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NYT: Scott Walker Changes Tone on Social Issues


On February 23, The New York Times reported on Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker’s reluctance to speak on social issues. It also notes Gov. Walker’s tendency to tailor his message to the group he’s speaking to, an example of this being the stark differences between his abortion messages while running for governor and while campaigning in Iowa. He doesn’t change his positions, but he reframes them based on time and place. The story notes that it may be difficult to win the social conservatives over, when he has a history of de-emphasizing social issues:

A few weeks before the November election, in an interview with The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, the governor sidestepped questions about his earlier opposition to abortion, and declined four times to answer directly when asked if abortion should be prohibited after 20 weeks — a position he had previously embraced. He also declined to restate his earlier opposition to abortion in cases of rape and incest.

But in a breakout speech in Iowa on Jan. 24, he drew loud applause from the crowd of conservative activists when he declared that he had passed “pro-life legislation” in Wisconsin and “defunded Planned Parenthood.”


Mr. Walker does not appear to be rewriting his positions on specific issues; instead he is trying to redraw his political image from a fiscally minded governor who warned his party not to be distracted by divisive social issues to a conservative presidential candidate who will fight hard for these issues. He is also reframing his fight with public employee unions from a fiscal showdown to part of a broader culture war.

Read the whole story here.

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