Eliana Johnson comments on Scott Walker’s early stumbles on the national stage:

With everybody eager to be impressed, Walker’s performance nationally, unlike his performance in Wisconsin, is inconsistent.

The “inconsistency” of this performance comes from his lack of preparation on national and international issues. So far, Walker has not done much to remedy that lack of preparation, and donors are beginning to notice this. That would normally be ignored or minimized at this stage in the nomination contest. However, Walker has been built up so quickly (and prematurely) into a “first-tier” candidate that he is being taken far more seriously than another politician with a comparable background would be. He is also coming under much greater scrutiny earlier than usual because his name has already shot to the top of many polls. Normally, a relatively obscure governor from a medium-sized state would struggle to be noticed in the scrum of a nomination contest. Walker is unusual in that he already possesses a national profile that greatly exceeds his readiness to be a candidate at the national level, and for that reason he has been disappointing donors that expect far too much of him.

He is getting the attention and criticism that a front-runner would receive, but he doesn’t yet have the staff or policy briefings that such a candidate would use to cope with these things. Walker’s problem is that he imagines that he is still just testing the waters, but his performance is being judged as if he were already a declared candidate. Other would-be 2016 candidates might say things just as silly as what Walker has said on foreign policy, but he is being judged more harshly by many more people inside the party for his statements because he has been elevated to the top group of candidates despite the fact he hasn’t yet earned his place there.