I think the reason why Tomasky—soon to be followed by less blatantly biased journalists—is bashing Walker as if he’s a joke candidate like Donald Trump, Al Sharpton or Herman Cain, is because if the Governor prevails in the primaries he has a real shot of winning. (Unlike Romney, whose ham-handed campaign, save for that Denver debate, was a debacle start to finish.”) Conservative activists are nervous that Walker’s going soft on immigration (and Sen. Ted Cruz, the Texan demagogue, will have a ball with that), but are still impressed by his three victories in four years (one a re-call) in the blue-leaning Wisconsin.
Yet Walker’s biggest attribute, which is barely acknowledged by the media in a campaign environment that’s income inequality non-stop, is that he’s a middle-class pol who hasn’t enriched himself by exorbitant speaking fees or board directorships. Think of multimillionaire Hillary Clinton (and the high-rolling Wall Street/Hollywood donors in her corner) trying to explain how she’s one of the “regular folks” who, borrowing from her husband, “feels their pain.” Walker isn’t charismatic (nor is Hillary), but that might not matter in this post-Obama cycle. Walker’s a union-buster, which is a popular stance in most of the country—and it’s not as if any Republican will attract union voters anyway. Walker, like all the GOP candidates, is anti-Obamacare, which also won’t hurt him.
I’ve no idea whether Walker will pull a Rick Perry and flame out early, but I suspect he’s far too wily for that and will be prepared for the debates. He is, in other words, a very legitimate candidate, and unlike Bush, will provide a start contrast to Clinton: a representative of the middle class vs. a plutocrat. For most Americans, that’s a compelling disparity.