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