Steve M. has a pretty jaded view of the Republicans’ response to the latest Herschel Walker scandals. In his opinion, the GOP strategists actually welcome the controversy because negative media attention is precisely what Walker needs. He notes that the latest Fox News poll shows Sen. Raphael Warnock receiving a greater percentage of support from Democrats than Walker is getting from Republicans. What could change that in Walker’s favor? Nasty reporters asking nasty questions about an abortion Walker paid for back in 2009.
This has the potential to increase Walker’s support within his party. Republicans who were lukewarm about Walker might rally around him now.
Unlike in the past when Republicans fought back against troubling revelations by changing the subject or accusing the Democrats of similar offenses (whataboutism), the GOP now seems to be simply saying that Walker’s hypocrisy and lies don’t matter because, if elected to the U.S. Senate, he’ll serve as a loyal member of the party.
Republicans officials and their allies are making very public displays of support for Walker. The message is that whatever he’s done in his life, Walker will vote the way Republicans want him to vote — and also that he’s being attacked by the Democrat/media Axis of Evil…
…this time, Republicans are barely trying to change the subject. It appears as if they want the Walker scandal to be the subject, because they want Walker to be perceived as a victim of a brutal assault by the amoral do-anything-to-win liberals. And I worry that it might really work.
For one thing, the Republicans actually are trying the whataboutism offense, as can been seen here from Georgia resident Erick Erickson’s take on the controversy from a few days ago.
The forcefulness of Walker’s denial will matter to voters and he’s got to use it to pivot back to what is not a distraction to voters, their pocketbooks. And if he wants, he can tie it to Reverend Warnock’s own problems from running over his wife to trying to avoid a process server over child support, etc.
Erickson actually promulgated Warnock-ran-over-his-wife-and-obstructed-an-investigation-into-child-abuse allegations back in 2020 during the special election against Kelly Loeffler. Politifact judged them “highly misleading.” In the latter case, Warnock insisted that lawyers be present when teens were questioned and, although he was arrested, the charges were dismissed. As to the former, no one ever alleged that Warnock’s wife was run over.
Warnock called police to Ndoye’s Atlanta home shortly before 8:30 a.m. on March 2. According to a police report:
Warnock said Ndoye accused him of running over her left foot with his 2014 Tesla while they were arguing in her driveway. Ndoye was reluctant to show her foot to the officer, who wrote: “I did not see any signs that Ms. Ouleye’s foot was ran over.” Medical personnel arrived and were “not able to locate any swelling, redness, or bruising or broken bones on Ms. Ouleye’s left foot.”
Sounds like an ugly incident, but nothing like what Erickson has continuously alleged. As to the allegation that Warnock tried to avoid a process server, he didn’t try very hard.
Atlanta-area process server Frank Swindle said he was nevertheless able to serve the papers, which were part of the child custody court case.
Swindle told PolitiFact in a phone interview that he approached Warnock outside of Ndoye’s home and when he told Warnock he was there to serve him court papers, Warnock got in his car and began to drive away. Swindle said he was able to put the paper on the car’s windshield and saw it there as Warnock drove away.
“He drove away and he waved at me,” Swindle said.
So, as you can see, the Republicans are definitely trying to distract from Walker’s problems but suggesting that Warnock is no better.
I don’t see any way that it helps Walker to be exposed again as a complete liar and hypocrite. His advantage appears to be that the top of the Georgia ticket is the governor’s race between incumbent Brian Kemp and Democratic challenger Stacey Abrams. Kemp appears to have a strong lead and that is something Warnock will need to overcome if he’s going to keep his seat. Simply put, more Republican votes are likely to be cast for Kemp and Warnock needs some of those voters to reject Walker.
The crossovers will not come from stout Republican base voters, but from less partisan types. Walker can definitely win, but the abortion controversy isn’t going to be the reason why.