It’s no big secret that Scott Walker is thinking about a presidential run in 2016. But first he has to win reelection as Governor of Wisconsin this fall.
And to help his reelection effort, Walker hired Alleigh Marre as his new campaign spokesperson.
It turns out that Marre has in the past publicly supported legal abortion and (apparently) federal funding of Planned Parenthood. When House Republicans voted to cut off funding for the abortion giant in 2011, Marre wrote on her blog: “I’m a Republican, and I support Planned Parenthood, a woman’s right to choose, access to STD testing, birth control, etc. (Did I mention I’m a Republican?)”
She has deleted her entire blog (archived here) but has not refuted her previous position.
But pro-lifers in Wisconsin said that Walker’s decision to hire Marre could lead to confusion.
“As a person in the public representing the governor, I think it is a problem,” said Barbara Lyons, executive director of Wisconsin Right to Life. “It’s a problem for people who believe in Scott Walker and his pro-life position.”
The Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel noted that while in the Legislature, Scott Walker sided with Wisconsin Right to Life in 73 of 74 votes. And as Governor, Walker has signed several pro-life bills, including bills to end state funding of Planned Parenthood, stronger regulations of abortion facilities, and a bill requiring mothers seeking abortions to first get ultrasounds.
But Walker also shows an aversion to discussing social issues. He was asked by a reporter about the pro-life bills he signed.
“I signed hundreds of bills the last couple years. There’s literally a handful that relate to that issue,” Walker said. “I’m still pro-life. Not having a highly controversial organization like Planned Parenthood take state taxpayer funds, instead relying on counties, gets some activists worked up, but taxpayers say, ‘What’s the big deal there?’ ”
“As governors we focus on the things that matter most to people, and those are economic and fiscal issues,” Walker told reporters at a November 2013 breakfast hosted by The Christian Science Monitor. “I am pro-life like most Republican governors are pro-life. I don’t apologize for that but I don’t focus on that, I don’t obsess with it.”
When asked about same-sex marriage, Walker said: ““I don’t talk about it at all. I don’t talk about anything but fiscal and economic issues in the state.”
Walker’s reluctance to talk about social issues is certainly due in part to Wisconsin’s historic tendency to support Democratic candidates. The last time a Republican presidential candidate won Wisconsin was Reagan’s 49-state landslide in 1984. The Badger State was one of only 10 states to back Dukakis in 88.
Perhaps Walker thinks independent voters will only trust a Republican to the presidency who can prove he’s not a bona fide cultural warrior. Walker might even suggest that he’s just like Pope Francis in that he’s definitely pro-life, just not ‘obsessed’ about the issue. And if Walker thinks his party should maintain its principles but should soften its tone, he needs to realize that he’s undermining his efforts by hiring someone who is completely opposed to his own position on life.