According to The New York Times, “Governor Scott Walker of Wisconsin has concluded he no longer has a path to the Republican presidential nomination and plans to drop out of the 2016 campaign.” By the time you read this, he will have held his press conference and explained to the world that sadly, it is true: the Republican presidential contest will have to live without the bright light of his charisma. Oh, what will it do!
But who are we kidding here? This is a clear sign of the Republican Party establishment trying to take control of the presidential nominating contest. There are currently four candidates who are diluting the already anemic “establishment” vote. So I’m sure that the power brokers in the party went to him and said, “Kid, this ain’t your night — I mean, year.” And I suspect that the party promised him something like a top spot on the VP list. So if Rubio or Bush get the nod, don’t be surprised if Walker gets the backup spot.
It’s funny that the 2016 nominating contest is turning out to be a far bigger problem than the 2012 contest. Remember all the wringing of hands about how the “moderate” Romney was “forced” to take extreme positions — and how that ruined him for the general election? And then there was The Republican Autopsy Report, which said that the party kinda maybe shoulda not work so hard at alienating everyone outside its old bigoted white man base. But this year was going to be different with the “deep bench.” But it has turned out that the three top contenders for the nomination — the people who the base most like — are the people with literally no actual experience in politics.
So I suspect that the Republican power brokers really are freaking out. First it was thought that Trump would collapse after the first debate. He didn’t; he really took off after it. Then Bush was really going to destroy Trump in the second debate — or at least hold his own. Instead, he looked weaker than he ever has before. The big winner of the debate was Carly Fiorina — a candidate who is probably even worse for the party than Trump. The only glimmer of hope was that Marco Rubio did well as the Eagle Scout who will get tough with Russia, Iran, and most of all, Cuba.
I’m sure there is some pressure on John Kasich to get out of the race. I think that would be very shortsighted. In the end, he may be the only reasonable choice. But if the Republican establishment thought long-term about things, it wouldn’t be in the mess it now finds itself in. I wonder if there isn’t pressure on Jeb Bush to exit the race. After all, that $100+ million that he raised is almost all in a super pac. If Bush left the race, it could be used to finance Rubio’s campaign. Again: I think Rubio is a mistake, because I think that he ultimately comes off as very un-serious — like one of those Republican kids (eg, Jonathan Krohn) who is really good at repeating talking points, but who really doesn’t understand them.
But I suppose that I should come clean: I really thought that Walker would get the Republican nomination. That was based upon the fact that he was everything that the power elite wants. Even though I knew him to be a very boring fellow — like the Republican kids, but without any of the charm — I figured that he could finesse his way into the nomination. But I was so wrong! First, he apparently can’t finesse anything at all. Second, he was even more boring than I had thought before. He is not a man who wears well.
Overall, this is good news. It means I will likely never again have to hear about how he stood up to angry workers from inside his limo. But ultimately, I must admit: Scotty, I Hardly Knew Ye. Because there wasn’t much to know.
Update (21 September 2015 3:41 pm)
According to USA Today, it’s even more explicit than I thought:
“With this in mind I will suspend my campaign immediately,” he said at a press conference in Madison, Wisconsin
Walker also encouraged others in the 15-candidate field to do the same, in an apparent attempt to rally Republicans around an alternative to current front-runner Donald Trump.