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We have had some bones to pick with Governor Walker in the past. He seemed to us to be too close to some corporate interests (see our 8/11/15 story), which made us worry that he was too comfortable with crony capitalism. But we also admired the way he fought some other special interests, most notably public sector unions. He was determined, courageous, and effective. We also admired the way he made his way in life without a college degree.
Now that he has “suspended” his presidential campaign, the media is full of negative stories about him. They mostly take a “hit him when he is down” tone. He is supposed to have been gaffe prone. But when you read the so-called gaffes, they don’t amount to much. He is supposed to have been a poor speaker or a poor manager of his campaign. The article below makes what seems to us to be the most important point: he got less than 14 minutes of airtime for the two debates together.
Scott Walker strikes us as a smart, serious, solid, but not flashy public figure who simply needed more than 14 minutes to explain himself and his positions. The moderators asked him fewer questions than others; in addition, most of the questions were about something that Donald Trump said. Yes, Walker might have tried to interrupt others and grab the microphone more often than he did. But more power to him for not debasing himself, for remaining true to himself. Being able to interrupt others and talk over them is not a good criterion for being selected as president. Neither is skill as an entertainer. Just try to imagine former presidents being thrust into the three ring circus Donald Trump and the moderators have made of the debates. Can’t imagine them there? Neither can we.
During the 2012 election, the general consensus was that Mitt Romney “won” the first debate. Obama was asked about it afterward and said that he had been “ too polite.” Sure enough, he was very rude to Romney the next time out. In a flash, all the decorum of past debates was gone, replaced by the rules of reality TV.
Whatever one’s view on Scott Walker as a candidate or on his positions, his early withdrawal from the race does not augur well for future campaigns or getting serious people to run.