Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Unintimidated: A Governor's Story and a Nation's Challenge: A Review

Unintimidated: A Governor's Story and a Nation's Challenge by Scott Walker with Marc Thiessen

Scott Walker, Governor of Wisconsin, is running for President of the United States. 

At the very least, Governor Walker is seriously contemplating a Presidential run in 2016.  It doesn't matter really, as Hillary Clinton has already won the election by a landslide.  Yes, technically votes have yet been cast, and she still hasn't officially announced, but as a longtime MSNBC viewer, I know that Mrs. Clinton has not only won every electoral vote in the Union but I think she got the popular vote in Scotland and Ontario as well. 

That is how powerful and certain Madame Clinton will win.  It's already a fait accompli.  We might just as well not bother with an election at all.  Hillary Clinton, if Rachel Maddow and Steve Kornacki are to be believed, has already submitted her choices for her Cabinet to Congress.

Now, while there are many potential punching bags for HRC to beat up on in the general election, few people are looking at Scott Walker.  That, I figure, will change thanks to Walker's impressive election wins.  He has been won three elections in four years, his first run for Governor, his bid for reelection, and then there's that recall bid in between.   Unintimidated is his chronicle of the events around the Wisconsin recall election: what led to them, what he did right and wrong, and some ideas as to what conservatives can do to win future elections.

Officially, Scott Walker has not announced his Presidential bid, but Unintimidated is as naked a bid as can be made without making it official.  This is the book a candidate writes to extol his virtues, downplay his missteps, and put a case as to why he might make a good President.

Unintimidated has several nods to a solid Republican base, evangelical voters, which shouldn't be hard for the P.K. (Preacher's Kid).   Throughout the book, we read of Governor Walker praying over something or being appreciative of other's prayers for him and his family.  We also get solid conservative proposals for economic advancement, and Walker doesn't shrink from touting Wisconsin as a model of providing prosperity without cutting services or taxes, a remarkable accomplishment.  He puts in some observations as to why, despite his own victory in a solidly blue state like Wisconsin, the 2012 Republican Presidential nominee Mitt Romney failed to defeat Barack Obama.  He points out that in 2012, there were several Obama-Walker voters: people who voted for a Democrat for President and a Republican for Governor.

I can imagine this is his subtle suggestion that he has cross-over appeal.

Unintimidated discusses various aspects of the recall election.  We start with what led to it: Act 10, which would remove collective bargaining for public sector workers except for police and firemen.  We get then various schemes to derail this act and the motives behind these moves.  The stories of how the union bosses and their 'useful idiots' (not Walker's term to be fair) are surprising, sad, and angering.  Union leaders would tell him to go ahead and fire new hires (usually young and efficient people) rather than have union members pay more for their health insurance, which would still be below what private sector employees paid.  The harassment of his family, the violence of the protestors (storming the Capital building, occupying the historic foyer and causing, if memory serves correct, two to five years worth of damage in the weeks they were there.

Walker talks about how the Wisconsin state senators who fled the state rather than show up to the chamber to deny the required quorom were basically unwilling to negotiate.  When they would meet, somewhat secretly, at a McDonald's just inside the Wisconsin border from Illinois, these heroes of MSNBC were there not to ultimately come to an agreement, but to accept Walker's surrender.  Walker appears both puzzled and more upset than genuinely angry at doctors, who would provide notes to teachers who wouldn't show up for work to protest.  He points out that this would hurt the children the unions and liberals were insisting they were thinking of.

He then points out all the success that Act 10 has produced in terms of economic growth and happier lives.  Walker is even shrewd enough to point out that in areas of vulnerability, such as how Milwaukee did have to cut teachers from schools, these areas had locked-in agreements with unions in a rush to preempt Act 10.

Walker also is attempting to trump his potential opponents by fessing up to mistakes, such as when he took a call from one of the Koch Brothers (which turned out to be a prank call by a liberal) and suggest Walker's campaign sent in supporters in disguise to protests in order to disrupt or infiltrate the rallies.  No doubt the Hillary Clinton campaign would use these things against Walker, and this book puts out his explanation/mea culpa as a way to disarm them.

You can see his ambitions with the second part of the title.  No Midwest Governor writes about 'a nation's challenge' if he/she were not interested in addressing said challenges. 

Unintimidated presents the most positive case for Scott Walker as a leader, as someone who can govern in a state where his political views are the minority.  The Governor comes across as an affable, pleasant, nice guy, honest, hard-working, someone of deep faith and a strong love for his wife and two sons and who has only his people's best interests at heart.  He also comes across as tough: one who has an iron hand in a velvet glove, who is not afraid to take on powerful opponents...and most importantly, win.
Obviously, this is the case that any person with aspirations to higher office would want to present.  Whether Scott Walker runs for President in 2016 is still unknown right now (not that it matters since Hillary Clinton already has her Inaugural Address typed out and is working on whom to select as her Vice President).  At the moment, Unintimidated is a good primer to those who would like to see how Scott Walker's mind works and how he sees himself.
Don't mistake his geneal Midwest demeanor and somewhat goofy grin as signs of stupidity.  Three times his opponents have thought him an idiot, and three times he's defied the odds.  He is in many ways the perfect candidate: not a bully like Chris Christie, not a firebrand like Ted Cruz.  While he doesn't have the cache of a Rand Paul or name recognition of say a Jeb Bush, Walker has other attributes that would make him more formidable than those on the right or left may think.
His generally quiet demeanor makes him acceptable to the Establishment.  His take-down of unions makes him a Tea Party sympathizer.  His religious background will appeal to evangelicals.  He's appealed to moderates who got him three victories to Madison.  Scott Walker doesn't look radical or crazy.  That may be a good reason for him to run, and Unintimidated is the best book for anyone looking this candidate over.
Even if Hillary Clinton has this already in the bag...    

Born 1967

Grade: B+

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