Walker racing Neumann to the right | Wis.Community

Walker racing Neumann to the right

One of the dangers of a contested primary is that it will force candidates to try to out-do one another in appealing to their party's most hard core elements, be that liberal or conservative.

Case in point: The GOP primary for Wisconsin governor, where Scott Walker continues to veer farther right, even changing his positions, to keep Mark Neumann from outflanking him in the extreme right lane.

And it's beginning to look like Walker is getting even farther out than Neumann

First it was immigration.  Walker took a more moderate position, but when Neumann beat him up and some of the GOP base complained that Walker was too soft, he and became a hard-liner.

Last week it was the state smoking ban.  Walker first said he didn't like it, but wouldn't commit to repealing it.  But once Neumann came out for repeal,

Now, it appears Walker has found an issue where he can be even more extreme than Neumann -- human reproduction.  Liberals often call the issue women's reproductive rights, but one group backing Walker and Neumann doesn't discriminate by gender.  It wants to ban condoms, too.

Neumann and Walker both told that if Roe v. Wade were overturned they would enforce the state's criminal law -- unenforceable now but still on the books -- to imprison doctors who perform abortions and women who have them.

Neumann says he does not oppose birth control, even if Pro-Life Wisconsin does.  Walker wasn't quite that forthcoming.  His :

Question: "You and Mark Neumann were both recently endorsed by Pro-Life Wisconsin which among its positions includes opposition to all forms of birth control. Some Democrats are saying this shows that you're out of the mainstream. Do you agree with them on that position?"

Walker: "No, the bottom line is I've been pro-life, will be pro-life again in the future. And, I think our position if you look at the latest polling out there, even nationally, shows the majority of Americans identify themselves as pro-life."

Question: "Do you agree with that specific part of their platform?"Walker: "I'd have to look at the specifics on which part they're talking about, but again, my position and/in the legislature's been consistently pro-life."

Question: "Do you oppose condoms?"Walker: "Well, ah, to me that's not a position of the government."

And finally, there is sex education. State law says sex education has to include information about birth control and disease prevention, not just abstinence. Walker and Neumann both oppose the law, but Walker has one-upped Neumann:

Speaking to the Wisconsin Right to Life convention in April, Walker praised the county prosecutor who sent letters threatening to charge teachers who follow the new curriculum for contributing to the delinquency of minors.

"I may not be a lawyer, but I know that it's not just the law you're standing up for, it's the rights of families and individual communities," Walker told Juneau County District Attorney Scott Southworth, according to audio of the convention.

Through a campaign spokeswoman, Walker, the son of a minister who was involved in an anti-abortion group at Marquette University, stood by that comment. Last week, he said his "pro-life" position was well within the mainstream.

Mainstream, indeed. If Walker moves any farther right, he's in danger of falling off the edge of the world, which -- as he and Neumann both know --- is flat.


July 12, 2010 - 12:55pm