The worst one can say of the press over the course of this episode is that they remain committed to the success of the Obama presidency even while it flounders. That is an impulse that is growing increasingly frantic as the end of the Obama’s presidency nears and as his dubious legacy is repeatedly impugned by those who aspire to succeed him.
How do you know that Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker has taken at least temporary custody of frontrunner status in the race for the GOP presidential nomination in 2016? Beyond, of course, the polls that show him rocketing to the front of the pack in critical early primary states like Iowa? The political press is coming down hard on him and his nascent campaign.
After three unambiguous statewide victories in a Democratic state in just four years, Scott Walker is thoroughly vetted. If there were skeletons in his closet, the media and the myriad opposition researchers scrutinizing his past would have found them by now. “Scott Walker could very well be indicted in the coming days,” the forlorn MSNBC host Ed Schultz predicted on the night of Walker’s second statewide victory. He never was.
So, the press has taken a keen interest in catching Walker in unflattering moments or making hash out of otherwise minor controversies. Rudy Giuliani was speaking at an event for Walker when he sent the political media into a manic frenzy in which reporter and pundit alike tripped over one another to denounce what they dubbed the New York City’ mayor’s callous and quite possibly racist assertion that President Barack Obama doesn’t love his country. Only now, on day five of that story, is it finally beginning to fade from the media’s focus.
When Walker refused to denounce the former Big Apple mayor to the media’s satisfaction, they pounced. “What Scott Walker did ought to disqualify him as a serious presidential contender,” Washington Post columnist Dana Milbank hyperventilated. “Clownish,” insisted Rachel Maddow Show producer Steve Benen. “Spineless,” The Washington Post editorial board averred.