Nationally syndicated conservative columnist Michelle Malkin, founder of the website Twitchy, tells Breitbart News that Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker—a potential 2016 GOP presidential candidate—needs to be vetted. She also says Walker’s “problems” run much deeper than the decision to hire—then quickly let go of—pro-amnesty communications aide Liz Mair, who had taken shots at Iowa.
“Scott Walker has much bigger problems than the ill-considered hiring and firing of one D.C. operative,” Malkin said in an email.
What does he really stand for and is he fully equipped to bear the slings and arrows of his enemies on a national and global scale? Yes, he fought Big Labor and has managed his state well. But grass-roots activists in his state have long been warning me of his ideological gymnastics on core issues: immigration and education.
He has been on the same side as the progressive Left and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Right: pro-amnesty, pro-massive legal immigration expansionist, and pro-Common Core. He’s been left, right, center, and all over the map.
She added that Washington-based GOP establishment forces are good at backing up establishment politicians, as they seemed to have tried to do to defend Walker and Mair.
“The D.C. consultant class and Capitol Hill GOP operators are adept at swooping in to ‘rescue’ the campaigns of neophytes and molding them into Beltway barnacle tools,” Malkin said. “They did it with Spencer Abraham and Marco Rubio and Paul Ryan. Face it: Many of the D.C. messaging ‘experts’ and ‘communicators’ DO have their own policy agenda and it is naive or stupid to believe they have no sway or influence on ambitious, outside the Beltway seekers of higher public office with no fixed principles.”
Malkin also stood up for the few reporters willing to pressure Walker to answer legitimate questions about Mair, and about his positions on issues like immigration and education.
“I believe conservative journalists should not be mocked for asking GOP candidates or their staffers unorthodox, ‘rude,’ and uncomfortable questions,” Malkin said. “That’s called vetting.”
The Walker campaign has essentially admitted that conservatives and Iowa-based leaders who criticized his hiring of Mair were right, since he allowed her to resign. Meanwhile, he’s refusing to answer basic questions about the governor’s position on immigration.
Walker said on Fox News Sunday after CPAC that he has “changed” on immigration. But he hasn’t laid out a policy viewpoint on the matter. His spokeswomen Kirsten Kukowski and AshLee Strong haven’t answered whether the governor thinks the government should kowtow to Silicon Valley and Wall Street by increasing H1B visas—or any other legal immigration increase—while record-high numbers of Americans are out of work. They also have refused to answer time and again whether the Wisconsin governor thinks Republicans should trust the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg’s lobbying outfit FWD.us, Sheldon Adelson, Bill Gates, or other open borders advocates when it comes to immigration policy.
In addition to that, Kukowski and Strong have also refused to answer whether they personally support—or whether the governor supports—the tactics that the now-fired Mair engaged in to attempt to defend herself while coming under criticism. Mair leaked a press inquiry this reporter sent her to Bloomberg Politics’ Dave Weigel, a practice that is highly frowned upon in the business of political communications and journalism.
In fact, when now former Democratic National Committee (DNC) communications director Brad Woodhouse leaked this reporter’s press requests regarding the Operation Fast and Furious scandal—to Weigel’s fellow JournoListers in the liberal media, the Huffington Post’s Sam Stein and BuzzFeed’s Ben Smith—back in 2012, Daily Caller editor-in-chief Tucker Carlson in an interview with Breitbart News stood up against that tactic.
“No politician wants to give answers they don’t want to provide,” Carlson said in part.
And it’s extraordinarily curious that Walker and his team won’t answer questions about his immigration position. Look at all of Walker’s new friends at Media Matters For America, other openly progressive media outlets, and mainstream media bastions.
They joined together with several in GOP consultant class, and some in the right of center media—including Mair—to attack the questions about her. Now, Mair claims this was a hit by the Democrats—even though the hardline left were some of the most prominent folks defending her.
“Say what you will about Matt Boyle, he sure writes a lot of words,” Media Matters For America Deputy Research Director Matt Gertz Tweeted with a link to the second Breitbart News story about Walker’s questionable decision to hire Mair. Gertz’s colleague at Media Matters, Eric Boehlert, also cited the Mair situation on Twitter.
“This is the dumbest thing I’ve ever read. People get paid to write crap like this?” former Mitt Romney and Rick Perry staffer Justin Williamson Tweeted.
“When will @LizMair confess to her insidious plan to replace the National Anthem with ‘Scots Wa Hae’? Wake up, SHEEPLE!” GOP establishment consultant Rick Wilson Tweeted.
“During Walker Presidency, @LizMair ‘War of 1812 Do-Over’ plan leaves America at risk,” Wilson added.
“The fact that @LizMair has some different social views than Scott Walker and Walker still hired her speaks well of Walker,” Huffington Post politics editor Sam Stein Tweeted.
Weigel, of Bloomberg Politics did a whole story about Mair—noting that Mair herself and Walker’s top political adviser Rick Wiley—were attempting to avoid talking about the story.
The Capital Times, an openly progressive media outlet in Madison, Wisconsin, that hates Walker for fighting against the unions, wrote a several-hundred-word screed defending Mair. The progressive writer’s article praises Mair over and over again for being someone who “tells it like it f—-ing is” in her opinion.
It remains to be seen whether Walker will help himself by answering real questions about immigration and other matters, or if he’ll continue to align with Washington-based GOP consultants who have polluted many previous campaigns.
But if Walker doesn’t answer the questions, and doesn’t come clean on his apparently newfound positions on major issues now that he’s thinking about running for president, it won’t be this reporter’s critical writings he has to fear—despite all the attacks his campaign operatives and Mair have orchestrated out there to defend him. He’ll have to worry about Iowans and South Carolinians and New Hampshirites and so on.
In a phone interview, the Rev. Cary Gordon, an Iowa pastor, says:
It’s very significant and it actually underscores the importance of Iowa because the way that these knuckleheads [candidates] make a decision who is going to be a part of their campaign to become arguably one of the most powerful people in the world are the kinds of low quality and high quality decision that they make about who they hire and it’s very indicative of the kind of skills or lack thereof they will use in assembling a cabinet as president of the United States.
Anyone that minimizes the importance of making these kinds of decisions and who they align themselves with, and who they’re going to sit down and take council from—and in this case, she was going to be a ‘spokesperson’ for the campaign—is really something everyone should be paying attention to. If I were to sum it up in one word, I would say this was “amateurish.” He’s giving off a Tim Pawlenty vibe right now.
Former Iowa State Rep. Kim Pearson, an influential Iowa conservative, said that “on the one hand I look at that [Mair’s Tweets against Iowa] and think she’s just being honest in the sense of there’s several reporters who feel the same way and political people who feel the same way.”
“I have no doubt that Romney’s campaign felt the same way,” Pearson said. “Coming here two times and each time he’s getting less votes. So certainly they have contempt for Iowa as well, but for me now it’s out in the open and we get to see how these people really feel. For Scott Walker, he’s got real problems and this is just one more.”
Pearson added that Walker is clearly “fighting for the same people” as former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, “the establishment vote” and his refusal to answer clear questions about his positions on immigration and the Mair fiasco “is really showing conservatives where his heart is.”
“It is policy to pick these people,” Pearson said.
Mark Doland, a former state Republican Party executive committee member and current Mahaska County Board of Supervisors member in Iowa, told Breitbart News that he thinks “it’s offensive to people like me” that Walker would hire someone like Mair and not answer questions about his immigration position.
“We try really hard to vet the candidates here in Iowa,” Doland said in a phone interview.
Doland said a friend of his even made an “Iowa Needs Scott Walker” tee-shirt after Walker’s Freedom Summit appearance, but now that Walker’s immigration position is unclear as a result of this Mair hire his friend told him he’s worried about the Wisconsin governor.
“This has really caused him to think twice about supporting Scott Walker,” Doland said of his friend who even made Walker for president tee-shirts.