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Milwaukee's Daily Magazine for Wednesday, July 30, 2014

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Plenty of people are still angry with Scott Walker, but that's not why he can't win a presidential election.
Plenty of people are still angry with Scott Walker, but that's not why he can't win a presidential election. (Photo: shutterstock.com)

He can't win: Walker's missing presidential credentials

Scott Walker has done a good job transforming Wisconsin into a place where businesses want to immigrate, expand and succeed. If you consider the 18 months of turmoil that started his term, it’s an accomplishment to have gotten anything done.

Wisconsin’s manufacturing sector was in rapid deterioration and was no longer competitive for potential businesses looking to grow. Walker stopped the bleeding by reducing regulation and cutting taxes. By focusing on the private sector, he is rebuilding the revenue generating tax base the right way for a stable future.

Of course, his most controversial action was signing legislation to reduce collective bargaining privileges for most public employee unions. These privileges were removed by the same legislative process that added them, yet the methods of outcry bordered on comical. Despite the failed recall attempt, many Wisconsin schools are seeing the benefits that come with putting the students ahead of the teacher’s union in the classroom.

Getting Wisconsin in sound fiscal shape was completely overdue. Becoming efficient and making more with less is the exact opposite of what government seems to accomplish. In truth, the private sector learned the realities of efficiency years earlier. To maintain some sort of future fiscal sanity, the government eventually had to do reign in out of control spending. Our governor deserves a great deal of credit for having the courage to enact fiscal change in a Progressive atmosphere.

Despite all of these positive actions, I cannot recommend that Scott Walker run for president. He can’t win. He won’t win.

There are a few reasons that Scott Walker would be an enormous mistake in the general election. First, he has no college degree. While there have been other presidents without that small piece of paper, a simple history lesson will illustrate why Walker is in a modern day class by himself.

Harry Truman was the last President not to have a college degree. However, Truman was elected vice president. It wasn’t until after he had three years of presidential experience that he was truly elected president.

Grover Cleveland also was elected president without a college degree. But he was the governor of New York, which comprised 16 percent of his Electoral College total in the 1884 contest. He also served his terms before things like the automobile were mass produced and the middle class was created.

There were seven other presidents without degrees but none of them were elected after the Civil War. My point is that the last president without a college diploma and no prior vice presidential experience was born the same year Michigan became a state.

While this may seem harsh, this is entirely Scott Walker’s fault. As the county executive of Milwaukee County, he worked and lived within mere miles of several college campuses. As governor, he works within walking distance of the best school in the state of Wisconsin. Walker chose not to finish his education, and choices have consequences.

Ideally, he would have finished up by taking night classes while still in local politics. Instead of traveling to China for trade agreement negotiations, or all over the country giving speeches, he could have poached Illinois businesses dying to leave while currently taking one class every semester.

But he didn’t, and those choices will haunt him if he seeks higher office.
After witnessing Mitt Romney get systematically torn down by the media, do you really think they will be respectful of Walker’s lack of Ivy League schooling? If you think I’m being unfair, what do you think the media will do? The smugness, the jokes, the cackles and the declarations of stupidity from the stupid will ring clear for the two years leading up to the election.

Finally, Scott Walker is not the type of candidate that can beat "Billary" in 2016. The machine that is Hillary Clinton will have many advantages such as money and name recognition. Combine those with their presidential, gubernatorial and Senate experience and they are a formidable team. A white, uneducated, middle class governor from tiny Wisconsin stands no chance professing socially conservative views in a country becoming younger and more ethnically diverse by the day.

Conservatives are going to have to make a choice. To stand firmly against social issues that are rapidly evolving around them is extremely challenging for future victories. To stand firm against social issues based on religion viewpoints is political suicide. To defeat the Clintons, the Republican candidate in 2016 must have liberal social views.

If the thought of this makes you cringe as a conservative, examine the realities. A conservative candidate could be pro-NRA, pro-business and anti big government while cutting your taxes. Would you rather have eight years of Hillary Clinton and the march toward European collectivism or a staunch fiscal conservative that is pro-choice and thinks gay people should be able to get married?

Sadly, I think I know the answer to that question.

Talkbacks

fetlarpo | April 25, 2013 at 5:28 p.m. (report)

AJ ..John reached me via email. John deserves better than what I said. It just bothers me to see conservatives criticizing conservatives. Let the Socialists do that. His education theory is flawed. Most people working in factories have more common sense than liberals. With all of Romney's vast ivy league experience few blue collar Reagan republicans came out for him. The press will attack Walker for being another white guy, for being against gays, for being pro vouchers...though if a crisis comes and America needs a leader he may be the leader left standing..

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AndrewJ | April 25, 2013 at 1:55 p.m. (report)

36464 Wow. Spot on, John.
@fetlarpo - you seemed to take this as an article bashing Scott Walker. It was the exact opposite. It's being pointed out how terrible Walker would be crucified in the media over a trivial issue. But if Romney saying "47%" is enough to cost him the election... what do you think would happen to Walker over the issue of not having a degree? MSNBC would have to throw up a NC-17 rating because Chris Matthews would probably orgasm while hollering about it.

Republicans will not stand a chance in the next election cycle, or any future election cycle, until they drop the social righteousness that occupies the fringes of the party. Period. Talk to people about dollars and cents... not about what they can do in their free time.

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crackerbat | April 24, 2013 at 10:20 p.m. (report)

I honestly can't agree with you more. Conservatives (I being one of them) really need to break away from the die hard religiousness. To be fair, they really need to take a page from libertarians.

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Crew_Dat | April 24, 2013 at 7:17 p.m. (report)

This became a comedic article as soon as it said his policies were even close to positive. Have done NOTHING good.

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Frostyguy | April 24, 2013 at 7:09 p.m. (report)

One of your conclusions is interesting. "A conservative candidate could be pro NRA, pro business and anti big government while cutting your taxes. Would you rather have eight years of Hillary Clinton and the march toward European collectivism or a staunch fiscal conservative that is pro choice and thinks gay people should be able to get married?"

Any choice that is different than Hillary is a good choice. Heck I would rather have a different Democrat than Hillary. Why does a staunch fiscal conservative have to support Gay marriage? Why not support "NO government involvement in any marriage" instead? I think the government should be out of the marriage business entirely. If the government wants to acknowledge "civil contracts between two parties" I have no issue with this. Marriage has been a religious institution since the beginning of our country and it should remain a religious institution (In my opinion). Half of the main debate right now deals with the legal side of marriage. Why not just end the debate and get the government out of the debate entirely? So, instead of Gay individuals wanting to be like the rest of us married people, lets make married people like the rest (as far as the government is concerned). Lets eliminate the marriage penalty or benefit on taxes, lets simplify the argument.

All of this could easily happen without having to sacrifice any religious belief or any staunch conservative value.

I agree that Walker is not ready to be President "YET" as he has yet to accomplish all of his goals. If he manages to hit his job numbers added, gets our economy turned around 100% and takes us from the bottom 25% of states to the top 5 or ten then MAYBE, but that MAYBE is a far way off. I am happy that we have him as governor and I hope that he remains our governor for another term or two. I for one am really happy that we don't have any major elections in our state for a few years.

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