The Wilderness | Issue .53 | 7 . 13. 2015 | Tweet
Eight years ago Barack Obama bound his own party to what proved to be a successful class warfare platform–for him, at least. Unfortunately, and largely due to him, that binding turned out to be more of a hamstringing: there isn’t much of the party he brought along with him left in Washington. Obama’s constant narrative of division by wealth, sex, race and geography (urban vs. suburban/rural, coasts vs. heartland), is wholly dependent upon grooming and molding enough elected talent within the party to keep it growing. And yet all that’s left of the vibrant, rising, seemingly invincible party that Obama took over in 2008 are a few surviving aged has-beens, Democratic lifers in safe blue states, and a handful of accidental Senators. (Thanks, midterms!) The social media powerhouse that once was Cory Booker now languishes Senate irrelevance and anonymity. Julian Castro, formerly a figurehead mayor and now a figurehead cabinet member, is on a meteoric rise thanks to the Democratic Party’s desperate need to create unprepared and inauthentic (yet demographically appropriate) stars.
Beyond that Obama’s legacy, as it relates to the very survival of his own party in every office save the Presidency, is one of the worst in modern American History. The Republican Party, not only in Congress but in the nation’s statehouses, is at its greatest strength since before the Great Depression. Now the Democrats find themselves tethered to a class-war narrative painfully at odds with the profile of their only viable nominee in royal oligarch Hillary Clinton (hence the rise of populist everyloon Bernie Sanders). It’s the worst kept secret of the 2016 election season.
Obama and the Democrats asked for a class war and it’s a class war they got: they sowed the seeds, and now they’re reaping the whirlwind in the form of blue-collar conservative, union busting, arch-nemesis Scott Walker.
Imagine winning three elections (one being a recall election that public sector unions poured thousands upon thousands of dollars into) in four years in the deeply divided blue-collar progressive Utopia of Wisconsin. Imagine breaking the back of the organized heart and soul of the Democrat party and dispatching AFL-
Imagine doing all this after Democratic state legislators fled for the safe harbor of Illinois to avoid voting on your legislation. Imagine having woken up every day to phone calls relating tales unionized shock-troops on your parents’ front lawn and threats not only on your life but the lives of your kids. Now imagine having the real heroes, the brave national media, mock and ridicule you over this. Imagine accomplishing all of this while a partisan Milwaukee District Attorney authorizes the illegal invasion of the homes of your friends, supporters and aides, lawlessly confiscating private property, all while colluding with Lois Lerner and the IRS.
Now. Having gone through all of that, imagine still having the desire to face down and defeat that kind of contumacious Alinskyism on a national scale.
Democrats are terrified of Scott Walker, and they should be.
He’s faced off against the new community-organizing wing of progressive politics firsthand and he’s defeated it. Multiple times. He hasn’t done it through a pre-branded corporate-approved cult of personality. He hasn’t done it by being the loudest guy in the room or prancing around with a selfie stick. He hasn’t done it with a throng of celebrity endorsements. He has simply behaved like a humble statesman articulating a clear set of conservative principles, and has remained the preternaturally silent center of the whirlwind raging around him. He has quietly and assiduously twisted a long knife. After 8 years of presidential playground hashtag talking points that prove nothing other than who can bark the loudest, Walker’s businesslike tenacity with his political opponents in the public square could be exactly what is wanted and needed. If the country is truly ready to move on from liberal celebrity showmen of the likes of Barack Obama and Donald Trump, Walker is the guy most apt to guide it beyond that point.
Scott Walker is far from perfect. But he might just be perfect for this particular fight.
In 2012 Team Chicago was able to paint Mitt Romney as the out-of-touch billionaire who likes firing people, has 50 car elevators and killed women with Bain Financial Cancer. It was a label that played right into Obama’s class combat. But Obama’s not running (despite the campaigning we’ll see from him come September of next year) and now the shoe is quite literally on the other foot. This past 4th of July holiday, as the press was lasso-wrangled like so many mooing cattle by her campaign, Hillary marched down the street donning Ferragamo shoes. According to department store websites those shoes run anywhere from $350 to $495.
In this past May issue of ELLE Magazine, Chelsea Clinton appeared in a lavish photo spread donning Gucci gowns ($1500 retail), a Derek Lam blouse ($890-$1390 retail ), Stella McCartney Trousers ($290-$610 retail) and blinged out in Tiffany bracelets and pendants. Back in March, Scott Walker while visiting New Hampshire stopped into Kohl’s Department store and bought a sweater for a speaking engagement. The cost of that sweater?
$1.00. One. Dollar. For a finely tuned media awash in narratives of out-of-touch Republican billionaires, this was such an affront to their sensibilities that Politifact was dispatched to confirm the claim, as was Business Insider.
Factcheck verdict: TRUE.
This past 4th of July, while Hillary was marching in designer flats, Scott Walker was addressing crowds wearing a t-shirt, ballcap and dirty jeans. While Hillary Clinton was making a grudging cameo at an Iowa BBQ swaddled in protective wool jackets in 85 degree midsummer heat, Walker was happily serving it himself, grilling it up and passing it around in cooking gloves and an apron. Hillary Clinton is making campaign appearances via a private chartered jet. Scott Walker is riding with crowds on his Harley Davidson.
By all means Mrs. Clinton, let’s have that class warfare discussion.
These are the rules that the far left of the Democrat party has set for anyone who dares step onto their playing turf, where most of legacy network media admittedly play the refs for them. No one is more equipped to make them play by their own rules than Scott Walker. Furthermore, there is this narrative developing from GOP Corporate that in order to move the country beyond the divisive class vitriol that has dominated Obama’s policies (rhetoric that, by the way, won’t end once he leaves office) the proper role of a candidate is to bring people together in Washington and heal the country. This was a prevailing theme of Mitt Romney’s campaign and is now taking shape with Jeb Bush.
On Curb Your Enthusiasm, Larry David, invoking the spirit of Henry Clay, quipped “a good compromise leaves everybody dissatisfied.” Compromise is the sort of talking point constantly pushed by moderates that pleases absolutely no one beyond the Beltway journalists feeding it to them. Conservatives–not even just the true-red hardcore ones, but the moderates as well who are tired of losing–don’t want a President who will reach across the aisle and work with Democrats. They want someone who will steamroll them like Obama did during his first two years, damn the torpedoes and full speed ahead. And Scott Walker? He’s certainly not going to be touting his record of working with Democrats in Wisconsin, not after signing Act 10, concealed carry, and Right-To-Work legislation into law…and that’s exactly why he’s enormously popular. Conservatives dream of someone who will break what’s left of the tired and aged Democratic minority in Congress, and leave them on an ash heap, barely able to comprehend how old and outdated their party faces have become while wallowing in the mess left for them to clean up as their own demi-god strolls out of office singing “Amazing Grace” to himself. There can be no compromise this election.
If he can tap into the average-humble-guy-from-the-heartland vibe, Walker will be immensely difficult to stop. He’ll have to overcome a media complex that will paint him as a cartoonish goofy looking derp puppet of the Koch Brothers, but that was a narrative that wasn’t too successful when Harry Reid’s goon squad attempted it this past November. It’s hard to see it working well outside of the activist Democratic base but that base will be out in force like a Middle Earth Orc army should Walker secure the nomination. This is a political ideology that will arm itself with every SNL cliche or College Humor trick in the book, especially when they won’t have Jon Stewart around to help them anymore. It will be a street fight and they will be looking to take back the skulls Walker has claimed from them. It’s the spotlight of the entertainment wing of the Democrat party that he has to be prepared for.
Walker can come off a bad impersonation of Wild Hogs-era Tim Allen. He’s got the goofy nerdy smile of a Jeff Dunham puppet, and his hairline begs for him to be a late night Ron Popeil infomercial star. But these can also be strengths if he plays them right, especially opposite Her Royal Excellence Hillary Clinton. They play right into the narrative of a country that the Obama administration and the northeast corridor media have been at all out war with for seven years. Flyover America is the most ignored and descriptively boring part of the country, but it is without question also the heart and soul of this nation, and Scott Walker defines that. Even if you live on the coasts, there is something curiously appealing about the idea of America’s Heartland having its revenge on a corporate Beltway complex that sits back and snarks about those silly Christians of Charleston with their multiracial harmony, or deplores the hayseed Ernst-crazy yokels of Iowa, and is all too happy to make fun of the cheesehead Packer hats and down home goofy accents of Sconnies. George W. Bush tapped into a variation on this sentiment in 2000 and 2004. And every time the Beltway writes this part of the country off, they usually come back stronger and more pissed off than before.
Scott Walker already is the “Mike Rowe” candidate, but he still has to sell it. And that may require using methods that directly contradict his campaign successes in Wisconsin.
Walker has been unsteady at times early on in this race. His unofficial campaign stumbled when he dismissed a popular media consultant for her (justified) criticisms of the Iowa GOP and their political hostage-taking tactics in presidential primaries. His digital team made good use of Instagram by revealing his logo in the popular grid technique (Several photographs laid out to make up a larger image). Unfortunately his team took six days to reveal it, and the logo seems to be directly lifted from a national mall chain of an eyeglass company. He needs to once and for all solidify an immigration policy and follow Rick Perry, Jeb Bush and Marco Rubio in dispensing of the cotton candy headed Clyde the Orangutan impersonator making fart noises with his mouth all over the country right now. We still don’t know where his stance is on innovation or net neutrality and like any governor running for Commander-In-Chief, we need a more detailed foreign policy plan other than simply what he feels in his gut.
Unlike many of GOP candidates racing for the 2016 prize, Walker is far less able to dismiss these early errors as staff decisions since, as profiled recently in the NY Times, he serves as his own primary campaign strategist. That might be the kind of strong bullheadedness we need from the coach of the Green Bay Packers, but it won’t mean a thing if Walker ends up strategizing himself right out of the election and (needless to say) it would be catastrophic if he were to do so in October of next year.
For all he does to include his sons, Matt (21) and Alex (20) into his stump speeches on why he seeks higher office, Walker could do more to utilize their talents as Midwestern millennials who understand conservative values, yet fall into that fast-developing category of young conservatives under 40 favoring same sex marriage and other socially liberal policies (even to the point of confronting him on the issue, as he has cheerfully admitted). No one is asking Scott Walker to sit down and smoke a joint with his kids–admit it though, the image is priceless–but they could prove to be his greatest weapon against a 70-year-old Hillary Clinton who refuses to drive a car and has come out against new social and mobile technology advances. The Walker Brothers could and should be dispatched to college campuses and employed in ads all over the country. They can help refine their dad’s message of a generational difference, not only between him and Grandma Clinton, but of the difference between the past and the future of the Republican Party itself, for an entire crop of college-agers searching for direction or begging for anyone who doesn’t look like their grandparents to hear their concerns. They certainly know what communication outreach websites like Reddit, Twitter and Snapchat are, and most likely use them far more than any other adviser Walker has on staff. Listen to them. Learn from them. Let them speak.
The media will immediately seek to write Scott Walker off as a goofy boring whitebread religious guy in a country with an ever-changing demographic makeup, and that narrative will grow even louder if he actually extinguishes the strongest and most diverse group of primary candidates in American history to win the nomination. Team Grandma would doubtlessly then run death-march focus groups until the panelists are leaving bloody clawmarks on the walls, all in order to scientifically determine which minority candidate best suits Hillary’s needs on the ticket without making her look like Miss Daisy. But Walker can avoid this by making it clear that the identity-driven politics of Barack Obama (who has been leasing out rent-controlled space to Walker inside his head since 2011) are going to be leaving office with him.
No Republican has ever defeated an Obama or a Clinton, and both will be campaigning to assure none ever will. Scott Walker, however, is the only candidate that has defeated their tactics. Unanswerable public sector unions and their overburdening costs and pensions are bankrupting the country both economically and educationally. For too long they had they’ve had free reign of the asylum, negotiating sweetheart deals with their well-puppeteered marionette politicians and torching every opponent that has stood in their way. All except one. As of today, Scott Walker becomes Public Enemy Number One.
And that’s exactly the way he wants it.
– SM –
* It was pointed out in comment section that a Republican has in fact defeated Bill Clinton once, in a local campaign –
“In 1980 Bill Clinton was defeated for re-election as Arkansas Governor by a Republican, Frank White.”