3 reasons why Scott Walker will never be president
With the release of Scott Walker’s new book Unintimidated: The Inspiring Story of One Man Who Bravely Sided With Powerful Interests and Stood up to Chet, the $14-an-Hour Prison Guard With Chronic IBS and Job-Related Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, our governor is telegraphing his presidential aspirations now more than ever.
Excerpts of the book are available online, and I’ve attempted to get past the first sentence of the introduction, with middling success.
Here’s that sentence: “If you are like me, the view from Washington, D.C., these days is pretty grim.”
First of all, it should really have been changed to something like, “If you are like me, you think the view from Washington, D.C. …” Even better would be a simple, declarative, “The view from Washington, D.C., these days is pretty grim.” An eighth-grade English teacher probably could have helped him with his clumsy essay writing, but I’m guessing he doesn’t have too many of those on speed dial these days.
Secondly, he’s talking about the view from Washington, D.C., as if he’s already there. He can dream, but let’s not jump the gun just yet.
Thirdly, ewww. Does he really have to kick off his magnum opus by inviting us to imagine ourselves as being Scott Walker-like? Now I have to scoop out my temporal lobe with a Williams-Sonoma melon baller and put it in cryogenic storage until science discovers a cure for ick.
Despite his protestations to the contrary, Unintimidated — By Everyone Except 85-Year-Old Carol Singers: The Scott Walker Story appears to be a campaign book written to grease the skids for a presidential run.
This isn’t the first time Walker has tipped his hand, of course. Recently, he dropped a big hint during an appearance on ABC’s This Week, saying the next president “[has] to be an outsider. I think both the presidential and the vice presidential nominee should either be a former or current governor — people who have done successful things in their states, who have taken on big reforms, who are ready to move America forward.”
Coincidentally, Walker is a governor who thinks he’s done successful things in his state.
Walker also visited Iowa earlier this year. That’s a dead giveaway, because who in their right mind visits Iowa? No one, which is why Michele Bachmann had so much early success there during her 2012 presidential run. (I kid Iowa. It’s a fine state. But I’ve never understood why its football players have a hawk on their helmets when they’re the Hawkeyes. Plus, they cook a ton of meth there. Not sure if those two things are related, but probably.)
Of course, anything can happen, as we learned when a young Illinois senator who sounded like he was named after a villain from a Tom Clancy potboiler became president. (If you had asked Americans 12 years ago which of these little-known men would eventually become president — Barack Hussein Obama or Richard Reid, The Shoe Bomber — I’m guessing a solid majority would have chosen the latter.)
Still, I have a hard time seeing Walker as a viable presidential candidate, and here are a few reasons why:
He’s terrible at the one thing he promised to be good at: In his book, Walker recalls the day when he signed Act 10: “[O]n March 11, 2011, my legal counsel Brian Hagedorn sent the bill to me at the governor’s residence. My initial reaction was to rush and sign it then and there. The protests had eaten up a good month of our time, and I was eager to get back to my number one priority: helping the people of Wisconsin create more jobs.”
Well, if that’s his number one priority, you have to wonder how badly he’s screwing up the stuff he’s ignoring.
A recent Quarterly Census of Employment and Wages report showed that we were 34th in the rate of private-sector job growth from March 2012-March 2013 and rank 42nd since Walker took office. (The latest report, which was released late last week and included only Wisconsin data, showed job growth from June 2012-June 2013 that was roughly on par with the previous reporting period.)
Incidentally, before Walker took office, we ranked 11th.
He will scare women. (He may also scare children, but they don’t vote.): Remember that forced transvaginal ultrasound bill Walker so eagerly signed? You can bet that most of Wisconsin’s women will.
Walker is hard right on social issues. And while that could help him in the primary, it will be poison in the general election (if he gets that far). Like fellow Wisconsinite Paul Ryan, Walker would prefer that abortion be illegal even in cases of rape or incest.
So in a Walker utopia, girls who get raped by close relatives and are unlucky enough to get pregnant would have to carry their fetuses to term. And if he were elected president, Walker would almost certainly get the chance to appoint a Supreme Court justice or two. Let that sink in for a moment.
Now imagine months of TV ads correctly pointing out that he’s a far-right extremist out of touch with the vast majority of the American public. Barring a complete Democratic meltdown, it’s hard to imagine a Walker presidential campaign surviving all the way to November 2016.
He’s not unintimidated; he’s easily rattled: The recent Solidarity Singalong brouhaha has settled down, but not before it revealed Walker to be a thin-skinned bully. You can certainly make a fair argument that the singers should have gotten their permits and played nice, but Walker’s response to their civil disobedience was beyond the pale. This was a tawdry and completely unnecessary game of brinkmanship, and it showed just how partisan and undiplomatic Walker is.
Visuals of Walker’s police cuffing grannies, journalists, bystanders, and assorted warblers — and wrestling some of them to the ground — will fit neatly into a 30-second TV spot, and the 30-second “But They Didn’t Get a Permit!” response ad is unlikely to lessen voters’ revulsion.
So whether you’re heartened or terrified by the prospect of a Walker presidential run, you can calm down. Chances are, Walker will be elected president around the same time the Louvre takes down the Mona Lisa to make room for one of George W. Bush’s new cat paintings.
But Scott can dream. Luckily, the rest of us should have a pretty easy time suppressing our worst nightmare.
A glimmer of hope for Obamacare
Yeah, the website is a clunky mess, but a report released last week shows why we should be focusing less on the short-term problems bedeviling HealthCare.gov and more on the big picture.
A Council of Economic Advisers report found that from 2010-13, national health expenditures rose just 1.3%, the lowest rate ever recorded.
While slow economic growth is no doubt part of the reason, Jason Furman, chairman of the Council of Economic Advisers, says the Affordable Care Act is partly responsible for the lower costs.
That could be great news for Americans, says Furman.
“If just half the recent slowdown in spending can be sustained, health care spending a decade from now will be $1,400 per person lower,” Furman told USA Today.
If that happens, Republican lawmakers’ brains will rupture — and when they do, those fine folks will be able to rest easy knowing that their ACA-approved insurance policies will cover all expenses related to their care.
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