Scott Walker Panders To The Shrinking Minority Opposed To Same-Sex Marriage

He hasn't declared yet, but Scott Walker is running for President, and he's pandering to the most extreme wing of the Republican Party.

2013 Conservative Political Action Conference
In an appearance on ABC News’s This Week, Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker, who is likely to enter the race for the Republican Presidential nomination within the next month, endorsed a Constitutional Amendment that would ban same-sex marriage nationwide:

WASHINGTON — Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker (R) said Sunday that he supports a constitutional amendment banning nationwide marriage equality.

The Supreme Court is expected to issue a decision this month that could grant, for once and for all, same-sex couples the right to wed across the country.

“I personally believe that marriage is between one man and one woman,” said Walker, a prospective GOP presidential candidate, on ABC’s “This Week.” “If the court decides that, the only next approach is for those who are supporters of marriage being defined as between one man and one woman is ultimately to consider pursuing a constitutional amendment.”

He added that “the decision on defining marriage should be left up to the states.”

Same-sex marriage is legal in Wisconsin. Walker has said that he voted for the state’s constitutional ban on marriage equality in 2006, which was overturned eight years later by the courts.

In April, Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas), who is also running for president, introduced legislation to establish a constitutional amendment protecting states that want to bar same-sex marriage.

Here’s the transcript:

KARL: If the Supreme Court establishes that same sex marriage is a constitutional right, does that effectively end this as a political issue in this campaign?

WALKER: Well, I personally believe that marriage is between one man and one woman. If the court decides that, the only next approach is for those who are supporters of marriage being defined as between one man and one woman is ultimately to consider pursuing a constitutional amendment.

KARL: So you would favor a constitutional amendment that would say that states are allowed to ban same sex marriage.

WALKER: I believe that the decision on defining marriage should be left up to the states, yeah.

To be completely fair to Walker, it’s unclear from the transcript if he’s talking about a Constitutional Amendment that would ban same-sex marriage nationwide or one that would give states the right to make that decision on their own. Ultimately, though, there really isn’t a functional difference between the two and voters on both sides of the political aisle are going to interpret Walker’s remarks as meaning that he supports a nationwide ban on same-sex marriage regardless of what the Supreme Court might have to say later this month. In reality, of course, a President has no say whatsoever in the ratification of an amendment to the Constitution, the most Walker could do if her were elected would be to publicly endorse an amendment proposed by a Congressman or Senator. Additionally, the likelihood that any such amendment would get the 2/3 vote in the House and Senate, never mind the support of 38 out of the 50 states, is somewhere between slim and none. So basically what Walker is saying here is that he supports something that he has no control over and which has absolutely no chance of ever passing, but the fact that he’s doing it is perhaps the clearest indication yet that he is indeed running for President.

Governor Walker didn’t have to answer the question this way, of course. He could have said that he won’t comment until the Court has ruled. He could have said that, as President, it’s a subject that would be outside of his purview. He could have responded the way he did when the Supreme Court denied Wisconsin’s appeal of the ruling by the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals when he said that the battle over same-sex marriage was “over in Wisconsin.”  Instead he took a position that is designed to appeal to an increasingly small minority of Americans, and the reason for it is obvious. Walker is running for President and Iowa is pretty much a must-win state for him. In order to win in Iowa in a Republican caucus, you need to appeal to the social conservatives that are most likely to show up at night in the winter for a caucus. Once the Supreme Court does rule, you can expect Walker to react the same way that he did here, as will many of his fellow Republicans, notwithstanding the fact that most Americans say that they would be fine with a Court ruling that struck down same-sex marriage bans nationwide. That will probably help him in the race for the Republican nomination, but if he does win the nomination he’s going to have the same problem with the vast number of voters who don’t consider them social conservatives that Republicans have had in the last two Presidential election cycles.

FILED UNDER: Campaign 2016, US Politics, ,
Doug Mataconis
About Doug Mataconis
Doug holds a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May 2010. Before joining OTB, he wrote at Below The BeltwayThe Liberty Papers, and United Liberty Follow Doug on Twitter | Facebook

Comments

  1. gVOR08 says:

    I thought it was a pretty standard issue evasive answer. He declared personal allegiance to the principle of traditional marriage without actually saying he’d do anything about it.

  2. Ron Beasley says:

    As I have said before Scott Walker is nothing but a Koch brothers sock puppet. I’m sure they have told him to say whatever he needs to say to get the nomination so he can do their bidding once he is elected.

  3. James Pearce says:

    “the only next approach is for those who are supporters of marriage being defined as between one man and one woman is ultimately to consider pursuing a constitutional amendment.”

    This is one of those cases where the right would benefit from some leadership. I mean, gay marriage opponents don’t need to consider a constitutional amendment, which has no chance of being floated much less of passing . They should consider applying their energies elsewhere.

    But who’s going to tell them that? Not their “leaders.”

  4. michael reynolds says:

    This makes me so happy. Walker was an unknown quantity as a campaigner. Now he’s revealed as an idiot.

  5. Rob Prather says:

    @Ron Beasley: you’ve nailed it. Sock puppet is the term I’ve been looking for to describe him and it fits perfectly.

  6. @Ron Beasley:

    As I have said before Scott Walker is nothing but a Koch brothers sock puppet.

    Except the Koch Brothers are pro-gay marriage. In fact, when David Koch ran for vice president, he ran on a platform of legalizing gay marriage in 1980.

    The Koch Brothers have become the left wing equivalent of George Soros of Paul Alinsky. The universal boogeyman that is personally responsible for every single thing wrong with the world, without regard to what their actual views on any issue are.

  7. James Pearce says:

    @Stormy Dragon:

    The Koch Brothers have become the left wing equivalent of George Soros of Paul Alinsky.

    Agree 100%. The “worst” Koch brother isn’t even politically active.

    But this is somewhat suspect:

    Except the Koch Brothers are pro-gay marriage. In fact, when David Koch ran for vice president, he ran on a platform of legalizing gay marriage in 1980.

    Actions speak louder than words. You can say you’re “pro-gay marriage,” but if you’re giving that much money to the GOP, you’re not actually pro-gay marriage.

  8. DC Loser says:

    No, but the Kochs have bigger fish to fry. Their pocketbooks mean much more to them than their libertarian principles.

  9. michael reynolds says:

    @DC Loser:

    That’s definition of a libertarian: a person who will sell anyone out for a dollar.

  10. Kylopod says:

    The Kochs may espouse socially liberal views, but you’d be hard-pressed to tell by looking at their donations. For example, examine the candidates they donated to in 2014:

    https://www.opensecrets.org/orgs/recips.php?id=D000000186&cycle=2014&state=&party=&chamber=&sort=A&page=1

    Out of 267 candidates, they gave money to 10 Democrats and 1 member of the Libertarian Party. The remaining 256 candidates they donated to were Republicans.

    I glanced at the Wikipedia pages for the 10 Dems they supported, and one thing that struck my attention was that at least half of those candidates are social conservatives–anti-abortion, anti-gay.

    I’m not implying that the Kochs are closet so-cons. I just think they’re profoundly indifferent to those issues. What matters to them is getting Republicans elected to protect the interests of the one minority group the Kochs really care about–the super-wealthy.

  11. charon says:

    Conceivably there is a significant number of Christianists who grasp that Huckabee and Carson have some real electability problems. If Walker can out-Jesus Rubio and Bush and peel off a significant portion of the Jesus vote, that could carry him a long way towards the nomination.

    First things first, you can’t be elected without first being nominated.

  12. David in KC says:

    I think he is counting on the SoCons to get the nomination and hoping that the independents don’t vote social issues. Expect him to tack to the center if he gets the nomination.

  13. J-Dub says:

    I was in Salt Lake City over the weekend and they were closing off streets and holding a well advertised and publically endorsed Utah Pride festival on the grounds of their City Hall. In freaking Salt Lake City! This election will be the last one where this is even discussed.

  14. gVOR08 says:

    @Stormy Dragon:

    The Koch Brothers have become the left wing equivalent of George Soros of Paul Alinsky. The universal boogeyman

    Didn’t they pretty much volunteer? They chose to be the public face of Billionaire Boy’s Club partisan money, I’m happy to use them in that role.