The attacks have begun in earnest, but Governor Scott Walker may prove to be a tough target because of, not in spite of, his humble roots.
Rich Lowry ended a recent Politico column with the most succinct reason Walker has immense electoral potential:
“When it comes to college, Walker is a representative of the 68 percent, and a symbol of all that is possible even without a diploma hanging on a wall,” Lowry wrote.
The son of a secretary and Baptist minister, Walker not only shares the trait of not possessing a college degree with 68 percent of Americans, but he shares the virtues that are still relevant to most of us.
Walker is a hard worker who spends an inordinate amount of time mastering his craft. He doesn’t sit around waiting for success to come to him, the same entrepreneurial zeal shared by fellow non-college educated powerhouses like Ted Turner, Michael Dell, Mark Zuckerberg, Larry Ellison, Bill Gates, Steve Jobs, and Ralph Lauren.
Walker also values honesty. In an interview Morning Martini did with the governor after he returned from London, he said, “Nationally, what people want is what we want here in Wisconsin…people want authentic leaders” who will tell voters what they’ll do once elected and can be counted on to keep their word. The authenticity at the core of the Walker approach has been refreshing enough to carry the governor to one victory after another.
A family man whose mom brings homemade cookies to volunteers in field offices statewide, Walker embodies a way of living that seems to be slipping away in an era of pole-dancing pop singers and broken families.
These are virtues that seem to be lost on the self-serving circles of political power, from politicians to journalists – many of whom seem to regard virtue as quaint. In fact, they’re so unable to fathom someone like Walker that they’re racking up frequent flyer miles scrambling to dig up dirt that it seems is inherent among the Skull and Bones cliques of Washington.
In proving his point that Ivy Leaguers treat Washington like an exclusive club, Lowry lists the alma mater of the nation’s elite: Hillary and Bill Clinton (Yale, 1973); Barack Obama (Harvard, 1991); George W. Bush (Yale, 1968 and Harvard, 1975); and George H.W. Bush (Yale, 1948).
In fact, the president most resembling Walker – Midwestern roots, an objective sense of morality, no Ivy League education – was President Reagan, who implemented the same practical policies in Washington that he did to re-shape California.
One needs only to look at Bill Clinton’s lawyerly dodging of questions about his many extramarital affairs, the many tall tales of his fabricated-sniper-fire-dodging spouse, or the media’s complicity in downplaying or abetting dishonesty to see how virtue is a secondary consideration for many elitists.
For that matter, it’s now evident that Hillary either didn’t learn from her haughty education how to use her work email, or she learned that rules of all varieties don’t apply to her.
This is the sad status quo in Washington’s insular dens of the Ivy League. Scott Walker’s a leader for the rest of us.