The other day, Scott Walker declared that if the Supreme Court rules for a Constitutional right to gay marriage, he’d support a Constitutional amendment allowing states to ban it. This stance would not have been surprising coming from Mike Huckabee, Bobby Jindal, or Ted Cruz. But coming from a self-styled reform governor who represents a new generation of leaders, it turned a lot of talking heads.
Here’s my take on why heads should probably stop turning. First of all, constitutional amendments are the last refuge of scoundrels. It’s the ultimate in mood affiliation campaigning, backed by the sure knowledge that it’s going nowhere and requires no actual work from the candidate aside from occasional applause lines about supporting it.
Second, this is one of those areas where Republican candidates get something of a free pass. Campaign reporters all know that this is the kind of thing Republican candidates “have” to do, and they take it as sort of an elaborate lodge handshake, rather than a truly antediluvian position that Scott Walker actually cares about. So they shrug their shoulders, dispatch a few paragraphs about it, and move on. Just another day in GOP-land.
Now, if they could find anything about some Walker relative being gay, or perhaps Walker owning a speedboat, or possibly honing campaign strategy in secret with the help of polling numbers—well, that would be a story. And if he controlled a foundation that gave billions of dollars to worthy causes? Well hold the presses! That would be flood-the-zone news indeed.
NOTE TO CAMPAIGN REPORTERS: Scott Walker is actually a pretty full-blown evangelical tea party type. He sands the edges off occasionally, but not really that often. Nobody should have been truly surprised by this.