Salon Pundit: Walker Messed Up By Aligning Himself With ‘Hardcore Neo-Confederates’ on Immigration

Four Aprils ago, polling showed Donald Trump in or near the lead in the race for the 2012 Republican presidential nomination. In a Wednesday column, Salon’s Heather Digby Parton suggested that Scott Walker could wind up as the Trump of this election cycle: the guy who peaked when he wasn’t even an official candidate.

Parton admitted that she’s never understood why so many Republicans think Walker’s great or why so many Democrats believe he’d be a tough opponent, given that he supposedly “makes epic gaffes over and over again.” In any event, she argued that now he’s hurt himself badly by going hard-right on immigration, thereby displeasing libertarian conservatives like Charles and David Koch who “tend toward a more moderate stance” on the issue and, of course, donate megatons of money to political causes.

From Parton’s piece (bolding added):

David Koch [reportedly] told a gathering at a Manhattan fundraiser that the nominee should be Scott Walker…

…Koch then made a statement walking back this apparent endorsement...

…So what exactly did Scott Walker say that appears to have made the Kochs do such an about face in record time? Well, it’s a doozy. Walker, you see, was once a “pro-immigration reform” Republican, which is likely one of the reasons the Koch brothers back him. Like most of the more libertarian-minded Big Business Republicans, they tend toward a more moderate stance on immigration…Walker, being a proven anti-union, pro-immigration governor was naturally at the top of their list of nominees. He had recently “moderated” his stance on illegal immigration but it was widely assumed to be a mild feint to the right for the purposes of winning the nomination...

But yesterday he went a step further. He appeared on Glenn Beck’s radio show and he said this:

“In terms of legal immigration, how we need to approach that going forward is saying — the next president and the next Congress need to make decisions about a legal immigration system that’s based on, first and foremost, on protecting American workers and American wages. Because the more I’ve talked to folks, I’ve talked to [Alabama Sen. Jeff] Sessions and others out there — but it is a fundamentally lost issue by many in elected positions today — is what is this doing for American workers looking for jobs, what is this doing to wages. And we need to have that be at the forefront of our discussion going forward.”

It’s hard not to fall down laughing (or lose your lunch) over the most notorious union buster in America waxing on about protecting American jobs, but he’s the last person to understand the irony of his comments. But by taking a position against legal immigration, he’s just placed himself to the right of Ted Cruz on this issue. He’s out in Ben Carson land. Not to mention that he’s obliterated the last tattered shreds of a conservative argument to appeal to Hispanic and other ethnic groups: the idea that illegal immigration is unfair to legal immigrants who’ve been “waiting in line” to come to this country. Walker wants to close down the line altogether. Only the most hardcore neo-confederates like Sessions want to go that far…

At the end of the Koch Summit last winter, the consensus seemed to be that Marco Rubio was the fresh face they were looking for. He’s young, good-looking and malleable to their agenda. And he’s Latino, obviously. Whether he’s any more ready for prime time than Walker remains to be seen. But after Walker’s faux-pas this week, it’s likely that he’s going to get a good close second look. And there’s always Jeb if things don’t work out with the new kids. What he lacks in charisma he makes up for in dullness.  At this point, that may be the best they can do.

Campaigns & Elections 2016 Presidential Campaign Financing Immigration Conservatives & Republicans Salon Heather Digby Parton Scott Walker Charles Koch David Koch


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