Charlie Sykes, one of the most influential conservative talk radio hosts in Wisconsin, estimates he’s interviewed Walker hundreds of times over the last 20 years. Sykes said there may be a very simple explanation for why Walker has had so much trouble talking about the issue: The governor doesn’t believe what he’s saying.
That’s right. Walker’s Breitbart-friendly, immigration-skeptical rhetoric on the issue is an innovation that seems to make the governor uncomfortable. Sykes said that though Walker’s official stances put him nearly as far right as Donald Trump on questions regarding birthright citizenship and the economic impact of legal immigration, his heart is elsewhere. Sykes said he thinks Walker has adopted this position to keep any other Republican candidates from getting to his right.
But that’s come with a cost: namely, it’s forced him to speak nativism, which isn’t his native language. And trying to become ideologically bilingual while bouncing betwixt campaign stops and squinting into national media spotlights has wrought unimpressive results.
“The immigration thing, I think has been a tricky issue for him because he wants to protect his right flank, although, intellectually, he’s always been very centrist on the issue,” Sykes said.