Last Thursday I was on an all-day secret mission to Washington (if you hear a series of large booms a couple years from now. . .), but the non-secret part of the itinerary was taking in Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker at AEI (video here), discussing his new book Unintimidated: A Governor’s Story and a Nation’s Challenge. The Wall Street Journal last Friday ran an excerpt from the book about how Walker approaches attracting the votes of swing voters—the so-called “Obama-Walker” voters. Worth taking in.
Needless to say, there is a lot of speculation about Gov. Walker as a potential candidate in 2016. Ron Radosh was also in attendance, and is bullish about the governor’s prospects as a candidate:
Listening to him and talking to him briefly after his speech, I was struck how down to earth he is. Scott Walker is the opposite of a striving, somewhat phony politician. He comes off as a regular guy, a man of principle who believes in the concept of public service, a man who is serious, thoughtful, and anything but the caricature of a sleazy politician in it for power. Moreover, he is solidly middle-class. No one can brand him the way that Mitt Romney was — as a candidate of the super-rich who disdains and scorns the 47 percent. . .
Having seen Walker in the flesh, I, like so many others, cannot help but be very, very impressed. He is a solid and decent family man who has a core set of beliefs he affirms and boldly stands for. He knows how to talk to voters, even those who differ with him. They may disagree, but they respect him for his beliefs and know that he will fight for them. I’m sure Scott Walker has not as yet decided what he will do, but I hope he does enter the race.
I agree with Ron about Walker’s authenticity and middle class appeal. I admire his shrewdness and moreover his enormous personal strength in facing down the union goons in their Nuremberg rally moment at the Wisconsin capitol two years ago. Many lesser politicians would have crumpled or compromised under that kind of pressure. Unquestionably he would be a good president.
But I came away less sure than Ron that Walker has what it takes to be a successful presidential candidate. I didn’t think he displayed the central focus of a potential candidate. That “fire in the belly” thing is hard to figure out, and can be repellent in many cases, but Walker doesn’t—yet—exude that kind of passion that is the sine qua non of modern retail presidential campaigns.
But it is very early yet, and he may very well have a patient, deliberate plan for a campaign, which necessarily involves getting re-elected in Wisconsin next year. I am sure the left will come after him with everything they’ve got. I hope he does run for president in 2016. If you have the time, watch the video of his conversation with Marc Thiessen and see what you think.