Remember when Scott Walker ran for president that one time? It would be easy to forget; he dropped out way back in September, which is approximately a thousandteenleven centuries ago in Election Years.
It wasn’t supposed to be like this. Young, not-hideously-unattractive-by-Republican-standards Gov. Walker was the Wisconsin wunderkind who knew how to beat The Democrat Machine because he’d already done it three times, in a state more purple than red. He had the attaboy from the Koch brothers, which is the equivalent of up to one billion-ish dollars in campaign spending for the right Mr. Right. Given Walker’s dedication to union busting, undoing election laws, and generally screwing poor people who can’t afford to eat — plus, gleefully checking all the far-right boxes on the list of social issues — he seemed like a Serious Candidate.
And yet. Walker was outlasted by lying liar Carly Fiorina, Dozin’ Doc Carson, the bad home perm that is Rand Paul, and even Jim Gilmore, who nobody remembers at this stage even more than they don’t remember Scott Walker. Sure, Walker had embarrassed himself on the national stage, by refusing to answer simple questions — or worse, by trying to answer simple questions. So did every other Republican presidential candidate, though, and you didn’t see them cut-and-running before primary voters even had a chance to laugh them right out of the race.
But maybe — and apologies for this horrible notion, which will now be stuck in your head — Scott Walker was the smart one.
Unlike his fellow also-rans who were, once upon a time, considered Serious Candidates, Walker survived the Republican primary unscathed. Look, there’s not a scratch on him! He gracefully exited stage left before Trump could be bothered to notice him. He opted out before the majority of the Republican debates, neatly avoiding the likelihood that he’d say something deeply stupid or, worse, childishly whine to the moderators about being ignored, or, worse still, end up with a nasty nickname, a hashtag, and maybe some ugly rumors about his wife, courtesy of the Donald.
Walker also seems to have learned a valuable lesson from the tragic tale of Chris Christie, who hung on to the race like it was a traffic cone at the end of the George Washington Bridge but eventually had to admit he could not out-jerk the jerkiest jerk of them all, so, to his own great shame and the disgust of his state of New Jersey, he opted instead to be Trump’s Obedient Submissive Hostage Who Stands Behind Master And Occasionally Nods In Agreement. No amount of money — or vague promises of cabinet positions in the next administration — could make that job worth it.
Instead, Walker endorsed Cruz, with all the enthusiasm we’ve come to expect from people who endorse Cruz. Those people hate him, they hate every molecule of his being, they would literally watch him being murdered and laugh about it, but they fear Trump more, so Cruz it is. But even with Cruz’s Tuesday night victory in Wisconsin — thanks, Scott Walker, sort of — is Cruz really going to go all the way, beat Trump, and win the requisite delegates to seal the nomination? Hmm. If that doesn’t happen, and Republicans cannot agree whether to nominate Cruz or Trump, and the party does have a contested convention in Cleveland, what do you think should happen next, Gov. Walker?
“I think if it’s an open convention, it’s very likely it would be someone who’s not currently running,” Walker told reporters Thursday. “I mean, who knows. The one thing I qualify — it’s like the qualifications you see on those ads you see for car dealerships. I think any of us who comment on this election have to qualify that almost every prediction’s been off, so it’s hard to predict anything.”
Who knows indeed! (Especially that stuff he said about the ads for dealerships. What the hell does that mean?) But if there’s an “open convention” — that’s the new favored term among those, like John Kasich, who hope the party gives itself a do-over in Cleveland — it can only mean the voters have clearly stated their preference for “Ugh, none of the above!”
In that case, the GOP is going to need a not-Trump-and-really-dear-God-not-Cruz savior to swoop in at the intramural blood sport convention. What about Mitt Romney? No, of course not Mitt Romney, don’t be ridiculous. He is, as ever, a terrible candidate nobody likes, who cannot win. How about his former sidekick Speaker Paul Ryan? Aside from the million and one times he has said “No, nope, no way, nuh uh, NEVER,” he’s also busy trying to run Congress while the House Freedom Caucus, the nihilist wing of the Republican Party, tries to stop him.
But a governor, sure, Republicans love governors. (Except for Mitt Romney.) Preferably of a blue-or-at-least-purple state. With a proven track record of beating Democrats. And the ability to raise a ton of cash double-quick. A real conservative’s conservative, but not the insufferable crazy kind, like Cruz. Someone who could be a Serious Candidate.
Oh. God. NO.
Is Scott Walker that good? Is he an evil genius who somehow foresaw the clusterpocalypse in the Republican primary and figured he could sit it out, let the others tear each other down, and then rise to the position he’s been dreaming of and planning for all these years, without even having to compete for it? Is the Blue Team in trouble if Republicans come to their senses at the up-for-grabs convention and decide Walker is the one true conservative with the best (and let’s face it, only) chance of beating Hillary Clinton? He seems to think so.
For once, I agree with Bernie Sanders: Hillary Clinton is not qualified to be President. pic.twitter.com/gztIjpSjz6
— Scott Walker (@ScottWalker) April 7, 2016
OH. GOD. NO!
No. Wait. That’s absurd. Scott Walker is not an evil genius. Even in Wisconsin, where he already governs, the majority of voters despise him. He couldn’t hack it in a national race where one of the “serious” candidates was outsmarted by a zipper, and one of the popular candidates believed the ancient pyramids of Egypt were actually grain silos, because the Bible says.
Scott Walker may be evil, but he’s no genius.
While he’s free of scars from the primary, and perhaps secretly hoping he’s handed the nomination without having to pull himself up by his own bootstraps to earn it, he’s probably not the party’s savior either because there probably isn’t one. Whoever the nominee is — Trump, Cruz, Kasich, Romney, Walker, or the everlasting corpse of St. Ronald Reagan himself — he’s going to have the thankless task of trying to pull a party at war with itself back together enough to hobble across the finish line in November. And if the GOP candidate fails to win the White House, it’s going to be all-out thermonuclear war in the Republican Party. And the guy at the top of the ticket? He’s the lucky bastard they’re going to blame.