Herschel Walker, the Donald Trump-backed Republican nominee for Senate in Georgia, looking to unseat Senator Reverend Raphael Warnock recently said he thinks he will probably be beat by Warnock in their only debate scheduled for next month, as he downplays his own intelligence:
“I’m a country boy. I’m not that smart. He’s a preacher. [Warnock] is smart and wears these nice suits. So, he is going to show up and embarrass me at the debate Oct. 14th, and I’m just waiting to show up and I will do my best.”
Walker, the former University of Georgia football star and 1982 Heisman Trophy winner, said the above at a recent campaign stop, but not everyone is buying the humility and self-degradation as all that sincere.
MSNBC’s Steve Benen, a producer on Rachel Maddow’s show, penned an op-ed claiming Walker was using the “dumbing down” of himself as a campaign strategy. And while Benen is probably correct, it should be noted that Walker is already plenty of dumb without making his dumbness into a political tool.
“In campaigns, this is what’s known as “managing expectations. Ahead of their Senate debate, it’s in Walker’s interest to set expectations so low that he’ll win just by showing up. Warnock is one of American politics’ most gifted orators; Walker struggles to speak coherently; so the Republican is deliberately downplaying his chances so that viewers will tune in and be impressed if he manages to speak in complete sentences.”
Benen noted that it may end up working in Walker’s favor, as strange a strategy as it may be:
“As political forums go, debates tend to favor those who struggle with substantive details because, due to practical constraints, candidates are required to give short answers”
Walker has made headlines with a number of head-scratching statements regarding things like a rant on bicycles in response to a question about his mental acuity, questioning the number of trees in response to a question on climate change and falsely claiming to have worked in law enforcement three separate times.