Monday, July 20, 2015

July 20, 2015--Great Scott!

Great Scott? Scott Walker the legendary governor of Wisconsin who managed to get voters in the Badger State to keep him in office in spite of fierce and well-financed attempts by unions and other progressives to recall him because of his political glee at, to quote Hillary Clinton, "stomping on working people," particularly unionized state workers. Everyone, that is, but the police and firefighters whose support he did not want to jeopardize.

He gave one impressive speech a few months ago at the annual show-and-tell meeting of the conservative action committee, CPAC, and that propelled him into the lead among the other 15 to 16 Republican candidates. But since that time, because he dawdled about getting into the race officially, Jeb Bush, Donald Trump, and perhaps Ben Carson jumped into the lead in the polls and the big GOP money began to drift elsewhere.

So his formal announcement last week that he's running was awaited with considerable interest since some pundits feel that his blue-collar, evangelical roots and lack of formal education are assets in this discombobulated time and that he, or Marco Rubio, might be the two best Republican candidates to do well against Hillary. Since by their age and grayless hair if not their ideas and ideology they claim they are from the next political generation.

Walker's announcement was noteworthy for a least three reasons--the first and most predictable and boring was that in his 40 minute speech he ticked off literally every conservative Republican talking point from his call for the repeal of Obamacare to tax cuts for the affluent to prime the trickle-down pump to opposing the deal with Iran (even before it was struck or read) to opposing same-sex marriage and abortion.

Second, in this era where only he and Ben Carson speak without teleprompters or notes, he droned on in his jeans and tieless shirt not making any gaffs (he is prone to them) nor stumbling for words. This gave what he had to say a tincture of authenticity.

But, third, and most interesting, he began by saying, and repeating that he is an American and loves being an American. As if he is running against a Kenyon president who hates America but loves it enough to want to overthrow the Constitution by invading Texas and after that turning the USA into a socialist dictatorship.

Stories about veterans he knew when growing up were laced as a motif throughout his remarks. First, he told of an old fellow who served in both world wars. And subsequently a neighborhood Vietnam vet who taught little Scott about liberty and patriotism and love of country.

Virtually wrapped in the flag they both fought to defend, Walker did not say anything about why, so inspired by these two remarkable veterans, he himself never showed up at the recruiting office or why he decided not to serve. He and The Donald and Jeb and Marco share that gap in their resum├ęs.

He also didn't mention that, though anti-governement by choice and nature, he has never had a job other than as a taxpayer-supported government official. Beginning from when he was just twenty-two. So, ironically, he has been on a public payroll of one sort or another for more than any other candidate. For fully 26 of his 48 years.

Considering his lack of foreign policy experience, in March, when he was an all-but-declared candidate, at an event in Phoenix he was pressed to explain what qualifies him to serve as commander in chief.

By a friendly interlocutor he was asked--

"Does the prospect of being commander in chief daunt you?"

Before reminding you what he said at that time, earlier in March, at the CPAC gathering, on the same subject, he said he was prepared because he had stared down union workers and their supporters. He said that, "If I can take on 100,000 protestors, I can do the same across the world." He was referring to ISIS, claiming he could do the same thing to them he did to drivers license bureau workers, tax collectors, building inspectors, and such.

This did not go down well so a few days later in Phoenix, in regard to the commander-in-chief question, he was better prepared--

"That's an appropriate question," he acknowledged, "As a kid, I was in Scouts. And one of the things I'm proudest of when I was in Scouts is I earned the rank of Eagle."

That did not seem to qualify him to hawkish voters so last week, to emphasize his social conservatism, and change the subject, he criticized Boy Scouts of American for voting unanimously to allow gay men to be Scoutmasters. Though when confronted about that he again backtracked.

Clearly, going forward he needs to get his act together or the Iowa caucuses, where he needs to come in in the top tier, may be the first and last stop for him. I feel certain that the Koch Brothers are watching closely and if they haven't already, will soon be moving on.

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