In 2015, when you say Scott Walker, most folks think (favorably or with disdain) about the heated 2011 recall election he faced as Governor of Wisconsin after facing down public unions.
He proposed and signed the 2011 Wisconsin Act 10, which was a big blow to public employee collective bargaining, pensions and healthcare. The result was the third ever U.S. Governor recall election, in which Walker drew crazy amounts of outside support, and after raising 7 times more money than his opponent, he won the election.
From the outside in, non-Wisconsonians saw his fight with public unions as a bold, neo-conservative throat-punch to established institutions. Apparently, so did political interest groups. Truth is, Walker was a conservative poster boy from the very beginning. With his father a Baptist preacher, Scott learned how to move a crowd from an early age. He caught the political bug early on, became an Eagle Scout, and immediately after enrolling in college started flexing his muscles on the student government. His bid for student President drew record votes, largely because of his furious campaigning and divisive platform. For Chrissakes, he ran on a Pro-Life platform… in a Student Government election.
After unpleasantness, likely Walker's disdain with his College and hunger for a career, he took a gig with the Red Cross before running for a seat on the Wisconsin State Assembly. We walked all over his district to drum up support, but fell short making the push for a conservative candidate in a very blue area. Ultimately, he had to move and retry in a different district with better results. From there, he'd move to a position as a Milwaukee County Executive, and then after two tries, finally the governor's office. He was 43 when he took the oath for the governor of Wisconsin.
Kill the Unions
He's known, and praised, for striking down public unions, and the huge backlash it stirred up. I even entered this little summary biopic with this fundamental understanding of Walker. He's an ideologue who is after absolute, free-market capitalism. But, maybe it's not so sinister.
On the one hand, Wikipedia says he walked into a $3.6 Billion budget deficit back in 2011, which apparently he touted later on. In truth, his turn around from that figure is less impressive, but nonetheless worth nothing. It's well known that state pensions and healthcare promises years ago continue to be a huge drain on states across the nation today, and as much as I dislike the idea, curtailing these costs can save state budgets. Of course, to counter this, Walker ushered in hefty tax cuts as is popular in every partially budget-conscious conservative's handbook.
But down the line, Walker runs on just about every conservative platform you can think of.
- Voter ID laws
- Abolish Abortions
- Kill the Unions
- "Right to Work"
- Increase criminal sentencing
- Privatize public institutions
- Shrink government
He learned early on the beautiful magic corporate money and politicians when he worked with ALEC, the Match.com for coporations and politicians, to help private prisons increase profits by keepining inmates locked up for longer terms. And he's got all the folksy Christian talk to make him as "down home" as need be for the reddest of state fairs. One could almost argue he was raised form a ThinkTank gelatinous vat to become a 2016 Presidential hopeful.
I don't like Scott Walker, but I get him
There's no false pretenses with Walker. He's through and through a full-on, hard-core Christian Conservative. You can say he's swayed by corporate masters, but with a platform as pure as his, who wouldn't draw crazy special interest funding. This guy makes no qualms about anything. He's nothing if he's not consistently a hard-core Neo-Con.
The larger question that he'd face in 2016 is "Can he govern the greater U.S.?", and so far with a fairly cloistered upbringing and an entire political career in a state that's nearly 90% white, I doubt it.