|Governor Scott Walker|
Dallas, TX - It wasn’t supposed to be this way. On Monday, 47 year old Evangelical Christian Scott Walker, former college dropout was not supposed to be able to announce, as he did, that he was running for the nomination of the Republican Party for the Presidency of the United States of America. The reason it wasn’t supposed to happen was because by this time Scott Walker should have been a dead meat forgotten about politician without a career.
Scott Walker did all the things you don’t do if you want to become president. He dropped out of college before he finished his degree to go and work for the Red Cross. And then he decided to become a far-right conservative, the sort of thing that doesn’t generally get you very far in a nation where the established ideal is many different variations of go-along-to-get-along.
Walker has gone through 14 different elections in his career, and he’s won 12 of them. Along the way he has gotten through a recall election partway through his first term as a coalition of labor unions in his home state united in attempts to destroy him after he passed laws which harmed the collective bargaining rights of some unions. Walker shouldn’t have survived that test, just as by the numbers he probably shouldn’t have won the election for governor in the first place in the liberal state of Wisconsin, and Democrats move hell and high water to try and be certain that in his third election in four years, in 2014, Walker would finally lose. Many thought he would, but he once again the balding governor came out on top.
Through all of this Walker has kept his sights on the ultimate prize in politics, the Oval Office, and now he is moving towards it with his official announcement. And the truth is that in a field of 14 other candidates, Walker has one of the best chances.
No one else besides perhaps Bush and Trump have Walker’s name recognition, and Trump is known for being a reality TV Star with lots of hair and Bush is known as the brother of one president and son of another.
Walker is known for so, so much more.
His fight with unions has raised his conservative credentials in many people’s eyes, as has his recent signing into law of prolife bills in his state. Walker, while being highly conservative, has managed to remain above the “crazy conservative” side of the party, and the fact that he is not a southerner may very well be a great selling point for him.
Walker has been accused by some, the New York Times included, of lacking intelligence and sophistication. While Walker may not have an IQ of 180, he certainly must be a highly intelligent man to have won so many campaigns and now be running for president. Being a governor, and with Walker, economically at least, being a relatively good one, isn’t for the dense or the idiots. Most Americans probably know that, and the fact that he doesn’t have a college degree probably won’t hurt Walker too much except in place like California and the East Coast, places he never was likely to win anyway.
What any candidate in this race needs, and what Walker has, is a folksy air that shows him or her off as a candidate of the people, and no one can deny that Walker is at the same time personable and dignified. Even Walker’s former opponent in a race well over a decade ago, Mary Jo Baas, said of Walker “When he talked to a group of people, people felt like he was one of them. He knew what connected, what resonated."
Lots of people don’t like Bush, lots of people don’t like Trump, some think Rubio is too young, Cruz too crazy, Carson too mild, Christi too corrupt, and Rand Paul too libertarian for their vote. There are other people running, but nobody knows who they are. So the only left for those people seems to be Scott Walker, which may be the reason that he is polling in first in Iowa.
Walker has skeletons in his closet, to be sure. That’s sort of the way in politics. But the people in Wisconsin know about them, the stories of supposed corruption, of his close staffers being accused of wrong doing, every true story and many that probably weren’t have been paraded against Walker, but still, in the blue state he was able to win. So apparently the skeletons aren’t bad enough to cause his downfall.
As of this morning, according to the nonpartisan poll averages site Real Clear Politics, Walker is behind Bush and Trump with nearly 10% of the vote for third place.
The field is very crowded, and the debates have not yet come. But it can be said of Walker. Even at this early junction while his own campaign is not yet 72 hours old. He is a man who could, possibly, maybe, and with a side order of we really don’t know, pull out a win.
Andrew C. Abbott