Reprinted from The Nation
I have known Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker since he was a young state legislator. We used to talk a good deal about our differing views on how to reform things: campaign finance rules, ethics regulations, social-welfare programs.
We seldom reached agreement. But I gave him credit for respecting the search for common ground. And for understanding that a disagreement on a particular matter is never an excuse for ending the search -- or for disregarding others who are engaged in it.
But that was a long time ago. Scott Walker has changed a great deal -- and not, I fear, for the better.
He is deep into a political career that has seen plenty of ups and downs; and, now, he is grasping for a top rung on the ladder: the Republican nomination for the presidency in 2016.
On Thursday, at the Conservative Political Action Conference, Walker was asked how he would respond to ISIS, and the "radical Islamic terrorism" he had condemned in his speech to the group. Walker told the crowd: "If I can take on 100,000 protesters, I can do the same across the globe."
That was, by just about every measure, an unsettling statement. Even conservative commentators who are inclined to praise Walker acknowledged that it was "a terrible response." National Review's Jim Geraghty explained that "taking on a bunch of protesters is not comparably difficult to taking on a Caliphate with sympathizers and terrorists around the globe, and saying so suggests Walker doesn't quite understand the complexity of the challenge from ISIS and its allied groups."
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