Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, appearing on the Sean Hannity radio show, turned up his criticism of Republican Congressional leaders for their lack of progress on any issue front. “Americans, especially Republican voters, are frustrated and upset with Washington,” Walker said. “My wife and I are just as frustrated.”
In a new twist in his campaign pitch, Walker pointed out to Hannity that he had to take on his own Republican party establishment when he first took office. To pass his ambitious agenda, Walker had to overcome the complaints of long-time Republican legislators who were hesitant to push reforms.
The interview shows that Walker’s campaign is absorbing the latest polling data. Beneath the super-nova that is the Donald Trump campaign, candidates are moving in the polls based on their relative distance from Republican leadership in Washington.
The candidates doing best in the polls, beyond Trump, are Ben Carson, Carly Fiorina, Walker and Ted Cruz. Ohio Gov. John Kasich, a late entry into the race, is gaining strength, but his rise likely has more to do with his tenure as a successful Governor of a swing state than any nuance in his policy positions. Although he was been in politics for decades, Kasich has a very non-politician, authentic demeanor.
As Walker discussed American’s frustration with Washington, he barely mentioned President Obama. Instead, he criticized the changing goal-lines of Republicans in Congress, saying first they needed the House, then the Senate to affect real change.
“Okay, they have the Senate now,” Walker said, “and the Iran deal is about to go through.” He continued the critique of Republican leadership, “There is no excuse why Washington can’t defund Planned Parenthood or get rid of ObamaCare.”
Walker noted that he defunded Planned Parenthood in Wisconsin, a state that “hadn’t gone Republican for President since 1984.”
The interview with Hannity, and the list of Walker’s accomplishments in the purple state of Wisconsin was a reminder of what makes him a formidable candidate. He seems to understand that any problems in Washington are partly the fault of Republicans in Congress. Walker stressed several times that Republicans in Washington need to “fight.”
For Walker, the interview with Hannity ought to preview a different approach in the upcoming debate on September 16th. Walker has an impressive record, but underwhelmed in the first debate.
There is a very weird disconnect between Walker’s record and governing philosophy with the candidate who often appears on stage. He seems to shrink into the background and look more like a very adept candidate for state and local office rather than the federal and world stage.
If the Walker in the interview, with the groundbreaking record as Governor, can make an appearance in the next debate, he too will be able to tap into the anger that is dominating the early primary race.