Way back in 1990, there was an episode of “The Simpsons” in which Mr. Burns launches a gubernatorial campaign. In a staged event at the Simpsons’ home, Lisa is told to say, “Mr. Burns your campaign seems to have the momentum of a runaway freight train. Why are you so popular?”
This came to mind this morning when Herschel Walker, fresh off his Republican Senate primary victory in Georgia, appeared on Fox News. The interview began, “Herschel, you are so loved all over the country, but especially in the state of Georgia.”
Oddly enough, it got a little worse after that.
On Tuesday night, CNN’s Manu Raju asked the former football player, “Do you support any new gun laws in the wake of this Texas shooting?” Walker responded, “What I like to — what I like to do is see it and everything and stuff.”
This morning, the Republican candidate shared some additional thoughts on the subject. After reminding viewers that “Cain killed Abel” — I’m not entirely sure how that’s relevant — Walker added:
“What we need to do is look into how we can stop those things. You know, they talk about doing a disinformation, what about getting a department that could look at young men that’s looking at women that looking at social media. What about doing that? Looking into things like that? If we can stop that that way?”
He proceeded to add some related garbled thoughts on mental health and the abandoned Homeland Security effort related to combatting foreign disinformation campaigns.
Keep in mind, this wasn’t a gotcha moment in which an aggressive journalist caught Walker off-guard with a difficult question on an obscure issue. It was two days ago when a gunman killed 19 children and two teachers at an elementary school. Over the course of 48 hours, this U.S. Senate candidate and his team had time to come up with his position on this life-or-death issue.
Walker then sat down with an overly friendly media outlet, and pitched creating a federal agency that would apparently be responsible for surveilling “young men that’s looking at women that looking at social media.”
My point, of course, is not to pick on someone who doesn’t appear to have any idea what he’s talking about. Walker expects to be a powerful federal policymaker next year. Scrutinizing his policy ideas, especially related to the nation’s most pressing issues, is an important part of the process.
When he moved to Georgia last year and became a Senate candidate, Walker effectively invited people to examine his record and his governing vision.
And as we do exactly that, it’s not going well.
If this were simply a matter of a candidate who struggles to communicate substantive ideas on camera, it’d be a certain kind of problem. But as we’ve discussed, Walker’s troubles run deeper.
He’s pushing weird election conspiracy theories. He’s struggled to talk about key policies. He’s made demonstrably untrue claims about his business background, his educational background, and a controversial veterans charity he claimed to have created — despite the fact that it wasn’t a charity and he didn’t create it.
This week, Walker took the extra step of lying about lying, which was also weird.
Republican primary voters in Georgia were obviously unmoved by all of this — Walker defeated his next closest GOP primary rival by nearly 55 points — and polling suggest he will be a highly competitive general election candidate against Sen. Raphael Warnock in the fall.