Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker has surged among the 2016 GOP presidential field with his populist brand of conservatism, but the Washington-based establishment is less convinced that he can pull it off.
According to The Washington Examiner,
GOP insiders are concerned that Walker hasn't developed a clear set of well-defined positions on a range of national and international issues. At the same time, they recognize that his style does resonate with voters in primary and caucus states more than they may have previously recognized.
At a Club for Growth conference
last week, some of his anecdotes that played well in Iowa did not go down as well, while some observers suspected he had not thought through a number of domestic and international issues.
When asked about whether the Export-Import Bank should be reauthorized, Walker reportedly gave a long-winded vague answer that left some wondering whether he had thought about the issue.
And Walker's declaration that former President Ronald Reagan's firing of air traffic controllers was "the most significant foreign policy decision of my lifetime," left some questioning his position.
"All that has led to some feelings of unease among policy experts and Republican insiders that Walker, for all his outward popularity, might be headed for difficulties over the substance of policy.
"Yes, he has a huge record of achievement as a governor. But will that be enough to get him through a long campaign?" the Examiner asked.
The Examiner said that Walker's performance contrasted significantly with other potential candidates — "some with less impressive records of accomplishments than Walker" — who have shown a much better grasp of national and international issues, among them former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, Florida Sen. Marco Rubio, Texas Sen. Ted Cruz and Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal.
"Other candidates are ahead of Walker in their ability to come up with sharp and well-argued statements on domestic and foreign policy. Walker will have to reach beyond his record to compete with them on the issues and present himself to voters as a potential president," the Examiner said.
The magazine added that it is unclear whether the challenge for Walker is temporary or more enduring, partially because his meteoric rise, forcing him into the national spotlight earlier than he expected, a point which Walker acknowledges.
"We thought all along if we got in, it would be kind of this slow and steady, don't worry about the other guys, just keep focused on moving forward, and as candidates chose not to get in or fell off, we'd be in a position to make a compelling case to them," Walker said, according to the Examiner.
"We had no idea that after that Iowa summit there would be that kind of acceleration to the race. But we're here, and we're not going to complain about it."
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