To the nattering nabobs of negativism in the lamestream media, the guy is nothing less than a human gaffe machine. How could you not question a dude who has the nerve to present himself as ready for prime time in the 2016 White House race when he can't even answer the most basic questions on evolution or whether the current president of the United States loves the United States, when he thinks that labor unions are a threat comparable to ISIS and when he maintains the biggest "foreign policy decision" of his lifetime was Reagan firing domestic air traffic controllers?
That's not all. He's uncharismatic and humorless. He'd be the first president since the World War II-era not to have a college degree. In an age of political apathy, he can get 50,000 people to show up in blizzards or 2-degree weather to protest his policies. Over 900,000 people signed petitions for a recall election -- one of only two U.S. governors to suffer that indignity in the last 94 years. He's still the subject of a never-ending criminal probe into his campaign fund-raising activity.
The pundit class thinks it has a read on Wisconsin GOP Gov. Scott Walker, but of course this effete corps of impudent snobs has it all wrong. That in fact is the very essence of the Scott Walker phenomenon. Indeed, the shared resentments of the Republican base could -- emphasis on the word "could" -- propel this dour enemy of Working People right into the Oval Office. A lot could happen between now and next July on the road to Cleveland (heh), but personally I'd rate Walker with by far the best chance of winning the GOP nomination...much, much better than the hugely overrated Jeb Bush. And if that happens, the reality is that Scott Kevin Walker has a 50 percent chance of becoming the 45th president of the United States.
That makes him the most dangerous man in America.
The Walker bubble is one of those things that makes you want to kick yourself -- because you should have seen it coming. Ironically, I did think going back to 2013 that the next GOP nominee would be a bland governor from the Midwest, but I thought a John Kasich of Ohio was much more likely. In a state with a long progressive streak that went from Obama in '08 and '12, I thought riled-up labor voters -- angry over his 2011 push to quash public-employee unions -- would put an early end to Walker's career, first in the 2012 recall, or surely when he ran for re-election in 2014. But that which didn't kill him made him stronger.
Flash forward to 2015. Some folks -- pundits, liberals, the people you'd expect -- have already made a deal of the fact that when Walker started making money in the private sector before he'd earned a college degree, he didn't stick around for a diploma. But the voters who look down their noses on Walker's drop-out are the voters who would never vote for a candidate like Walker in the first place; his passive-aggressive stance on the whole notion of "liberal" college education only makes the GOP base love him more. It's Resentment Politics 101, from the playbook drawn up by Coach Richard Nixon. Ditto from those annoying "liberal: reporters hounding Walker on evolution or whether Obama is a Christian. Every time the press goes after Walker, he gains another three points in the Iowa straw poll.
Ironically, he's been a pretty mediocre governor for Wisconsin -- his "business utopia" in Badger State has actually lagged the rest of America in wage and job growth. That doesn't matter either. Politically, only two things matter about Walker. The man is on a dual mission: To destroy collective bargaining, and to replace liberal arts education with a kind of 21st Century trade school-ism.
Look, we all know that the once all-American notion of learning things -- things like philosophy, poetry -- for the pure love of learning was already comatose long before anyone heard of Scott Walker, but the Wisconsin governor is eager to put the final nail in the coffin. He's seeking to devastate the University of Wisconsin with $300 million in budget cuts; his office even released a blueprint that would eliminate the so-called Wisconsin Idea of the public university's higher mission of knowledge and the truth and replace it with a new goal: ""to meet the state's work-force needs." The governor backtracked on that piece of his plan (he backtracks on a lot of things) but his bigger vision, or lack of vision, for higher education remains clear.
With a Republican-led Congress to enact his ideas, a Scott Walker presidency in 2017 would be a nightmare, an American dystopia. Scott Walker's America would become a beehive of worker drones -- trained to perform profit-seeking tasks but thwarted in any effort to think freely and independently, stripped of any rights to join together and fight for pay that would match their productivity, or for benefits that would treat them as human beings and not robot cogs on a bland assembly line.
The cruel joke -- as we've learned from Walker's resume in Wisconsin -- is that this plan won't work for the millions who would elect him, only for his billionaire backers like the Koch Brothers. But his vision for America is less as a functioning republic, and more as a profit center. There's certainly a good chance that the voting coalition -- 52 percent of the American electorate and growing -- that twice elected President Obama will see through Walker like a downtown Apple Store. But it's just as likely that a Democrat (cough, cough...Hillary Clinton) will stumble and this Wisconsin badgerer will take the oath on January 20, 2017.