National Opinions

Jennifer Rubin: Gov. Scott Walker's lessons

Jennifer Rubin
Jennifer Rubin

Walker's lessons, learned the hard way

Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker suspended his campaign for the Republican presidential nomination. His failure to master policy issues beyond his state, his uninspiring speaking style, his frequent flip-flops, his mistaken effort to race to the right to catch Donald Trump and his declining fortunes in must-win Iowa contributed to a flop comparable to former Texas governor Rick Perry's 2008 effort.

Unlike Perry, however, Walker did not have one iconic, horrible moment preserved on video. He can go back to Wisconsin, complete his term, work hard for the party and perhaps give it another try down the road. That said, one can learn policy but it is hard to rewire one's personality. Walker seemed small, skittish and out of his depth. Viewers could see it. Not every governor of a small Midwest state has what it takes to be president, particularly at a young age. Walker's problems were heightened by an underwhelming campaign team, which fell in love with early, largely irrelevant poll numbers and spent too much money early on, sent its candidate out when he was not ready and telegraphed its strategy, making him seem about as authentic as Hillary Clinton.

A warning to others: Be ready before you run. Get the best staff. Have policy objectives and goals firmly in mind. And if you don't have what it takes, stay home. That's one lesson Walker seemed to finally figure out.