I live in Wisconsin, and I've been following Scott Walker since the 2010 election here, and I have no idea what the "toxic strain of racial politics" refers to. But congratulations to TNR for its eye-catching and weird sexualization of Walker: "Scott Walker Is So Hot Right Now" and for having the nerve to sub-head with "too bad" as you smear him with the accusation of "toxic strain of racial politics." That "too bad" belongs in the annals of self-refuting statements. Anyone can within one second perceive that The New Republic isn't the slightest bit sad that there's this dirt to throw at Walker... this invented dirt for all I can tell.
If you look at the TNR website right now, you won't see this cover. It's still displaying last week's cover. I subscribe to the magazine, and this new issue just popped into my iPad.
ADDED: I can't link to the article, but I can read it on my iPad. It's titled — creepily — "The Unelectable Whiteness of Scott Walker." Sub-head: "A Journey Through the Poisonous World That Produced a Republican Star." It's written by Alec MacGillis.
AND: I have now read the long article, and the closest thing to anything racial coming directly from Scott Walker is his support over the years for voter ID laws. Much of the article is about the demographics of Milwaukee and the suburban counties around it, including the history — going back into the early 20th century — of how black people migrated to the city and did not — as white people did — relocate into the suburbs.
Milwaukee is an extreme example of this historical pattern, but Scott Walker didn't make this happen, and given that Scott Walker built his political career in the Milwaukee area, it's actually impressive that TNR could not find racial incidents and slips to pin on him.
The article also focuses on 2 talk radio hosts — Mark Belling and Charlie Sykes — who have big audiences in Milwaukee. TNR has little direct racial material on them, but it forefronts the one truly ugly thing it has: Belling mocking a specific black person, Milwaukee Congresswoman Gwen Moore. Mostly, TNR accuses Belling and Sykes of indulging in dog-whistle politics about crime and dependence on welfare.
I suspect that Alec MacGillis wrote a more balanced and sane draft but that TNR editors punched it up, trying to make it racial so they could justify that ridiculous sub-heading on the cover and the title and sub-head at the article. The Unelectable Whiteness of Scott Walker! Terrible. MacGillis provides some material about Scott Walker's early life, mostly about how he's the son of a Baptist preacher who took religion and politics very seriously from an early age. Some of that is sympathetic, though it's dotted with quotes from individuals who have reason to want to block Walker's ascent.
ALSO: Linking here, Instapundit says:
When Chris Hughes relaunched TNR, he promised that TNR would go “deeper than the headlines in a timely, unbiased fashion.” Nah. Just more Democratic operatives with bylines.AND: I wonder if TNR meant to send out the iPad app version before the material is up on its website. I think it's damned strange that I was able to show you that cover 2 hours ago, and it's still not up on the website, and that I could read the whole long article and give you my subjective understanding of what is in it before you can check the text. Do you think it's lack of website/app coordination at TNR, which would be inept, or do you think they want subscribers to get a special advantage, a sneak peak, which would be naive in a world with bloggers?
UPDATE: It's 6 hours since I posted this, and neither the cover nor the article are up at the TNR website.
UPDATE 2: TNR put the article up Sunday evening: here.