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Scott Walker: not good at this

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One of the basic tasks a Republican politician who hopes to be elected president must master is the ability to play both sides on abortion–to be pro-life enough for the primaries and the base, but not so pro-life as to turn off some needed moderates on election day. As far political needle-threading goes, it’s not the most difficult task a Oval Office seeking Republican must master; there’s a pretty successful template available that involves vagueness, liberal use of the federalism dodge, and the occasional dog whistle. It’ll be nonsense under any serious scrutiny, but this is a presidential campaign we’re talking about so that’s not necessarily a problem. It is becoming increasingly clear that Scott Walker is not just remarkably bad at this. He’s not screwing up in the ordinary ways but finding creatively appalling new ways to do it. I’ve long suspected that Scott Walker is a bit more like Rick Perry 2012 than conventional wisdom recognizes: he checks a lot of boxes, on paper, but at the end of the day he just may not be ready for prime time.

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