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December 17th, 2017

Insight

Who is this Scott Walker?

Paul Greenberg

By Paul Greenberg

Published March 31, 2015

Who is this Scott Walker, and why has he taken off like a house afire in the race for next year's Republican presidential nomination even before it's really begun?

He's the governor of Wisconsin who's electrified his party and maybe American taxpayers in general by winning election after election in his state over the last four years, including an attempt to recall him, despite every trick the usual, unholy alliance of Democrats, union bosses and vested interests have pulled against him. That included a mass occupation of the state Capitol in Madison -- and now he's supposed to be ahead by double digits in the bellwether Iowa caucuses, whatever that kind of early polling result means, if anything.

Gov. Walker came to the country's attention much the same way a once obscure governor of Massachusetts named Calvin Coolidge did during the Boston Police Strike of 1919, when the laconic New Englander ("Silent Cal") declared in ringing terms: "There is no right to strike against the public safety by anybody, anywhere, any time." That statement of principle electrified the country and led to his election as vice-president in 1920, and then a highly successful tenure in the White House when he succeeded Warren G. Harding as president in 1923.

And yet Scott Walker has been dismissed as just an ordinary person, a charge to which he proudly pleads guilty. It's enough to bring back how the super-sophisticated Walter Lippmann described Franklin Roosevelt during the run-up to the presidential campaign of 1932: "He is a pleasant man who, without any important qualifications for the office, would very much like to be president."

You know who's not an ordinary person, Scott Walker asks, and responds: Hillary Clinton. "Saying you're broke when you've got two homes, or you're making a quarter of a million dollars a speech, or you haven't driven a car in 18 years, those are all things that I think further embolden that theory that someone like Hillary Clinton who is of Washington -- who lives in Washington, who worked for the last term for President Obama in Washington, who served in the Senate in Washington, who lived in the White House in Washington, who spent the early days of her career in Washington -- this is someone who embodies Washington."

Oh, she's extraordinary, all right, and the American people may be sick of that kind of inbred Washington elite. For good reason. As governor of his state, Scott Walker has cut both property taxes and income taxes, supported school choice and pushed pro-life legislation. There's no doubt about his credentials as an American conservative, but at the same time he's no radical, and has been willing to make practical compromises to get his program enacted.

Perhaps the most appealing thing about Gov. Walker is the liberal/media claque who have consistently tried to smear him without any factual basis. For example, Gail Collins of the New York Times (of course) claimed he was responsible for firing hundreds of hard-working teachers in 2010 -- never mind that Mr. Walker didn't become governor of Wisconsin till 2011. A minor detail.

Another liberal apparatchik, Katha Pollitt, a columnist for The Nation, called Scott Walker a hypocrite because he'd fathered a child in college and tried to get the mother to abort it. Not a word of truth to that, either.

John Cassidy of The New Yorker, another real sweetheart, called Gov. Walker "an odious politician whose ascension to the presidency would be a disaster." It sounds as if it would be more of a relief.

Recommended reading: "See Scott Run" by John McCormack in the March 23, 2015, Weekly Standard, for something tells us Scott Walker has only begun to run for president of the United States.

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Paul Greenberg is the Pulitzer-winning editorial page editor of the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette.

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