For Scott Walker, Quinnipiac has some good news and some bad news:
"Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker is taking the Republican political world by storm," said Quinnipiac University Poll Assistant Director Peter A. Brown. "He's gone from being unknown outside Wisconsin to the hot candidate, poised to become the front-runner for the GOP presidential nomination. Front-runner status would make it easier for Gov. Walker to raise money and recruit top talent for his staff, but it also puts a target on his back."
A big one. As the pollster also noted, "It's worth remembering that former Sen. Rick Santorum and former Gov. Mike Huckabee won the last two caucuses and neither came close to the nomination." Indeed, for Republicans, Iowa may be a targeted curse. Its intensely conservative, caucus-going turnout — 45 percent self-identify as "very conservative" — reflects an ideological ardency that weakens in primary states. Like Santorum and Huckabee before him, Walker's race to the feverish bottom to reach the temporary top could be the single-most idiotic move he ever makes.
Or maybe not. Who knows? What I believe, though, is that both right and left are misreading the Walker phenomenon. The right sees him as brilliantly portraying its own mindless brand of politics, so he's the man. The left's analysis is essentially the same, except that "cynically" replaces "brilliantly." But from this point on, every time Walker either cynically or brilliantly says something worthy of Michele Bachmann, the GOP elite — i.e., the money — will see nothing but a general-election loser. And that's when the target on Walker's back will become as big as the side of a barn.
While money doesn't always prevail, it remains the safest bet one can place. And though Walker's money-raising efforts may now be eased, Jeb Bush will still have most of the cash. Because with Romney out, Bush is money's only hope.