Candidates for public office, especially the presidency, realize that there’s simply no way to delve into policy details during an interview or press conference. In recent years, candidates often sketch out their positions generally, and then refer people to their websites for more detailed information.
But as TPM noted today, this occasionally doesn’t go as planned.
Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker (R) on Monday directed Fox News viewers to his campaign website to see where he stands on certain issues, yet his website appears to lack a clear landing page where supporters can read about the presidential candidate’s policy stances and proposals.While discussing the media’s focus on Donald Trump on Fox News’ “America’s Newsroom,” Walker said that people should focus on the details of the candidates’ policy ideas.
The Republican candidate, generally seen as a top-tier contender, complained about the “overall media frenzy” surrounding “one person” – i.e., Donald Trump – though Walker wishes the political conversation would focus on substance. “I hope people join us at ScottWalker.com and see the details,” he said, “not about what we think about another candidate, but what we think about making this country great again.”
That’s not a bad pitch, exactly – some of us think the United States is still great, but we’ll put that aside for now – though if people watching Fox News took Walker’s advice, they’d come away disappointed.
The “details” don’t exist.
After poking around the Wisconsin governor’s website, I eventually found a page that said Walker is committed to “bold ideas.” He presumably means it – the words appeared in a very large font – but there were no actual bold ideas anywhere on the page or anywhere else on the website.
If a visitor searches long enough, he or she will eventually find a link to an op-ed Walker ostensibly wrote in April about taxes, but there’s nothing in the way of policy “details” here, either. There isn’t even an “issues” tab anywhere on the page – though there is a “shop” option.
The point isn’t to pick on Walker too much – though he certainly shouldn’t have encouraged a national television audience to visit online content that doesn’t exist – since the governor isn’t the only one. Politico published an analysis of each of the 17 Republican campaigns’ websites and “found that nearly half lacked a specific ‘issue’ page at all.”
Perhaps we’re just too early? It’s only August, so maybe it’s unrealistic to think the national candidates will have issues pages already?
That might work as an answer, were it not for the fact that Hillary Clinton, Bernie Sanders, and Martin O’Malley – the top three Democratic presidential candidates – have each put online fairly detailed issue pages on a variety of high-profile topics.
Eventually, leading Republican campaigns will catch up, but what does it say about the leading GOP candidates that they haven’t bothered with issue pages thus far?