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July 16, 2015

My fellow Americans, I don’t think you can follow an extended argument.

We face big issues: health care, the economy, energy, Iran, etc. Big stuff. Complicated stuff.

But you don’t have the attention span to follow a well-developed argument on any of them so I’ll give each topic one or two sentences.

Also, I love America and I pray a lot.

I apologize for the above but Scott Walker’s announcement speech is the latest I’ve read to grade on the Reaganometer and the project is wearing me down.

I found it notable that Governor Walker began the speech with “I love America” and then recalled a WWI and WWII veteran from his hometown and a Vietnam vet who impressed him at Boys Nation. He also included “True Safety” among the three areas he focused upon. The attention to national security is important and might have been included to combat the impression that Governor Walker knows little about international affairs.

I found it notable, though, because I have a thing about those who express their love of country in terms of the military but never seem to have loved their country enough to serve in the military. This does not include all neocons but it does encompass many of those who pass for the intelligentsia; Bill Kristol, John Bolton, Richard Perle, Paul Wolfowitz. Even in one or two sentence bites Walker’s speech was a catalog of neocon verities. I wondered about his advisers and indeed, Governor Walker has been attending lessons at the neocon school. Some of his tutors have come away unimpressed, but “several conservatives who have met with him said Walker has the right temperament and, with time, can gain more knowledge, comparing his foreign-policy outlook to that of former president George W. Bush.” What a comfort.

I have to give Mr. Walker some credit for being specific about his accomplishments in Wisconsin and by implication, how he would approach the presidency. Based on his period as Wisconsin’s governor we could count on Walker to attack unions, weaken teachers’ protections, cut taxes, gut regulations, and pursue pro-life measures. State level policies that are telling but don’t translate directly to federal government include concealed carry and requiring a photo ID to vote. His world view is that government should get out of the way of people who will find their own way, and especially to encourage work not welfare. His accomplishments should appeal to a Republican primary electorate.

Walker was less specific on the details of a Walker presidency. He’d repeal Obamacare of course, but unless “put patients and families back in charge of their healthcare decisions” is a policy, he gives no hint of what else he would do. He describes his economic policy as based on his experience buying shirts off the discount rack at Kohl’s. The “Kohl’s Curve” doesn’t give the sense that he understands anything of the complexities of twenty-first century economics. No problem there because his approach indicates he doesn’t think any of us do either, and that we’d become bored by any attempt to explain it.

The speech has the sing-song, ad jingle, hit the applause line, move to the next applause line quality that routinely passes for a candidate pronouncement today. It is a speech for the twenty-first century TV/Youtube watcher, delivered by a candidate who does not expect much from us. In other words it is a speech pretty much like the others I’ve seen so far.

Walker may esteem Ronald Reagan, he may wish to emulate Ronald Reagan, but I’ve read Reagan’s announcement speech and Scott Walker is no Ronald Reagan.


Scott Walker, Election 2016, Ronald Reagan

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