02/27/2015 11:01 am ET Updated Dec 06, 2017

Scott Walker's 47 Percent Moment

Image credit: USA Today

In September 2012, Mitt Romney's presidential campaign ran aground when his rhetoric misfired and he appeared to make a blanket condemnation of half of the American electorate.

His campaign never recovered.

Yesterday, the Scott Walker campaign hit precisely the same trap when he not only compared American workers to the terrorist group ISIS, but actually implied that they were worse than ISIS.

This was an intense example of what happens when rhetoric goes wrong. Here's the offending Walker statement:

"If I can take on 100,000 protestors, I can do the same across the world"

The statement was made in response to a question about how a President Walker would handle ISIS, and the response Walker delivered was coded into a structure called the argument-from-strength. It basically says "If I can win in this situation then I can win in any situation."

Think of Frank Sinatra and his famous line from the song 'New York, New York'

....If I can make it there, I'll make it anywhere....

That's an argument-from-strength -- it's saying 'those Broadway audiences -- they're as rough as they come. If I can handle those guys then I can handle anyone.'

That's the structure Walker used, and the effect was to accidentally claim that not only can American citizens be compared to ISIS, but that they're actually worse than ISIS.

Expect to see a lot of damage-control coming out of the Walker camp in the days to come.