By Jay Bullock Special to Published Sep 15, 2015 at 9:16 AM

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A couple of months ago, I wrote in these pages that (alleged) Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker does not tell the truth, and he does not answer questions. I would like to add a third thing to that list: Scott Walker does not know when to quit.

And I'm not just talking about quitting the race for the Republican presidential nomination next year. I mean, I think it's clear at this point that his campaign is toast: He's canceling events in mid-primary states to camp out in the early primary states of Iowa and South Carolina. His Iowa poll numbers look an awful lot like that Wisconsin recall TV ad where Walker was standing in a hole, and Rick Perry has shown exits this season can be surprisingly graceful.

Walker does at least have poll numbers that register in positive territory, which puts him ahead of about half the remaining GOP field, so I can understand why he hasn't quit that yet.

But other things? He does not know when to quit them.

For example, last week Walker was asked in New Hampshire about the current Syrian refugee crisis. This is the famous "there's no such thing as a hypothetical" you by now have heard about. He refused to answer and in doing so basically explained that the entire process of running for president ("If you vote for me, I will do this!") was impossible. Apparently, we have all been suffering mass delusion – which, come to think of it, would explain Donald Trump.

This brave anti-hypothetical stance was, of course, belied soon after, when not only did Walker start answering that particular question, but, standing at the holy site where St. Ronald of Tampico spent his college years, Walker outlined his first-day agenda to "wreak havoc" if elected president.

The "Walker doesn't know when to quit" lesson here is several-fold. For one, Walker should quit clumsily dodging questions. It's entirely possible that he didn't know how to answer on the Syria thing. Let's be honest: I sure don't, and you sitting there reading this probably don't, either. So Walker, focused on governing this state (pause for laughter) and boning up on ethanol issues and whatever people in New Hampshire care about, probably didn't plan an answer to that question.

One of the great lessons of adulthood is that it's okay to just say, sometimes, that you don't have a good answer yet for some hard questions. It doesn't make you sound stupid – at least, certainly not more stupid than to broadly claim that hypothetical questions to candidates can't be answered.

Additionally, Walker needs to quit suggesting he will "wreak havoc" with his day-one agenda. Not simply because one of the bullet points on that agenda is to scuttle the Iran nuclear deal, which might cause a kind of havoc this world just isn't ready for, and another is to repeal Obamacare which would create chaos in the healthcare marketplace assuming we all survive the nuclear winter.

But also because Walker has a particular legacy here in Wisconsin of creating deep division and stoking resentments. I don't doubt that there's a subset of the Republican primary base that really thrives on such things, but for the vast majority of Americans, who already feel that the nation is too divided and government too partisan, that's not going to be a winning message.

Further, Walker's promise to sew discord followed hot on the heels of his publishing an op-ed on the right-wing site Hot Air, titled – and I am not making this up – "We Need a Uniter-in-Chief, Not a Divider-in-Chief."

In case you think maybe the title was written by someone on staff at Hot Air, as titles over reported articles and opinion pieces alike are, traditionally, an editor's domain, Walker wrote these words himself: "After years of division under President Obama, America needs a leader who will seek to unite all Americans."

Yes, ladies and gentleman, the same man who penned that sentence promised, just days later, to unleash upon all of America the kind of division he unleashed here in Wisconsin. Because he doesn't know when to quit.

The focus of the op-ed was violence against police officers, and as the sentence above suggests, Walker blames President Barack Obama for what Walker calls "a rise in anti-police rhetoric." Walker says this "inflammatory and disgusting rhetoric has real consequences for the safety of officers." Since Walker opens his piece by invoking the recent shooting deaths of two police officers, he's clearly drawing a line between dots labeled President Obama, the Black Lives Matter movement (though Walker doesn't name them), and the murder of police officers.

The big problem for Walker, of course, is not merely that he shouldn't have tried to make this ridiculous piece of anti-Obama sentiment stick. It's that he doesn't know when to quit with it.

As many people have pointed out, especially the Washington Post's Radley Balko, who is no special friend to liberals and Democrats, police are much safer today than they were in "the America I grew up in" that Scott Walker so fondly remembers. The idea that there is a growing threat to or some new war on police officers is simply a "false narrative," in Balko's words.

Walker also misstates what's happening in the Black Lives Matter movement, and ignoring that much of the most public anti-law enforcement rhetoric of the last few years, as I've written here before, comes from conservative anti-government types; think Cliven Bundy or the Oathkeepers. Walker would know more about Black Lives Matter if he wanted to; in fact, he could live up to his (sometimes) self-proclaimed image as a uniter by bringing that group to the GOP table. And he would earn that their rhetoric is not, in fact, anti-police. They argue, for example, for better training and fairer contracts for officers, which seems pro-police to me, and ask that police be held to a standard that matches their high standing in the community.

Further, Balko says, Walker's emphasis on anti-police rhetoric is still missing the point and not indicative of any kind of a "war" on police. "All of this new skepticism, criticism, forced transparency, and mistrust of the police is ... how a democracy is supposed to work," he says, since that's how the needle gets moved on public policy.

But did Walker quit? No, of course not. This past weekend, Walker spoke to CNN by satellite from Iowa, where I guess he's kind of living now, and dug in his heels. Obama's "absence of leadership, of speaking out on this issue as a leader" is the real problem, Walker said.

"When people are going after the men and women in uniform," Walker went on, "it is the duty of the president to stand up and say something about that and speak up. He has been silent on this, and that's an outrage."

It must be very sad on the Walker campaign bus, since apparently they don't have internet access. It doesn't take much Googling or Binging to find things like Obama's statements about what happened in Baltimore earlier this summer, when he clearly condemned anti-police violence, destructive demonstration and anything else that distracts from "entirely legitimate concerns."

"We should be lifting them up," Obama said about those speaking and protesting peacefully, rather than those spouting negative rhetoric – and he lay a lot of the blame for this at the feet of the media, who would rather show a burning building (or, as Walker would suggest, "demonstrations and chants where people describe police as 'pigs' and call for them to be 'fried like bacon'") than peaceful, cooperative activism. Over and over, Obama has insisted that we need to "help police," not attack them.

So about Obama and anti-police violence, Walker needs to quit there, too, but he won't. Because he doesn't answer questions, he doesn't tell the truth, and he doesn't know when to quit.

Jay Bullock Special to
Jay Bullock is a high school English teacher in Milwaukee, columnist for the Bay View Compass, singer-songwriter and occasional improv comedian.