Scott Walker ran a bizarrely off-key campaign for the Republican presidential nomination.
So it made sense that he would end that campaign on a bizarre note: with a tone-deaf attempt to portray his decision to quit the competition as an act of political heroism.
“Today I believe that I am being called to lead by helping to clear the field in this race so a positive conservative message can rise to the top of the field,” the governor of Wisconsin announced Monday. “With that in mind, I will suspend my campaign immediately.”
Walker was not being driven from the race by low poll numbers and the prospect that his campaign cupboard would soon be empty, he wanted anyone who was still paying attention to know.
No. No. No.
Walker was leading by leaving.
When politicians fail to realize their ambitions, yet retain those ambitions, any spin will do.
In Scott Walker’s case, spin was all he was left with.
A presidential campaign that for a brief shining moment seemed inevitable had become impossible. And Walker was floundering about in search of an explanation.
Of course, anyone who had been following this governor’s epic rise and fall knows that the floundering begun long before the governor’s hastily scheduled press conference in an almost empty ballroom at Madison’s Edgewater Hotel.
The fact is that Scott Walker never knew why he was running for president.
He just knew that he wanted to be president.
Thus, every statement Walker made after announcing his candidacy in mid-July sounded exactly like what it was: a desperate attempt to make Scott Walker the interesting and appealing candidate that he was never going to be.
No one beat Scott Walker for the nomination—not Donald Trump, not Jeb Bush, not Ben Carson, not Carly Fiorina.
Scott Walker talked himself out of the running.
Before his formal announcement, Walker’s three years of positioning—rather than governing Wisconsin—had earned him something akin to front-runner status. He led the polls nationally and in key states. He had plenty of money. And he seemed to be the one candidate who genuinely appealed both to billionaires and to Tea Partisans.