Scott Walker Says He’s Not Running On Social Issues, And He Really Isn’t

Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker speaks at Red Rock Harley-Davidson on July 14, 2015 in Las Vegas, Nevada. Walker launched his campaign on Monday, joining 14 other Republican candidates for the 2016 presidential race.
Ethan Miller/Getty Images

Though Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker will sign a bill Monday that will ban abortions in his state past the 20th week of pregnancy, he is still sending mixed messages – as he has with other issues – about how far he will support socially conservative policies if he were elected president.

The Journal Sentinel said it this way on Sunday: [Walker] announced last month that he supports a 20-week abortion ban, after avoiding the issue during his re-election campaign last year.”

In fact, just Friday, while campaigning in New Hampshire where he was asked questions about gay Boy Scout leaders, Walker said he is not planning to get bogged down on controversial social issues.

“Those aren’t what I’m running on,” Walker said, according to the Associated Press. “It’s just the unique thing that people are surprised about is, I actually answer questions.”

Walker was asked about comments he had made in which he expressed opposition to a resolution approved by the Boy Scouts of America that would end a ban on gay adult leaders because he believed the earlier policy “protected children.” When he received criticism from LGBT rights groups about his comment, however, Walker backed away from his original statement and said he wanted the Boy Scouts to be protected from “political and media controversy.”

“I fight and win on economic and fiscal issues,” he said. “I’m a social conservative as well. But my primary reputation comes from my work on economic and fiscal issues. As president, that’s where I’d focus.”

“Walker is trying to balance his desire to woo social conservatives in Iowa, while still stressing an economic-based message that plays better in New Hampshire,” explains the AP.

The strategy is consistent with a statement last week in the National Journal from an anonymous longtime Walker adviser who said that Walker’s campaign will first “lock up” conservatives and then move to a more moderate position later on in the campaign.

“You start in Iowa and lock up conservatives, because if you don’t do that, none of the rest matters,” the adviser reportedly said. “It’s much easier to move from being a conservative to being a middle-of-the-road moderate later on.”

“In Iowa, you see the beginnings of that,” he added. “He’s capturing that conservative wing first and foremost, and then moving from Iowa to the other states and bringing other voters into the fold.”

In March of last year, Gary Bauer anticipated Walker’s presidential candidacy by observing his “cagey approach to abortion.”

Writing at the Daily Caller, the former presidential candidate and president of American Values praised Walker for his economic reforms in Wisconsin, but said the governor was “unlikely to make it to the White House…because he has become so timid on values issues.”

“On abortion in particular it appears that Walker has been intimidated, or at least somewhat cowed, by those who insist that Republicans should keep quiet,” Bauer continued. “These days, Walker’s position seems to be, ‘sure, I’m pro-life, but I’d rather not talk about it.’”

Sounding very much like an establishment candidate, Walker told The Hill last November in a discussion about Republicans:

For us politically, it doesn’t make sense for us not to be focused on the fiscal and economic issues. The left wants us to get off of economic and fiscal issues. … The lesson after last November … was we have to focus on the things we care about and lead on those, and those are fiscal and economic issues.

Bauer notes as well that, speaking about abortion, Walker told The Christian Science Monitor last December, “I don’t focus on that; I don’t obsess with it.”

Yet, when Planned Parenthood made headlines last week for a video exposé of its senior medical director touting how the taxpayer funded organization performs abortions in such a way as to save aborted baby body parts for sale, Walker told Buzzfeed the video “is absolutely horrifying and disgusting. Planned Parenthood and the Democrats who vote to fund this organization owe the American people an explanation for these heinous, and possibly illegal, actions.”

“Practices like this cannot be tolerated, which is why as governor, I defunded Planned Parenthood,” he added.

The “defunding” of Planned Parenthood in Wisconsin, however, is another questionable point for discussion. Though Wisconsin State Representative Andre Jacque (R) tells Breitbart News that Walker has been largely supportive of pro-life legislation in his state, it appears Planned Parenthood is still receiving funds there.

“I’ve been pleased to work directly with Gov. Walker on pro-life issues in the past,” Jacque said. “When I’ve come to him with ideas to eliminate funding for Planned Parenthood in various state programs…he has been very supportive.”

Nevertheless, Jacque also states, “There’s still a lot of work that can be done to cut off funds from Wisconsin’s, and our nation’s, largest abortion provider – both here in Wisconsin, and of course through the budget at the national level.”

He continued:

Planned Parenthood could not survive without the enormous influx of taxpayer support it receives from all layers of government to subsidize its life-destructive services. In the coming week I’ll be unveiling two proposals which combined would eliminate a half or more of the funding each year that Planned Parenthood gets in Wisconsin, by ending the massive overbilling of Medicaid and taxpayers through abuse of the 340 B program and by reprioritizing Title X funds to public health programs and agencies (kudos to Kansas Gov. Brownback for taking this approach, which has been upheld by the 10th Circuit). I’ll also be renewing my efforts on the state level to end the trafficking of aborted baby body parts and protect the dignity of human life by preventing their sale, transfer or experimentation. I hope that Gov. Walker will join me in these efforts.

Breitbart News received the following document, dated April of this year, from a source familiar with the Wisconsin Department of Health Services.

Planned Parenthood Page 1

Planned Parenthood Page 2

Planned Parenthood Page 3

A Wisconsin Capitol source who has been active in helping draft pro-life legislation in the past confirmed to Breitbart News that Planned Parenthood is still far from completely defunded in Wisconsin. The source was unsurprised at seeing the document from the Wisconsin Department of Health Services from earlier this year which listed hefty state payments to several Planned Parenthood clinics throughout the state.

“We have stopped funding to Planned Parenthood in a few areas since Scott Walker became Governor, but as a percentage of the taxpayer dollars they’ve been receiving it’s not that great,” the source said. “To the extent that people get the impression that funding to Planned Parenthood has been completely cut off, that would certainly be inaccurate.”

“We’ve made positive progress, yes, but to claim that we found the magic bullet to do it here in Wisconsin, that’s just not the case,” the source added. “The Governor has signed a number of pro-life bills into law, but he’s also often shied away from taking a public leadership role on the issue when it would have been helpful.”

Walker’s campaign did not respond to Breitbart News’ attempt to obtain comment on Planned Parenthood funding in Wisconsin.


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