I was not sure if I was to laugh at the words from Scott Walker’s son, or to sneer. In the end I guess there was some of each upon hearing that Matt Walker believes that the left is scared of the Wisconsin governor.
“I think that those on the left are afraid because he has been able to fight on behalf of the people and win. He stood up for what he believes in and the people of Wisconsin stood up with him. Every time they have gone after him, it has only made him and this reform movement stronger.”
Well that is one way to see events. There is the fact that Walker did win three statewide elections in four years, and that his legislative agenda has slipped into law like a hot knife through butter. Except for court battles to shine light on questions of constitutionality much of what Walker has wanted he has been able to achieve. If that was the only way to judge political success than the words from the young Walker would be all that is required to know.
But of course there is more to ponder.
It is always easy for a politician to play to the base feelings of the electorate. We have seen that play out numerous times with such notables in our history such as Huey Long striving for class resentment and Richard Nixon’s racial play aimed at undercutting our political fabric. Walker hopes to cast himself in such a starring role. But if we turn the pages a bit further on our national story we see the downside of being tempted by those who seek to divide the electorate for their own political aims.
And that is exactly what Scott Walker has done. And continues to do.
The labor strike that has consumed this state was designed to split and fracture who we are as a people. To create such deep divisions within communities and families that bowling buddies spar with each other and holiday meals around the table are ripe for political explosions of emotion might have made Walker noticed on the national stage. But he failed at leadership if one defines it as bringing people together and thinking about state policy that lasts longer than a politician’s term of office.
The threat of damaging and eroding the prized educational institution that is the UW System, and severely harming UW-Madison is presented to show to early primary states that Walker has political machismo. Harming large sectors of Wisconsin and throwing back progress may cheer those of limited understanding on a cold caucus night in Iowa in 2016 but it does not make for a profile in courage.
The Young Turks in the Republican Party may view Walker with great pride as they have not much experience or sense of history from which to view the political landscape in Wisconsin. If they think, as they look at the recent past, and try to size up the mood of liberals that we are scared let me be the first to state most empathically that is not the case.
We are not scared of Scott Walker, we are appalled by him.
One only needs to look at the condition of our public schools after deep funding cuts, the demotion of science at the Department of Natural Resource’s, the undermining of voting rights, and the harm being done to women’s health care rights to make the case of how Walker has used our state to position himself for the conservative primary voters he will need to win the nomination.
I for one am not scared, but energized to make sure this country knows the full story of Walker’s time as governor. By the time we all have had our say I suspect if will be the Walker Team who will be scared of the political outcome.