A smart pitch from Team Walker to whet righties’ appetites before Monday’s formal campaign launch. They had two minutes to capture his core appeal and they did it superbly: Walker’s the guy who won’t bend on conservative reforms even when the left’s screaming at him, even when they’re packing the state capitol to try to intimidate him, even when cretins are leaving him messages threatening his life. Ending the clip with Ed Schultz and Rachel Maddow crying in their beer was an especially nice touch. Message: He will crush the people who hate you. If there’s anything to criticize, it’s that they could have made the video simpler. No voiceover, no clips of Paul Ryan talking him up, just a point-counterpoint between liberals going berserk and Walker coolly defending his collective bargaining law punctuated by the recall victory. If they’re going to serve red meat, make it as red as possible.
The flip side of this is that, while Walker might not bend left to impress liberals, he will bend right, at least in a national Republican primary, to impress conservatives. Whether he’ll stay that way if he’s the nominee and has to face a national electorate is one of the great questions of the primaries. Remember that story last week about Heritage scholar Stephen Moore claiming that Walker had told him during a phone call that he wasn’t “going nativist” on immigration, no matter how his recent Jeff-Sessions-ish pronouncements might sound? Here’s the latest from the NYT on that. Moore now says the phone call was essentially fake but accurate:
On Sunday, after three days of pressure from Mr. Walker’s aides, Mr. Moore said that he had “misspoken” when recounting his call with Mr. Walker — and that the call had never actually taken place…
In the interview [last] Wednesday in which he had recounted Mr. Walker’s assurances that he was “not going nativist,” Mr. Moore said their conversation had occurred in “the last three or four weeks.” Asked if it had been in person or on the phone, Mr. Moore said: “I chatted with him on the phone.”…
But it was not until Sunday afternoon that Mr. Moore emailed this reporter to say he had “miscommunicated something to you in our interview.”
“The conversation that Scott Walker had on immigration wasn’t with me but one of the principals of our Committee to Unleash Prosperity,” Mr. Moore wrote. “In that conversation it became clear that as I said ‘he is not going in a nativist position on immigration.’”
Walker didn’t tell him he wasn’t going nativist but he did tell a colleague of Moore’s that — probably Lawrence Kudlow during a recent meeting between the two, according to Breitbart. Except that Kudlow swears that he didn’t tell Moore anything about what Walker had said to him, let alone that Walker had vowed he wasn’t “going nativist.” And Moore himself assured Breitbart that whatever Walker told Kudlow — which he supposedly wasn’t privy to — it certainly wasn’t a case of Walker saying one thing to border-hawk conservatives and something entirely different to pro-amnesty establishmentarians. Which raises the question: What sort of pressure is Team Walker putting on Moore and Kudlow behind the scenes to have them jointly backpedaling this way? I can’t remember the last time a respected scholar all but admitted to fabricating a quote involving a prominent pol for a story in a major paper. Is that the first time Moore’s stretched the truth about conversations he’s had? Or did he in fact tell the truth to the Times the first time about having had a conversation with Walker and is recanting now only because Team Scott was so unhappy about it?