Walker’s Populist Potential

Scott Walker is the son of a Baptist minister and a part-time secretary. He’s not too shy to mention that fact, which is endearing to the average American, especially compared with dynasty politicians like Hillary Clinton, Jeb Bush, and Mitt Romney.

Walker missed a shot at mentioning his humble roots in an interview on Sean Hannity’s Fox News show the other night. Hannity asked about questions about his seeming lack of charisma and passion to inspire voters; Walker essentially responded by going through a litany of facts about which voter groups supported him in past elections in Wisconsin.

It’s impressive that the Walker agenda worked for the average Wisconsinsite and that the Walker apparatus managed to get that message out there. But politics is more about how you make someone feel rather than what you make someone think, especially at the national level where getting a fact-based message to permeate is arduous and where many sunshine voters cast their ballots based on feelings – as we saw in 2012.

Walker should have said that the country gave a shot to someone with great optics and imagery like those Greek columns, but now it’s ready for a leader with real substance and a record of victories that helped people, not politicians. He should’ve said he understands what average Americans experience day-to-day when they punch the clock each morning and struggle at the end of the pay period, because he grew up in rural Iowa and Wisconsin, the son of a Baptist minister and a part-time secretary.

They were never rich, and Walker has always fought for the interests of people like his mom and dad and childhood friends – and that’s why he has always been returned to office. People around the country are just looking high and low for a leader who looks out for them and will help them and their children find opportunities rather than help the well-connected and well-protected.

Anyway, that’s what I would’ve suggested.

Full interview here.

About the writer: Chris Rochester has worked in communications and finance for a state Senate and congressional campaign, consulted on numerous Assembly and local races, and has held leadership roles in his local Republican Party. He's communications director for the MacIver Institute. Commentary here is strictly his own.
  • Clyde Fromona

    When Walker runs for office, whether it is state assembly, county executive, governor he does it because he believes he can improve government, not make government do more. If he loses election he will do something else, getting elected is not be all end all, being given the opportunity to serve is. If he would have lost to Burke, would he have been devistated? No, he would look for some where else to serve. And ride his Harley.

  • Katie

    He needs to hire a comms staffer like you!
    Great ideas, Chris. Hopefully he starts using more populist rhetoric like this and bringing up his background – it definitely appeals to regular (non-political) people outside of Wisconsin more than “our reforms are working” would.