Politico claims to have identified Gov. Scott Walker’s “stealth” game plan for a presidential run during the next three years. It consists of winning reelection in 2014 without moderating a record that has won over many conservatives; letting the other GOP hopefuls get sullied in Congress or otherwise; and then “pouncing” in 2015.
As to the first prong, Politico writer James Hohmann finds that, although winning reelection in Wisconsin without moving to the center will be no easy feat, “most independent analysts expect Walker to ultimately prevail.”
As to the second prong — letting other GOP hopefuls “get sullied” — I submit that this is already happening. Marco Rubio and Paul Ryan seem considerably less formidable today than they did earlier this year, thanks to their work on behalf of amnesty.
Rand Paul and Chris Christie have tried to replace Rubio and Ryan as top tier prospects. But their battle, while strengthening them as niche candidates, may also define the borders from in between which the GOP nominee will emerge.
As for Ted Cruz, it seems to me that his eagerness not to be outflanked by Rand Paul raises questions as to whether he fits comfortably inside the Paul-Christie border.
So far, so good for Walker.
But Walker hasn’t been quite as “stealthy” as Politico beleives. To be sure, he has stayed out of the fight over whether to push towards a shut-down of the government in an effort to stop Obamacare. And he has steered clear of the debate over domestic surveillance.
But Walker has stepped into the debate over immigration reform. Although, as Politico notes, he won’t say how he would have voted on the Senate immigration bill, Walker has made it clear that he supports a pathway to citizenship for undocumented immigrants.
If the time comes for Walker to “pounce” into the race for the GOP nomination, his pro-amnesty position will likely count against him. What Republicans really need is a “stealth candidate” who supports what I take to be the mainstream conservative position on immigration — tough border enforcement, plenty of legal immigration, and no rewarding of law-breaking by bestowing citizenship on illegal immigrants.