It’s been a rough 10 days for Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, who is struggling to retain a spot among the top tier contenders for the Republican presidential nomination in 2016.
His campaign’s excitement about his determined pushback against union hecklers at the Iowa State Fair was quickly dimmed by a rapid series of position changes on the question of whether or not the guarantee of birthright citizenship in the 14th Amendment to the Constitution ought to be eliminated.
When he first appeared to strongly support doing away with birthright citizenship, he was criticized for jumping on the bandwagon being driven by billionaire real estate tycoon Donald Trump, whose anti-immigration policies are the bedrock supporting his campaign. When Walker later adjusted his position, and then adjusted it again, he came under fire for flip-flopping.
Now, Walker has taken another stance that will, inevitably, lead many to believe that he’s back to grasping at Trump’s coattails.
In a news release Monday – released after the U.S. stock markets plunged as part of a global sell-off related to problems with the Chinese economy – he called on President Obama to cancel a state visit by Chinese President Xi Jinping scheduled for next month.
“Americans are struggling to cope with the fall in today's markets driven in part by China's slowing economy and the fact that they actively manipulate their economy,” Walker said. “Rather than honoring Chinese President Xi Jinping with an official state visit next month, President Obama should focus on holding China accountable over its increasing attempts to undermine U.S. interests.
“Given China’s massive cyber attacks against America, its militarization of the South China Sea, continued state interference with its economy, and persistent persecution of Christians and human rights activists, President Obama needs to cancel the state visit. There's serious work to be done rather than pomp and circumstance. We need to see some backbone from President Obama on U.S.-China relations.”
The problem for Walker here is twofold. First, foreign policy veterans view the suggestion that an invitation to a formal state visit be rescinded over movement in the stock market as ridiculous. And, as many news sources note, Walker is not very far removed from a very friendly relationship with China’s leaders.
Second, an attack on China once again makes Walker look as though he’s trying to glom on to Trump’s momentum. The real estate billionaire was up early on Monday, railing against China on Fox News and blaming China for the troubles in the U.S. markets.
For Democrats, he was just an easy target.
Scott Walker is really bad at being Donald Trump https://t.co/rSX0MZqy8u— Dan Pfeiffer (@danpfeiffer) August 24, 2015
It has become quite clear in the last two weeks that if Walker wants to win the GOP nomination, he’ll need to up his game. In the past few days, though, things have shifted a bit. Now the question is whether Walker has much game at all.