The PJ Tatler

Scott Walker to the Left: Take Your Premise and Shove It

Liking the cut of this guy’s jib more and more:

His speech at the Iowa Freedom Summit earned rave reviews, and was followed with what appears to be the first pro-Walker presidential ad. And everyone seems to have noticed what Walker’s opponents in Wisconsin have learned the hard way, repeatedly: he’s a formidable politician. This should worry his GOP rivals not only because of Walker’s win streak, but also because Walker is doing something many of them aren’t: he’s setting the terms of the debate instead of following the terms the Democrats have set.

Part of the media’s terrible coverage of national politics is the reliance on the personal: it matters to them who is saying it more than what is said. Romney got tagged as uncaring because he’s rich. But the classic conservative policies don’t reek of plutocracy when coming from the new crop of Republican stars, many of whom came from modest beginnings or are the children of immigrants, or both. Walker doesn’t even have a college degree, which itself is incomprehensible to modern Democrats, who are elitist and credentialist and genuinely don’t know what life is like in much of the country.

And neither does the media. Which is how someone like Walker could be so successful and still blindside the national press, who would struggle to find Wisconsin on a map. And it’s why Walker is a threat to other high-profile Republicans who have accepted the Democratic/media framing of the issues in order to make a national pitch. Only one of them can be right.

In other words, Walker is already doing was some of us have long advocated: don’t debate on the Democrat/Media Complex’s terms, set your own damn terms and force them to their knees. The Left is not used to being mocked and ignored: their media wing stamp their tiny feet and shout that attention must be paid to their trivial demands. But who cares what they think? In the Atlantic, lefty Peter Beinart is starting to get worried:

Walker’s rise illustrates the pitfalls of media coverage of the GOP race. Not many national reporters live within the conservative media ecosystem. They therefore largely assume that in order to win over the non-white, female, millennial and working class voters who rejected John McCain and Mitt Romney, Republican presidential candidates must break from conservative orthodoxy, if not substantively, then at least rhetorically…

Walker’s rise is a reminder that among Republican primary voters, and especially Iowa-caucus goers, the market for ideological or even stylistic innovation, may be smaller than the media assumes. Because the most striking thing about Scott Walker’s speech at the Freedom Summit, and his emerging campaign message more generally, is how retro it is. Walker concedes nothing to the conventional wisdom about what the GOP must do to compete in a more culturally tolerant, ethnically diverse and economically insecure America. And the GOP faithful love it.

Walker’s… message is simple and old-fashioned: “Take control from the federal government and big-government special interests and give it back to hard-working taxpayers.”

The key point here is: don’t buy into the premise of the question. Marxist Democrats (they’re out and proud now, so might as well call them what they are), abetted by their college boy, red-diaper-baby media cronies can only frame their narrative one way. (It infuriates them that Walker doesn’t have a college degree.) But Walker is a throwback to belief in the American Way — the notion that we are, indeed, E pluribus unum, not a collection of dialectically materialist grievance groups. But if the GOP wants to win, they’re going to have to ignore the boilerplate from the national disgrace that is our MSM and just plow through to victory.