Scott Walker Campaign Scores Early, Winning Over Enthusiastic Conservatives

You know by now that Scott Walker has officially thrown his hat in the ring. We were there, as several thousand people, young and old and many in wheelchairs, waited over two hours on a sultry afternoon in the Waukesha County Exposition Center. We came to listen to the forty-fifth governor of Wisconsin bid to become the forty-fifth president of the United States; the Republican Party of Wisconsin received over five thousand RSVPs for the event.

The conservative and patriotic crowd waved American flags, and signs with the “e” in Walker's name as an American flag -- his campaign logo. They recited the Pledge of Allegiance, and in fervent voices sang "The Star-Spangled Banner." It was a family and friends affair: Walker's two young adult sons, Matt and Alex, took turns as master of ceremonies. They introduced speeches from long-time political associates, including the ebullient Lieutenant Governor Rebecca Kleefisch, Walker's wife Tonette, and Walker's father, a retired pastor, who led the invocation.

The first speaker was the fiery Rachel Campos-Duffy, wife of Republican Congressman Sean Duffy, who recounted Walker’s political zeal in traveling frequently to Ashland on the far Lake Superior shore. She said he was greeted every year by a new Duffy family addition (the proud mother of seven children, Rachel attributed this to those “long, cold Wisconsin winters”). She contrasted Scott Walker with putative Democratic opponent Hillary Clinton (“he loves riding around the state meeting people on his Harley-Davidson; she loves riding isolated in the back of her limousine”; “Scott and Tonette have been married twenty-four years; twenty-four is Bill Clinton’s favorite age”; and so on).

Mrs. Duffy was followed by state Senator Leah Vukmir of Wauwatosa, where the Walker family residence is located, who recounted how, as a young candidate for the Wisconsin State Assembly, Walker had taken only twenty minutes to change her mind into supporting him. Walker won that election and became her state representative. When he decided to run for Milwaukee County executive, she was moved to take his place, and then ran for the Wisconsin State Senate the same year Walker ran for the governorship in 2010.

Senator Vukmir was followed by Lt. Gov. Kleefisch, who recounted the dark days of the Leftist riots in the state capitol in the wake of Act 10, the legislation which curbed the power of Wisconsin public-employee unions and stanched the flow of red ink in the state’s unconstitutional budget deficit. With other members of the administration, she received death threats, as well as threats to harm her two young daughters. At one point, as the recall petitions were circulating in 2011, she recounted how she texted a message of encouragement to the embattled governor, a scriptural reference: Jeremiah XXIX,11: “For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans to prosper you and not harm you, plans for hope and a future.”

Walker’s response was equally short and simple -- Isaiah LIV,17: “No weapon that is formed against thee shall prosper; and every tongue that shall rise against thee in judgment thou shalt condemn. This is the heritage of the servants of the L-rd, and their due reward from Me, saith the L-rd.”

Tonette told of how she and Scott had met at a popular restaurant in Wauwatosa, where he slipped her a note on a napkin. He said that he didn’t mean to be rude, but he had to leave to get up for work the next morning, and he invited her out to dinner with his name and telephone number. A week later, Tonette called him. Eight months later, in the same restaurant, he again passed her a note on a napkin saying that he didn’t wish to be rude, and proposed marriage. “That’s Scott,” she said. “Polite and to the point.”

Walker followed, using no notes for a thirty-five minute speech which was cheered constantly by the crowd.

His reasons for running for the presidency, he said, were the same as his reasons for running for the governorship -- Matt and Alex. He wanted them to have a better Wisconsin than the one he had grown up in, and also a better country than the one he had grown up in.

Walker summarized his vision for a Walker presidency in three words: Reform, growth, and safety.

Under the first heading, he proposes total repeal of Obamacare, an immediate moratorium on issuance of new federal regulations (similar to one he imposed in Wisconsin) followed by review and repeal of regulations deemed onerous or unnecessary red-tape, and an “all-of-the-above” energy policy, leveling the playing field for competition of all sorts of energy production. He supports using “the abundance of what G-d has given us here in America and on this continent. We are now an energy-rich country and we can literally fuel our economic recovery.”