Scott Walker is a folk hero. Walking out without much fanfare, he took the stage with his sleeves rolled up and started talking about the Founding Fathers. It’s a tent revival.
And that makes sense. Scott Walker is headlining the Great American Revival, a plan to create more jobs, more opportunity, and, possibly, more speaking engagements that don’t require suit jackets. He has a profile for a leader that American needs and he’s certainly going to tell you about it. Because according to Governor Walker, he’s earned the ability to gloat a little, and given the response, I’m not sure anyone in the room would disagree.
Walker’s speech is not very different from the other speeches we’ve heard throughout the day: he focused on the middle class, he excoriated the Obama Administration for their lack of propriety in the arena of foreign affairs, and he outlined what he believes the Obama Administration is doing to destroy America. But unlike the other speeches we’ve heard today, Walker’s is a campaign stump speech complete with lines that are destined to follow him throughout his potential candidacy like:
There’s a reason we celebrate the 4th of July and not the 15th of April. In America, we celebrate our independece from the government, not our dependence on it.
Obviously, this is a big day for Scott Walker, since it’s essentially his coming out party. And frankly, he did well. He’s better at working the room than Ted Cruz. He’s more approachable than Chris Christie, and more familiar to the crowd than Carly Fiorina. Unlike Dr. Carson and Cruz, however, he’s unable to talk with authority on health care reform, and he’s destined to face questions about his foreign policy readiness. But he does know what his audience is looking for: the Scott Walker who is proud of what he’s achieved and who he’s defeated, which, by the way, is his red badge of courage. He might have defunded Planned Parenthood, passed concealed carry, and lowered the Wisconsin income tax, but his greatest achievement is most definitely the fact that he’s at the top of the Most Wanted list in every labor union office in the country.
Like Darth Vader, he feeds on their anger. At one point, Walker was interrupted by a rather anemic protest — one guy yelling about how much Walker “sucks” — and it only made him more appealing to the audience. His haters’ anger, their fear, their aggression, it strengthens him. He’s building a Death Star, and the unions in his state are in the sights of his space laser. According to Walker, “They made me the number one target, but in the end we showed that we can fight and we can win for the hardworking taxpayer.” And while you might know Ted Cruz by the fruits of his labor, you know Scott Walker by the tears of his enemies.
I’m not really sure that his speech really said anything. I know he has a list of achievements and that he’s got a plan for America’s future, but so does everyone. But I do know that, so far today, he’s the only one the audience has clearly asked to run.