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NYT: Scott Walker Appeals to GOP Far Right at Own Expense

NYT: Scott Walker Appeals to GOP Far Right at Own Expense
(Theo Stroomer/Getty Images)

By    |   Thursday, 02 July 2015 10:45 AM

Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker's break to the right in Iowa may be a short-sighted strategy that in the long run could be detrimental to his presidential campaign, according to The New York Times.

The Republican governor, who is anticipated to formally announce his candidacy later this month, has presented himself in Iowa, which holds the nation's first caucuses, as a hardcore social conservative stringently opposed to same-sex marriage, immigration and the Common Core national education standards.

His positions have led some in his party to question, publicly, whether Walker "is too willing to modify his views to aid his ambitions," according to the Times. Party leaders worry his move to the right opens the door for critics to question his authenticity and "may be jeopardizing his prospects in states where voters' sensibilities are more moderate," the newspaper says.

His stances and stump performances have catapulted Walker to the top of the polls in Iowa and put him in the top three nationally, but could end up being a situation where he cuts off his nose to spite his face. His far right positions might help him win the primary, but lose the general election, according to the Times.

His stance on gay marriage had appeared to soften, the paper notes, when last fall he indicated that his state's fight over same-sex marriage was over after a federal court struck it down and the Supreme Court refused to review the decision.

"For us, it's over in Wisconsin," he said at the time.

But after the Supreme Court's 5-4 decision last week legalizing same-sex marriage, Walker called it "a grave mistake" and said that amending the Constitution was the appropriate path "to protect the institution of marriage from exactly this type of judicial activism," Politico reported.

"As a result of this decision, the only alternative left for the American people is to support an amendment to the U.S. Constitution to reaffirm the ability of the states to continue to define marriage," Walker said in a statement.

Republican strategist Scott Reed characterized Walker's increasingly hardline positions and push for a constitutional amendment as "pollsters gone wild."

The Times postulates that Walker is fending off Texas Sen. Ted Cruz and his "uncompromising brand of conservatism and potential appeal to evangelical conservatives."

Off-the-record sources told the Times that Republican same-sex marriage supporters had been working behind-the-scenes to "build bridges to Mr. Walker." Walker's wife, Tonette, has a cousin who is a lesbian and Walker attended her wedding reception, according to the Times.

A Walker spokeswoman told the newspaper that Walker's views on gay marriage have been consistent and that he supports states' deciding the issue.

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Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker's break to the right in Iowa may be a short-sighted strategy that in the long run could be detrimental to his presidential campaign, according to The New York Times.
scott walker, evangelicals, gay marriage, common core
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2015-45-02
Thursday, 02 July 2015 10:45 AM
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