Muddying his positions has been Walker’s modus operandi since the beginning of the 2016 campaign. He’s made a mess of his stance on immigration. He told Fox News he opposes amnesty, then went to New Hampshire and said he supports granting citizenship to 11 million undocumented immigrants. He reconciled these positions by saying he wanted to secure the border first, then naturalize those 11 million. And back in 2006 he was for a comprehensive immigration reform bill that had a path to citizenship. So really, who knows?
He’s created a similar mess on education. Gearing up to be the conservatives’ conservative, Walker is now opposed to Common Core standards, which are often labeled “ObamaCore” by the policy’s most active conservative opponents. But as governor, Walker mostly let Core standards come into place, and offered only the most token opposition to them. His approach to this issue is much worse than that of Jeb Bush, who frames his unapologetic and occasionally unpopular support for Common Core in conservative terms of accountability. In the past week, a diverse ideological coalition demanded that Walker stop giving “excuses and half truths” about this issue.
Scott Walker has earned an incredible amount of antipathy from certain conservative journalists, including those whose sympathy he needs in a multi-polar race. The polls show very little movement, and don’t tell us much anyway in a race with this many candidates. But for those watching the race closely, and those who have a role in shaping perceptions of Walker, it’s been a bad first half of 2015 for the governor of Wisconsin. He has to start changing that right now, before he’s shoved to the back of the GOP’s clown car.