I’ve been a fan of Scott Walker ever since his battles with the rabid Left in Wisconsin, where he defeated the frothing mob three times. I thought then, and I think now, that Walker is the strongest possible candidate in a general election against whichever socialist the Democrats decide to nominate (hint: it won’t be Hillary). Now along comes Politico to agree with me:
Plenty of Republicans don’t want to vote for Jeb Bush. The same cannot be said about Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker. That’s why this understated and under-known Midwesterner could rise up and beat not just expectations but the entire field. In fact, Walker could plausibly clinch the nomination without losing a single early state.
He’s still not all that well-known, but Republicans who are familiar with him have come to like and admire him. Partially for that reason, a case can be made that Walker is the only candidate in the entire oversized field who is not just acceptable but fully embraceable by every faction within the party. As primary voters think about who they really want and who they really think can win, Walker could easily stand out as the choice with no ideological asterisk to create any doubt.
It was Walker’s political enemies that have made him such a serious contender for the presidency. Some politicians get lucky with their choice of opponents. Scott Walker won the lottery.
Stripping public employee unions of their collective bargaining rights turned out to be the perfect battle for the Wisconsin governor to pick. Not only did he win the policy fight shortly after taking office in 2011, but unions ended up doing Walker a huge political favor by seeking to recall him, turning him into a folk hero on the right and a money magnet for corporate donors all over the country, from the Koch brothers on down.
“The fight with the unions gave Walker that national platform,” says Henry Olsen, a senior fellow at the conservative Ethics & Public Policy Center. “If the unions had not made it into a battle for the ages, Scott Walker would not be a viable candidate for president.”
As Walker becomes better known, look for him to quickly eclipse most of the others and wind up going toe-to-toe with the worst possible choice, Jeb Bush. As Lincoln said of Grant, “he fights.” And, even better, he wins.