Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Official at last

Last night, Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker made his bid for the Presidency official.

It's been no real secret that he intended to run; delaying his announcement until after the biennial Wisconsin budget was signed was a smart move. For one, it showed that he is still working to improve the state, to continue the reforms he's begun. For two, it gave him additional time to position himself by meeting unofficially with various leaders/voters in important primary states, as well as time to visit key overseas allies and begin to build support.

While I missed all but the last couple of minutes of his speech, the text is available here.

Just a few top-of-my-head observations:

- The speech - and the campaign logo - emphasize that Walker is for America. He makes reference to voters being tired of being told by politicians what they are against, and who they should vote against. He seems to be signaling that he intends to run as clean a campaign as possible. We in Wisconsin know from the recall and other elections that while he may start out with the best of intentions, if his opponents start slinging mud, he is fully capable of slinging it back - we'll see how this turns out.

- A number of times he makes reference to Reagan's policies and accomplishments. It's pretty obvious Walker wants to cast himself in the role of a Reagan reincarnated for the present time. I'm not sure Walker has as much ability to work across party lines as Reagan, though.

- He fairly clearly outlines his platform, and hits on several "first thing" objectives that should resonate with a lot of voters - repeal Obamacare, sign Keystone, ditch the idea of Common Core and fix environmental legislation. Big talk. He promised a certain number of new jobs in Wisconsin in his first year in office. While he fell far short of that goal, he did make progress toward it. Can he deliver on these bigger promises if elected? Who knows.

- He calls for a return to American exceptionalism. Strengthen our military, shore up our allies, show our enemies just how much we can hurt them, when necessary. Stomp ISIS out of existence. Can't say I'd argue with him on any of this.

- In an interview with ABC's David Muir, Walker was asked about his change in stance on illegal immigration. He's previously supported amnesty, but backed away from that. Walker didn't actually answer why he changed his mind, but stated he supported vigorous enforcement of the laws we currently have. As for the millions of illegals already here, he said he sees the issue as complex, and that an all (give everyone amnesty and an easy path to citizenship) or nothing (deport every illegal) approach is naïve and ineffective. No clue on what he sees as possible solutions to that, though.

Walker has been criticized as a less than inspiring public speaker. Even in the few minutes I saw of the speech, I can see why. He's certainly been coached; his tone and pace overall was pretty good. But his body language...he seems to have only two or three set gestures, and those are all two handed (one arm mirrors the other). I'm not really too surprised, as from what I gather, in normal life Scott is rather...dorky. If you haven't seen them, the pictures of the family dressed as Pirates of the Caribbean for Halloween are priceless. I believe he's also a bit of a Star Wars fan. Anyway, even though he came out looking relaxed (no suit coat, no tie, collar open and sleeves rolled up), his movements on stage were a bit stiff.

Eh. We've had almost eight years of slick oration, and look where that has gotten us. Walker is a refreshing change.

The run up to the nomination should be a fun free for all. My only concern is how much of a spoiler The Donald will be. Can he just go away?

On a local note, the local paper began its attacks in earnest the instant Walker announced. I'm not expecting fair and unbiased coverage, at least anywhere in the state that gets its news from Milwaukee or Madison outlets.

I do, however, expect coverage 24/7 in an unending barrage. It may be best to avoid it, al least until the field narrows a bit. No sense spending the time evaluating candidates who will be long gone by the time Wisconsin holds its primary in April February April? Officially, it is April, but in both 2004 and 2008, it was moved to February.

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