Did Jeb Bush Cede First Place Status To Scott Walker?
|Scott Walker... baroque|
The latest PPP survey of Republican voters shows a tightly clustered field of candidates without any clear favorite, although with Jeb Bush continuing to fade, Wisconsin's reactionary governor, Scott Walker, is now the front-runner.
• Scott Walker- 18%Rubio, who many think will be Walker's running-mate, has momentum, as does Mike Huckabee. Bush and Cruz are losing momentum. Bush's disastrous week of flip-flops over Iraq will no doubt lose him even more support. Jon Stewart has helped turn, "knowing what we know now, would you have authorized the invasion?" into a disqualifying national joke:
• Marco Rubio- 13%
• Ben Cardin- 12%
• Mike Huckabee- 12%
• Jeb Bush- 11%
• Ted Cruz- 10%
• Rand Paul- 9%
• Chris Christie- 5%
• Rick Perry- 2%
And the other Republican candidates, particularly Rubio and Cruz, have been happy to jump in and kick sand in Bush's eyes. Welcome that party, Scott Walker! Walker:
Any president would have likely taken the same action Bush did with the information he had, even Hillary Clinton voted for it, but knowing what we know now, we should not have gone into Iraq. President Bush deserves enormous credit for ordering the surge, a courageous move that worked. Unfortunately, President Obama and Secretary Clinton hastily withdrew our troops, threw away the gains of the surge, and embarked on a broader policy of pivoting away from the Middle East and leading from behind that has created chaos in the region.The Washington Post's resident right-wing propagandist, Jennifer Rubin, claims that "now a question mark looms over Jeb Bush." Behind-the-curtain Republican Party kingmakers-- the Kochs, Adelson, Rove, et al-- are all watching very closely.
Is this guy someone with sufficient political skill, verbal dexterity and aggressiveness to take it to opponents, specifically Clinton? Right now the answer is no. But-- one cannot repeat it too many times-- it is so very early in the race and so few voters are paying attention that most errors are correctable. It will be interesting to see whether the candidate who wanted to run a wholly positive campaign is now forced to show he can throw some punches. That, too, is what the GOP contenders are “all supposed” to be able to do.And that is exactly what the Koch brothers want to see happen.
...In the same week Bush was struggling, Walker logged travel time in Israel. Steadily over the past few months, he has been acquiring a reservoir of foreign policy expertise. The Israel trip is one more step in the process, providing needed detail and experiences he can then share with media and voters. ("As I was saying to Prime Minister Netanyahu...") Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) will have more granular detail on many foreign policy issues as he demonstrated in a sterling performance at the Council on Foreign Relations this week, but Walker is demonstrating enough understanding of the issues to pass the commander-in-chief test. More important, he will have the leadership card to play. Few will doubt he has steel in the spine and pugnaciousness. Both are needed to win the presidency and then to govern.
Walker also announces today the appointment of Andrew Bremberg, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell’s adviser on appointment, as policy director for the Our American Revival group. Politico reports, “Bremberg has been with McConnell since March of 2014 and acts as conduit between conservative groups and the Senate Republicans as they fill slots on bipartisan boards and commissions such as the National Labor Relations Board and Securities and Exchange Commission. He also was on Mitt Romney’s transition team in 2012, laying the groundwork for the repeal of Obamacare had the GOP nominee he won.” In conservative circles, he is widely respected for expertise on health care, having worked as a health-care expert at the MITRE Corporation, served in the George W. Bush administration in a variety of health-care posts and worked on strategy and specific policy proposals to repeal Obamacare for Romney’s transition team.
If Walker can combine his political skills and moxie with policy chops and a domestic and foreign policy agenda, he will be a formidable contender. With Bush’s troubles this week, Walker once again has the opportunity to present himself as a someone who can both win and govern.