Reader Dave Begley previously reported for us on Bernie Sanders in Council Bluffs, Iowa. Today he returns to the scene to report on Scott Walker (photos supplied by Mr. Begley):
This morning I attended a meet and greet rally in Council Bluffs for Governor Scott Walker. I arrived on time but the room was already full with 100-plus and lots of media so 25 of us were sent to the cafeteria.
When Scott arrived, and after he was introduced, he stood on a chair and addressed the crowd. He wore denim, a short-sleeve shirt and some nice work boots. (I would like a pair of that brand!)
I will get to the substance of his remarks, but I want to convey my main impression. Walker has such a calm, nice and affable manner that he really strikes people as an ordinary guy. The Harley business is for real. He connects with regular Americans. Cf. HRC.
When I spoke with him I told him that my daughter, Mary Dahlman Begley, works at a business in Madison. He knew all about it as it is only blocks from the State Capitol. My sister is a Marquette alum and he was familiar with an infamous Marquette bar. He told me that he has one son at Marquette and another at UW. I am a great admirer of Wisconsin basketball coach Bo Ryan and I told him so. He reminded me that Bo has one year left. He worked the whole crowd the same way.
Now maybe the above should be no surprise as, after all, he is a politician. But here’s the thing. Think about what this guy has been through in the past five years. He and his family received death threats. (At least two Secret Service guys there today.) His workplace was occupied 24/7 for months by 100,000 people. The unprecedented criminal prosecution of some of his associates just ended yesterday. Not only did he win, he did so with a smile. That is impressive on a personal basis. He can relate to people who have had their own trials and challenges.
I agree with John Podhoretz’s assessment of Walker: He is a tough politician who wears his toughness lightly.
His remarks lasted ten minutes, not 75 like Sanders’s.
He started out by asking for a prayer for the five dead Marines, victims of radical Islam.
His main theme is that the current good GOP field consists of fighters and winners. He is different because he has fought and won. Powerful message.
He said he would enact bold reforms. No great detail and he just mentioned in passing tax reform, photo ID for voting, unions, spending, schools and defeating ISIS.
He lived in Iowa as a child and told a nice story about how he and his brother raised money for a flag. He pulled out an old photo from his jeans pocket to prove it. Nice stage touch. Reagan would approve.
He asked for people’s vote. I think that is important. And he closed by saying he wants to make our country great again.
As a lawyer, I took special note of his final comment. My notes read “make our country great again” but he might have said “make America great again.”
Trump, of course, has trademarked the phrase, “Make America great again.” I suspect that Walker is using that phrase intentionally and setting a sly trap for The Donald.
I was very impressed with Scott Walker. Scott and Carly would be a great ticket.
The Walker RV has a big map of Iowa on the back. People can sign it. I signed it too, but on the Nebraska side of the river.