can he argue well? Cruz and Rand Paul can (and will be able to shove Hillary’s words back at her). How is Walker in debates, etc?

Throat Wobbler Mangrove on August 15, 2013 at 3:39 PM

I seriously doubt Walker will ever be the nominee or president just because of the college thing. He’s got a great record, but the simple fact that he doesn’t have a college degree will be used to tar him as a moron in both the primaries and general election.

LukeinNE on August 15, 2013 at 1:51 PM

He knows this.

You’ll know he is jumping into the race when a press release is sent out stating that Walker received his diploma from Marquette.

He’s only a few credits short I believe.

WisRich on August 15, 2013 at 3:48 PM

Rand Paul is the man to keep your eye on. He is perfecting the talk show scene and has given principled speeches in some very hostile environments. My guess is Rand Paul/Ted Cruz ticket. We better wake up before the battle this time around….

psychocyber on August 15, 2013 at 2:31 PM

My daughter/son-in-law are staunch Ron Paul libertarians. They hate Rand, as well as the other Ron Paul libers. They will screw the election if Rand is the candidate. They are all underground. I know, I know…..but that is what she tells me.

skeeterbite on August 15, 2013 at 4:15 PM

If I remember correctly, Walker doesn’t have a college degree — never finished his bachelors.

To me, this is an intriguing plus for a Republican — to be able to talk to blue collar voters.

Others tell me it’s a huge negative — that he never bothered to finish at night etc etc.

But I still like the optics of Hillary with her Ivy League limosuine liberal credentials vs blue collar Scott.

matthew8787 on August 15, 2013 at 4:40 PM

The GOP should always nominate a governor (or VP). Every time they attempt to elect a president directly from the Senate (Goldwater, Dole, McVain), they lose.

The last GOP president elected from the Senate was Warren Harding in 1920 – nearly 100 years ago.

matthew8787 on August 15, 2013 at 4:47 PM

I like Walker. I know he is willing to walk the walk, but can he argue well? Cruz and Rand Paul can (and will be able to shove Hillary’s words back at her). How is Walker in debates, etc?

Throat Wobbler Mangrove on August 15, 2013 at 3:39 PM

He won the Governor’s race twice, and quite handily. There were debates before the first election.

chewmeister on August 15, 2013 at 5:01 PM

A lot of people are commenting about Walker’s lack of a college degree. Well, just take a look at the list of fine Ivy League graduates that have been president over the last several decades. What has that done for us?

digitalhap on August 15, 2013 at 5:26 PM

Walker has a pretty good resume built up so far..He just may look at taking a shot at running in 2016..:)

Dire Straits on August 15, 2013 at 5:46 PM

Chewmeister, I know he won twice. How did he do in the debates before the first election? Has he been a good speaker outside of debates? Our side has been hampered by folks who can’t argue well. I’d like to know how Walker does on this front.

Throat Wobbler Mangrove on August 15, 2013 at 6:10 PM

Scott Walker is a huge Jeb Bush fan and wants illegal alien amnesty.

NO WALKER!

bluegill on August 15, 2013 at 6:23 PM

Walker= boring amnesty supporter

bluegill on August 15, 2013 at 6:33 PM

Scott Walker is owned by the GOP establishment folks.

He might be a nice guy but he’s owned – elect him and you get more of the same – expanding government – just a little bit slower than Ogabe.

HondaV65 on August 15, 2013 at 6:44 PM

Scott Walker is owned by the GOP establishment folks.

He might be a nice guy but he’s owned – elect him and you get more of the same – expanding government – just a little bit slower than Ogabe.

HondaV65 on August 15, 2013 at 6:44 PM

You on the other hand are owned by Obama. Say a prayer for him at your Obama shrine tonight.

slickwillie2001 on August 15, 2013 at 6:56 PM

Line in the sand.Walker supports amnesty.I will stay home and help bring down the treasonous GOP!

redware on August 15, 2013 at 8:16 PM

Chewmeister, I know he won twice. How did he do in the debates before the first election? Has he been a good speaker outside of debates? Our side has been hampered by folks who can’t argue well. I’d like to know how Walker does on this front.

Throat Wobbler Mangrove on August 15, 2013 at 6:10 PM

There’s your answer. Seems he was good at getting his ideas across even in a blue state.

chewmeister on August 15, 2013 at 8:26 PM

There’ll be a centrist champion, a right-wing champion, and then a compromise candidate who can draw from both camps. Sabato thinks that’s Christie, Rand Paul, and Walker, respectively. I think it’s likelier to be Christie, Cruz, and Rubio

Seriously? Allah sees the absolute pounding that Rubio takes here every time his name is mentioned, and he still thinks Rubio can draw from the “right wing” camp? I find that surprising and see nothing that supports it anywhere conservatives are commenting.

Sabato’s identification of Rand Paul with the “right wing” is bizarre, too. He’s a libertarian…maybe their support is so foreign to Sabato that he doesn’t recognize it.

Jaibones on August 15, 2013 at 11:32 PM

I like Walker and will give him a serious look if he runs. Same for Cruz, Perry or Jindal.

I’m not willing to consider Santorum, Huckabee, Rubio, Christie or Bush and am unlikely to consider Rand Paul, unless he gets a lot more realistic about foreign policy.

cool breeze on August 15, 2013 at 3:28 PM

Wow…weirdly similar to the way I see it. Agreed.

Jaibones on August 15, 2013 at 11:35 PM

Walker did the right thing for his state with regard to union corruption. But I’m not hearing anything new or different in his ideas. His statements on immigration, as has been pointed out here, are suspect.

Sorry, not the whole package.

virgo on August 16, 2013 at 12:08 AM

Walker is a very serious guy. But I’d be surprised if he ran, he seems to actually care about Wisconsin.

TallDave on August 16, 2013 at 10:41 AM

BTW I think Jindal is the best pick.

People in the GOP don’t realize just how irredeemably racist the Democrats are. There are white racists in the GOP, it’s true, but there are probably actually more on the Dem side because the poor uneducated whites who go Dem tend to be much more racist — and of course nearly all the minority racists vote Dem.

But identity politics carries the seeds of its own destruction — every ethnic group can only promote its interests at the expense of the others, and so they only band together against a common enemy (whites, who as the majority are not allowed to explicitly promote their own racial interests). A Jindal nomination may well tear apart the Democrat coalition, not so much because he’s Indian per se, but simply because he isn’t white.

The media will try to ignore the racism but I think they won’t be able to keep a lid on it.

TallDave on August 16, 2013 at 10:49 AM

Cruz, Perry, Paul & Rubio will never be elected as President.
Walker & Christie are electable and would make excellent Presidents.
Please GOP, pick a winner instead of a loser who you happen to like.
There’s going to be a hell of a mess to clean up in 2017.

bpard on August 16, 2013 at 4:10 PM

Scott Walker is owned by the GOP establishment folks.

He might be a nice guy but he’s owned – elect him and you get more of the same – expanding government – just a little bit slower than Ogabe.

HondaV65 on August 15, 2013 at 6:44 PM

rrrright, and you are quite the expert in all things GOP (when you don’t vote zdem/for Obama that is :)….talking of which, where does that leave you, knowing that Obama can’t get a third term :)…are you prepared to vote for Hillary? :) do tell…

jimver on August 17, 2013 at 10:55 PM

Walker and Allen West are the only two politicians I have contributed to since it became necessary to use after-tax dollars to do so.

http://washingtonexaminer.com/full-text-gov.-scott-walkers-remarks-to-cpac/article/1120011

Whatever he’s doing, he’s doing it right. Did Bill Gates, Steve Jobs, or Zuckerberg graduate from college? Oh yeah, I just remembered. No, they didn’t. I think they were pretty successful.

NoPain on August 18, 2013 at 12:05 PM

One lame State of the Union response and everyone writes off Jindal. He has the track record, sterling academic credentials, and is a SoCon to boot. Too say nothing of the fact that the Dems can’t use the ‘old rich white guy’ attack on him.

I also wouldn’t sleep on Rand. He has a message that could tap into something deep in ’16. I think his lack of experience will get him in the end though.

Lou Budvis on August 20, 2013 at 2:23 PM

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