Wisconsin governor Scott Walker received a lot of completely undeserved grief from the national news media in the past weeks. But he may have made a genuine unforced error in one of his remarks today.
Asked about ISIS, Walker responded, “If I can take on 100,000 protesters, I can do the same across the globe.”
That is a terrible response. First, taking on a bunch of protesters is not comparably difficult to taking on a Caliphate with sympathizers and terrorists around the globe, and saying so suggests Walker doesn’t quite understand the complexity of the challenge from ISIS and its allied groups.
Second, it is insulting to the protesters, a group I take no pleasure in defending. The protesters in Wisconsin, so furiously angry over Walker’s reforms and disruptive to the procedures of passing laws, earned plenty of legitimate criticism. But they’re not ISIS. They’re not beheading innocent people. They’re Americans, and as much as we may find their ideas, worldview, and perspective spectacularly wrongheaded, they don’t deserve to be compared to murderous terrorists.
UPDATE: Kristen Kukowski, communications director for Walker’s 527 organization, sends along this statement:
Governor Walker believes our fight against ISIS is one of the most important issues our country faces. He was in no way comparing any American citizen to ISIS. What the governor was saying was when faced with adversity he chooses strength and leadership. Those are the qualities we need to fix the leadership void this White House has created.