Scott Walker needs to reassure his supporters and his donors. And Wednesday’s debate might be his last chance.
After a sleepy performance in the first Republican presidential debate that fueled a steep slide in his standing with voters, the governor’s team has pushed him to prepare. Round Two will be different, according to sources inside Walker’s camp.
He won’t stop talking before his time is up, as he did at that first debate – a decision that left some of his top backers scratching their heads. He will be more assertive, according to people who have been briefed. And he won’t just answer the moderators’ questions but instead pivot to his personal story.
And anything less could spell trouble.
“If Gov. Walker lays an egg, he better be prepared to bootstrap his campaign in the coming 3-5 months because his fundraising will dry up,” said a veteran campaign manager and GOP operative.
Walker has easily been the biggest disappointment thus far. True, Jeb! has been sliding in the polls, but there is absolutely no one outside of the Capitol Hill Club who actually cares. Walker, on the other hand, was seen by many as the Great Destroyer of Democrats and the best hope to derail whatever nonsense the Democrats finally nominated.
The dirty little not-so-secret all along though was that the Wisconsin governor is not the most dynamic of public speakers. Then he managed to put together a couple good speeches and nerves were calmed.
Sadly, it was back to milquetoast as usual during the first debate.
People can complain all they want about what television has done to our politics, but it won’t change the fact that it all happens in front of cameras now and successful politicians have to be able to work a crowd and a camera. Republicans invoke Ronald Reagan almost reflexively, yet many gloss over all of “The Great Communicator” stuff. Walker is lacking a bit in the communication department.
Perhaps fearing for his political future will give him a bit of an edge.