Scott Walker knows he's outmatched in the early stages of the Republican primary. Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush also has the executive experience that often plays well in presidential races. He's raising a lot more money than Walker. And he knows a lot more about policy than Walker. So Walker's campaign is laying the groundwork for less-than-impressive fundraising numbers by talking about his long game. Walker, they say, is content to go slow and steady and peak when it counts:
Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker speaks at CPAC 2013.Advisers said that Mr. Walker, conceding that he has no hope of raising more than Mr. Bush this spring and summer, is devoting considerable time instead to addressing a weakness that could derail him with a single gaffe no matter how much some donors love him: his lack of depth on issues facing a president, especially national security. He is attending near daily policy briefings and crafting Wisconsin’s next state budget, while his team is quietly recruiting volunteer fund-raisers, known as bundlers. They now number about 50 in 30 states — a shadow corps ready to compete with Mr. Bush as soon as Mr. Walker officially announces his candidacy, which will likely be in June. At the same time, Mr. Walker — who enthusiastically enjoys fund-raising, his advisers say — is personally courting megadonors like Todd Ricketts, who will back Mr. Walker if he runs, and David H. and Charles G. Koch, the conservative billionaires, according to the advisers and donors, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to maintain their access to confidential campaign planning. Several top-tier Republican donors joined Mr. Walker for a dinner last week at the Ricketts apartment in Time Warner Center in Manhattan, including David Koch; Mr. Ricketts and his father, Joe; the investor Roger Hertog; and the supermarket magnate John Catsimatidis.
So ... the plan is to cram like it's the night before the final of a class he skipped all semester, hoping in the mean time to avoid saying anything too stupid publicly, and try to lock down a couple really rich people to bankroll a super PAC. Got it. But it makes you wonder: Does this make a sadder statement about Scott Walker, about the Republican field, or about the state of American electoral politics? Because it could work! "Suck up to a billionaire and study up on your CliffsNotes" is a strategy that could propel someone to a major party presidential nomination.