Scott Walker's Underappreciated Strengths
Scott Walker has a bundle of connected political virtues – a strength that will remain largely hidden but which will become increasingly apparent as his public career unfolds. Most presidential candidates fail and most presidents in office fail. Walker will not be among that gaggle of losers. He will, instead, be among that select number of presidential winners.
Consider the two most politically successful presidents since the end of the Second World War: Dwight Eisenhower and Ronald Reagan. Eisenhower and Reagan won every election in which they were candidates. Both men won their first presidential election with a majority of the popular vote and an electoral landslide.
Eisenhower in 1952 swept Republicans into control of both Houses of Congress while Reagan in 1980 gave Republicans control of the Senate and huge gains in the House. Eisenhower in 1956 and Reagan in 1984 won reelection by bigger landslides than the first time around. When these two men left office after eight years, they were genuinely popular among the American people.
Conservatives need not laud the policies of Eisenhower, who was definitely a RINO, but Eisenhower was very effective in actually implementing his policies. Reagan, who we all love, was as successful in implementing his policies as any president since Eisenhower; and more than that, Reagan was more successful implementing conservative policies than anyone in American history. Walker naturally possesses those qualities that made Eisenhower and Reagan successful presidents.
First, Walker strikes no one as an egghead or a wonk. He has the personality of an ordinary, good-hearted American – the kind of guy who coaches youth baseball teams or teaches Sunday School classes or gives us a ride to work when our car is in the shop. We see this as an understated but palpable decency – not sainthood or anything that fancy, but rather inherent American goodness.
Second, Walker speaks plainly. Reagan was eloquent and Eisenhower was not, but both men talked like the Midwesterners they were. Forget speeches. Think, instead, of Reagan after he was shot and facing death, telling the doctors treating his gunshot wound “I hope you are all Republicans” or to Nancy as she was rushed to his side, telling her “Honey, I forgot to duck.”
Think of Eisenhower responding to a reporter’s question about how much German he knew (regarding an upcoming presidential visit to Germany), when Ike answered: “One word: Eisenhower.” Or think of Eisenhower’s written statement, to be used if D-Day failed, accepting personally all the blame. This plain and honest language is the utter antithesis of everything Americans have come to hate in politicians.
Third, this plain talk followed by clear action is courageous because it rejects all the qualifications guided by polling data or political advisers. This sort of courage itself is the third aspect of successful presidents. When was the last time a politician displayed the same sort of political guts that Walker showed when legions of union goons overran Madison? It was when Reagan fired the striking air traffic controllers, who threatened to paralyze civil aviation in America. The ripples of that boldness reached the Kremlin, which grasped that a tough and decisive leader now confronted them on the world stage.
Fourth, because pseudo-intellectuals who pine to lead and to lecture us scorn ordinary decency, plain talk, and simple courage, these cloistered monks of Leftist orthodoxy invariably underestimate men who embody those vital virtues. So right up to the eve of the November 1966 general election, Leftist news anchors confidently predicted that Reagan would lose his bid to become California’s governor and then told us Reagan would be voted out in 1970 and that he could not win the 1980 presidential election. Only in 1984 did the Left, slobber-knocked so many times by Reagan in general elections, concede that Reagan would win re-election.
Watch how Scott Walker’s unfolding campaign is covered by the media. The very strengths that let Reagan not only win election but implement policies will be sneered at in Walker by a Leftist oligarchy that has no real notion of decency, sincerity or guts. Note that Walker has already said that his goal is not to win elections but then to do something with that victory (i.e. simply gaining power is not important.) This sort of talk befuddles Leftists who love power for its own sake and love, really, nothing else. Do not be surprised if Scott Walker becomes our long lost dream, the Next Reagan.