Sometimes the most inside-baseball political stories tell you something essential about a presidential candidate. That’s what happened this week to Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, who apparently wants to win the Iowa caucuses so badly that he’s willing to torch his staff and his reputation to do it.
The Walker campaign recently announced that it had hired Liz Mair, a highly regarded Republican consultant. Mair has also played pundit at times, and is generally more pro-gay rights and pro-immigration than the average Republican. But that’s typical of Republican consultants in general. It is assumed that policy is set by the candidates themselves, not by the people advising them on their social media accounts.
However, Mair’s hiring was subject to an unusual amount of scrutiny. Muckrakers on the right pointed out that Mair supported “amnesty” for immigrants who had entered the country illegally, or something like it.The Des Moines Register ran an article highlighting some sharp remarks Mair had made about Iowa’s distorting influence on national politics, with its first-in-the-nation status forcing candidates to embrace Iowa’s agricultural subsidies and a federal mandate that requires fuel-inefficient ethanol to be mixed with all gasoline. And finally, Jeff Kauffman, Iowa’s GOP chairman, suggested to The New York Times that Walker should give Mair “her walking papers.”