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Scott Walker Opens 2020 Presidential Season With Rip-Roaring Convention Speech

July 20, 2016

Politicos of all stripes turn into party conventions every four years to hear great oratory from men and women from around the nation who have strong views and high aspirations.  Wednesday night, after what can only be called a rather lackluster Republican convention, Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker bounded onto the stage and gave one of the best speeches heard from the Quicken Loans Arena.

I usually find fault with Walker on policy matters but I will be the first to say from this side of the aisle that what I saw from the convention stage was a truly spirited and masterful stroke.

Holding a microphone and standing near to the delegates, and apart from the podium, Walker proved that he had a keen sense of what makes for a convention crowd pleaser.  In a clear passionate tone with a  call-and-response style (“because America deserves better”) Walker not only attempted to sell Donald Trump to the nation, but also project his own name for the 2020 political season.

Much of what Walker gave to the audience was political red meat, which is exactly what party delegates want to hear.  He ripped Hillary Clinton and made some statements along the way that were less than accurate–to say the least.  For instance, he praised local control but Wisconsin knows that is not the way he governs.     But conventions are about emotion and optics and on those points Walker scored very high.

He deftly buried animosities with Trump, swinging 180 degrees from his statement at the time of withdrawing from his short-lived campaign.   Taking his newly-found position leaves him standing as a conservative fighter who did not undercut his party–which places him in a favorable place for 2020.  Walker left the stage hearing enthusiastic applause and cheers from the arena while in comparison Ted Cruz, a likely rival in 2020, was ushered off the stage with hoots and boos.

I sensed in Walker’s brief presidential campaign the inability to shake his mid-western image of being not overly bright and having a weak style when presenting his views.  On the latter point he removed all doubt Wednesday about not having a powder keg of energy to use in a national race.  (I will be kind in this post and not mention my former point.)

I understand that Walker has a rough path to pursue in Wisconsin given his low poll ratings along with a deep disgust from a large segment of the electorate.  But if he were to somehow prevail in another race for the statehouse Walker has the goodwill from a conservative wing of the party that will not forget how he acted when the party was split due to Trump.  There are many twists and turns that very well may work in Walker’s favor to allow him the chance to make another bid for the White House.

I am sure Walker was thinking of his hero, Ronald Reagan, who was gracious to Gerald Ford at the 1976 convention.  Ford lost that election and Reagan won the presidency four years later.

If all the stars align many will look back and recall that night in July 2016 when Walker wowed many–including this liberal Democratic blogger–from the convention stage in Ohio.

  1. July 21, 2016 9:33 PM

    Thanks, Gregory.

    Brief example — the former governor of Washington, Dixie Lee Ray, helped get a high school screw-up like me into college (on very strict probation, mind you). This wasn’t because I was rich–oh God no!–or had any connections at all. It was because she thought that messed-up kids like me deserved a second chance. I repaid my debt to her years later when I graduated with honors from UW-Madison.

    I thought of Tommy Thompson as a kind of friend too. The second time we met we joked about the Democratic government in Fitchburg where I lived back then. Basically he said that he enjoyed his jousting relationship with state Democrats. And it makes me sad that both times I met Tommy he was just walking around rubbing elbows with folks. Imagine that.

    And that’s why I used to have a favorable impression of governors. They cared.

  2. July 21, 2016 8:46 PM


    I do know where you are coming from and am there with you on the issues.

  3. July 21, 2016 8:19 PM

    I agree with your assessment all the way down the line.

    When I look at Scott Walker I see someone who caused a great deal of personal suffering to both myself and many people near and dear to me. I have lived in six states in my long life and never thought I’d live to see the day when a governor would harm his own constituents and show absolutely no remorse about doing it. Please understand where l’m coming from.

  4. July 21, 2016 7:41 PM


    When I write about policy matters such as union-busting, voter ID, etc. and how it relates to the Walker Administration I am always critical of the conservative reasoning. When it comes to the art of politics my track record shows I am really quite objective. I can view a political speech by almost anyone and give it fair treatment. It may be a conservative who does great or a liberal who gives a bad one–either way I am honest about how it came across when made. As to whether Walker should ever be elected to any office at any level of government we agree he should not be–but that is not the reality we face and from there it needs to be analyzed for what it is. That is what I tried to do with his convention address last night.

  5. July 21, 2016 6:50 PM

    Gregory — I will never understand your ongoing fascination with Scott Walker. What you saw last night was just more posturing for his next presidential run, and I think you know deep down that being POTUS is the ONLY job Scott Walker has ever cared about. Every single Wisconsinite has now been a victim, in one way or another, of Walker’s overweening ambition to attain a position even Donald Trump is more qualified to fill (college grad, resume with genuine accomplishments). I don’t know why you keep seeing things beyond the pathetic posturing of a sad human being who should have never even served on a county board.

  6. Solly permalink
    July 21, 2016 1:37 PM

    I didn’t see Wanker’s speech. I was rubbing lard on the cat’s boil, a much more pleasant experience. Although the patch on the cat reminded me of Wanker’s ever expanding bald spot. As a friend just said, he must have been remodeling more kitchen cabinets. 🙂 I see from a transcript that he alluded to Hillary’s email server and said she should be in prison. “After hearing the FBI Director’s recent comments, I wouldn’t even give Hillary Clinton the password to my iPhone – let alone access to classified information. This isn’t just another Clinton scandal, Hillary’s scandal put our national security at risk and that makes her unfit to be President. It’s time to tell Hillary: enough is enough. No more double standards for the Clintons.” Hmmm, did he mention the private email server in his Milwaukee County Executive office that he walked past every day, (when he wasn’t running for Governor) and that his taxpayer paid staff used to conduct electioneering on “work time?” Or that six of his hand-picked staff were convicted of misconduct in office, involvement in child molestation and defrauding veterans? As for 2020, he promises that if he runs for reelection as governor in 2018 he has “no plans” to run for president in 2020. Yeah, just like when he was reelected as County Exec he had “no plans” to run for governor in 2006 and 2010 and he “planned to serve a full term” when he asked to be reelected in 2014.

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