- - Tuesday, February 3, 2015

ANALYSIS/OPINION:

ANALYSIS/OPINION:

With a generous baker’s dozen preening and jockeying for early attention, this Republican presidential nomination fight appears to be turning into another none-of-the-above contest.

Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker crashed this week’s Drudge Poll by collecting 46 percent of votes, and that was in a pared-down field of 13 possible candidates.

Next nearest was Ted Cruz with 14 percent and Rand Paul with 12, at last tabulation. Scrounging up scraps and crumbs off the floor were the likes of Rick Santorum, Mike Huckabee, Rick Perry and some guy named Bush.

Other polls have shown that two-time loser Mitt Romney held the strongest position in the field — until he determined that once again he could not win and dropped out.

A Fox News poll conducted last week showed that instead of going to any one establishment choice, Mr. Romney’s support mostly scattered to the four winds.

Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush (the Other White Meat in this race), marginally picked up the largest portion of Mr. Romney’s support, according to the Fox News poll, but he remained very much bogged down in the swamp of other has-beens, never-weres and day-old bread.

For the man who is supposed to be the “establishment candidate,” this must be very troubling news.

Which is why Scott Walker’s break-out performance in the Drudge Poll is so important.

One of the most appealing things about Scott Walker is that right now very few people really know who he is. They know he is a Republican governor from a swing state who has never been a politician in Washington. They know he had some big fight with the teachers and public employee unions out in Wisconsin. They know he didn’t back down. And he won. And then he won re-election.

Unlike the seemingly endless raft of Republican retreads, Scott Walker isn’t remembered for being laughed off a debate stage, choking on camera during a prime-time political address or failing to convert his party’s nomination into a November victory. The biggest word on his resume is not “LOSER.”

Which, for long-suffering sane Americans desperate for an end to our long, national nightmare, this is really good news. We will have to see if Mr. Walker can hold up under the heat of the spotlight.

Now, as for the Other White Meat, Jeb Bush has a lot of explaining to do. Does he, for instance, worry that running a “Bush” against a “Clinton” might totally undermine the Republicans’ best argument against former first lady, ex-senator and retired Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton? That it is time for someone new? That it is time for a fresh approach? You know: Time to MoveOn.org?

Also, Mr. Bush has a pretty troubling record when it comes to amnesty for illegals and federal meddling in education. The fact that even with Mr. Romney — the Original White Meat — out of the race, Mr. Bush cannot break from the pack suggests that Mr. Walker has plenty of time to prove himself.

Charles Hurt can be reached at charleshurt@live.com, and on Twitter at @charleshurt.

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