Tag Archives: Scott Walker

When did we devalue ‘executive experience’?

bobby jindal

The third Republican candidate for president has dropped out of the 2016 race.

Bobby Jindal of Louisiana joins Rick Perry of next-door Texas and Scott Walker of Wisconsin as GOP hopefuls who didn’t make the grade with an increasingly angry primary voter base.

What do these men have in common? They’re all either active governors or former governors. Which prompts the question: Whatever happened the notion that governors bring more “executive experience” to these campaigns than, say, senators or members of the House of Representatives?

A wise man — I can’t remember who — said that governors usually are better positioned than legislators to take the reins of government.

As RealClearPolitics reported: “Experience and expertise seems to be a non-factor this year, which is kind of mind-boggling,” Jindal supporter and Iowa GOP activist Shane Vander Hart told RCP.

Read the whole story here.

Indeed, one can look back into recent political history to see how voters have responded to presidential candidates with gubernatorial experience: Democrat Jimmy Carter of Georgia, elected in 1976; Republican Ronald Reagan of California, elected in 1980 and re-elected in 1984; Democrat Bill Clinton of Arkansas, elected in 1992 and re-elected in 1996; and Republican George W. Bush of Texas, elected in 2000 and re-elected in 2004.

Gov. Perry made the case when he announced his candidacy that governors are better prepared for the presidency than legislators.  I wrote about it in my blog. See it here.

This year? Republican primary voters are going for a real estate mogul/reality TV star and a retired brain surgeon. Governors and former governors? They’re being ignored, tossed aside and relegated to virtual asterisks.

Democratic voters have one remaining former governor in the race: Martin O’Malley of Maryland. And of the three Democrats running for the White House, he’s polling a distant third behind a former first lady, U.S. senator and secretary of state, and a sitting U.S. senator.

Governors used to be the main men and women in these contests. They would tout their experience actually running state governments and how that experience prepared them for the Big Job.

Not any longer.

You want a measure of just how weird the upcoming presidential campaign is going to get? Take a look at what’s happening to those candidates with “executive experience.”



Now it’s ‘only’ 15 in the GOP field

Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker speaks to the Illinois Chamber of Commerce Tuesday, April 17, 2012 in Springfield, Ill. Walker says he's using Illinois and its many problems as an argument for keeping him in office. The first-term Republican faces a recall election in June primarily because he restricted union bargaining rights for state employees.  (AP Photo/Seth Perlman)

Scott Walker wasn’t supposed to call an end to his Republican presidential campaign … so early.

Wasn’t the Wisconsin governor at or near the lead in Iowa? Didn’t he appeal to those Christian evangelicals? Isn’t he the guy who stood up to those unions in Wisconsin, which plays well with the GOP base?

Well, then he started talking.

He equated those union workers to the Islamic State.

He then decided it is worth discussing the possibility of building a wall across the nation’s border with Canada.

Then along came Donald Trump, Ben Carson and Carly Fiorina — three political outsiders — to knock the wind out of Walker’s “establishment” message.

The end of Walker’s campaign comes only a week or so after former Texas Gov. Rick Perry’s swan song.

It’s becoming a bit of a guessing game now.

Who’s next? Ex-New York Gov. George Pataki? Former Virginia Gov. Jim Gilmore?

While the media are fixated on polls and whether any of the still-large GOP field is able to reel in Trump, many of the rest of the GOP field are trying to have their voices heard.

Unfortunately for Gov. Walker, those times he actually was heard … he managed to make declarations that exposed him to ridicule.

Let the culling of the field continue.


Kinky had it right about a wall

Kinbky Friedman - 1

I found a blog post I’d written in July 2010.

I said then that “I miss Kinky Friedman.” Why? Because despite his seemingly unserious bid to become Texas governor in 2006, the Texas humorist, musician and gadfly actually made sense.

Here’s the blog post: Kinky’s rant

He opposed the idea of building a wall along our southern border. He said that with the trouble brewing five years ago in the United States, Americans might want out — and a wall would make it more difficult for us to escape.

I mention Kinky today because the current crop of Republican presidential primary candidates is sounding quite ridiculous, particularly as they seek to outflank the GOP front runner, Donald Trump, on this immigration matter.

Trump says he’ll build a “beautiful wall.” Not to be outdone, Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker says he’d consider building a wall between the United States and Canada.

Let’s get serious here. Or else, let’s draft Kinky Friedman to run for president.

About those walls …


As long as we’re talking about building walls to keep illegal immigrants from streaming into our country, let us ponder some things.

My wife wondered recently about the proposed Trump Wall along our southern border. “What does Donald Trump propose to do about those who would tunnel under the wall?” she asked.

Good question, Girl of My Dreams.

What does Trump propose for the wall and how deeply does he want to sink it into the dirt along our 1,900-mile-long border with Mexico? Ten feet, 20 feet, 30 feet … 100 feet!

Has he heard about how the infamous drug kingpin El Chapo dug his way out of that maximum-security prison in Mexico?

OK, so Trump has been joined in the Build-a-Wall chorus by Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, who said over the weekend it’s worth considering a wall between the United States and Canada.

That one would be roughly double the length of the Trump Wall.

Remember that we have a significant border with the Canadians along our Alaska state line.

So, not only would a U.S.-Canada wall stretch 3,000-plus miles along our countries’ east-west border, it would go another 1,200 or so miles north and south from the southern tip of the finger of Alaska that deeps south to, um, the Arctic Ocean — wa-a-a-ay up yonder.

And while we’re on the subject of the northern border, Gov. Walker, what are you going to do about some shared attractions?

Niagara Falls — which my wife and I visited in 2011 — comes to mind immediately.

This wall-building rhetoric is easy to throw out there. It gets applause and cheers from the Republican Party faithful.

However, this nonsense requires some serious thought … which we have not yet heard from any of the people who want to be president of the United States.



Let’s wall off entire U.S. … not!

First bricks of new house. Brick wall foundation isolated 3l illustration

The wall that Donald Trump keeps yapping about might get a bit longer.

The Republican presidential primary front runner wants to build a “beautiful” wall along our southern border. He says he can do it because he’s “good at building things.” It’ll run 1,900 or so miles.

Now comes Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, one of the thundering herd of challengers seeking to catch Trump. He wants to out-Trump The Donald. How? He says he’s “open to the idea” of building a wall across our northern border, the one that separates the United States from Canada. It’s been the longest unsecured border in the world since, oh I guess maybe forever.

He said this on “Meet the Press”: “Some people have asked us about that in New Hampshire. They raised some very legitimate concerns, including some law enforcement folks that brought that up to me at one of our town hall meetings about a week and a half ago … I think we need to secure borders in general.”

Here’s more from Walker

While we’re at it, let’s build underwater obstructions along the Pacific, Atlantic and Gulf coasts. You know, the kind of things the Nazis erected along Normandy as they sought to fight off the D-Day invaders in June 1944?

We’d need to keep shipping lanes open, of course. But if we’re going to “secure our borders in general,” as Walker suggested, then by golly, let’s go all in.

The last thing we ought to do is sand blast that inscription from the base of the Statue of Liberty, which says to other nations they are welcome to “Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free … ”


Birthright citizenship: tough to eliminate

baby citizens

A part of the 14th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution says this:

“All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the state wherein they reside.”

It’s clear, yes? Everyone born in this country is a citizen of this country.

Why, then, do some Republicans — maybe most of them — want to amend the Constitution to single out those who have the misfortune of being born to individuals who are here illegally?

GOP presidential frontrunner Donald Trump wants to end the “birthright citizenship” clause of the 14th Amendment. He’s led the amen chorus on that one. Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker has joined him.

But as Eric Greider of Texas Monthly points out, some Republican presidential candidates are standing for the Constitution. Former Texas Gov. Rick Perry is one of them; so is U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida; same for former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush.

What do these men have in common? They all have been elected in states with substantial Latino populations, which of course is the audience being targeted by those who want to repeal birthright citizenship.

If we get rid of this citizenship provision, we will have to amend the Constitution. Don’t conservatives generally stand foursquare behind the nation’s governing document?



Why is Obama’s faith an issue?

“… but no religious Test shall ever be required as a Qualification to any Office or public Trust under the United States.”

— U.S. Constitution, Article VI

Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker got a question the other day about whether he thinks President Obama is a Christian.

His answer? “I presume he is … I’ve never asked him about it.” Then said he takes “the president at his word” that, yep, is he’s a Christian.

Walker wants to succeed Obama as president of the United States. He’s one of 17 Republicans seeking the GOP nomination; four Democrats are running, too.

I keep wondering, though, why this question keeps coming up about the current president’s faith.

Hasn’t he stated time and again that he believes Jesus Christ is his savior? Hasn’t he attended church services with his family? Hasn’t he made the declaration that he is a Christian?

The issue ought to be moot. The Constitution says we shouldn’t set a religious standard for candidates seeking any “office or public trust.”

Why can’t these individuals answer such ridiculous questions in a straight-forward matter? Perhaps something like this:

“Thank you for the question. Let me answer it in two parts.

“First, the president is a Christian. He’s stated his faith repeatedly since taking office and I believe him.

“Second, the question is not relevant to any discussion about those who hold public office or those who seek public office. The Constitution says there shall be ‘no religious test’ for candidates. I happen to support the Constitution of the United States, which is crystal clear on the place of religion in politics.”

I really don’t blame Walker for keeping this issue bubbling. The blame belongs to the media who keep raising it.

Enough already!

Does one ‘choose’ to be gay?

Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker has entered the Republican presidential field.

He’s also said he doesn’t know if people choose to be gay.


The columnist Richard Cohen posed what I presume to be a rhetorical question: “At what point did he (Walker) decide to be heterosexual? At what age did he decide that he would not be homosexual or, if he had the energy, bisexual? I know for myself that I am unaware of making such a decision and did not mark it down — as I now would — in my Google Calendar or tweet it to much of America and the ships at sea.”

It’s a question that’s likely to dog the governor as he campaigns for the GOP presidential nomination.

I keep falling back to another question posed by a gay friend of mine. His name was Tim. He died of AIDS-related complications in 1994. After he revealed to his friends and colleagues that he had contracted HIV, he and I discussed his sexual orientation. “Why would I choose to be vilified and condemned?” Tim asked.

Why, indeed?

Tim said he didn’t choose his sexual orientation. He considered it to be part of his DNA, of his character, of his very being

I don’t know when, or if, Gov. Walker will ever reach a conclusion on people’s sexual orientation. He’ll likely have to decide before his presidential campaign gets too far down the road.

Most entertaining campaign in history is on tap

So help me, I didn’t think it was possible for any campaign to be more entertaining than the 2012 campaign for the Republican Party’s presidential nomination.

Thank you, Donald Trump, for smashing my expectations for the 2016 campaign.

The Donald has managed to do what I thought was impossible: He’s managed to make the likes of Michele Bachmann and Herman Cain look and sound almost reasonable, rational and mainstream.

He’s shot off his mouth about Mexican immigrants who come here illegally, stereotyping them as murderers, rapists, drug dealers — along with “some good people.” He’s called Mitt Romney a “loser” because he got beat in a campaign that he should have won; he’s challenged whether Ted Cruz of Texas is a legitimate candidate for the presidency, given that he was born in Canada.

And now he’s said John McCain isn’t really a war hero, even though he was held prisoner by the North Vietnamese during the Vietnam War, while saying in the next breath that he likes “those who weren’t captured.”

Other Republicans have condemned Trump’s buffoonery. So have Democratic candidates.

It’s been an amazing campaign to date and we’re still months away from those Iowa caucuses and the lead-off New Hampshire primary.

Trump has managed to suck all the air out of every room he enters. The other candidates? They can’t be heard above all the ruckus created by Trump’s amazing ability to call attention to himself.

Four years ago, Bachmann and Cain — along with Newt Gingrich, Rick Perry and even Rick Santorum — tried to raise a stink about this and/or that. They all were “frontrunners” for a time. Then came Romney, with all of his money and political connections, to win the GOP nomination.

Now we have Trump, who reportedly has much more wealth than Romney — and who brags about his portfolio incessantly — making a lot of racket.

But here’s the deal. He won’t be nominated. He’s going out with his guns blazing (figuratively, of course). Someone else will be nominated. If I had to bet on the next GOP nominee, I’d put my money today on either former Florida Gov. John Ellis (Jeb) Bush and Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker. But they’re so boring.

Trump has turned this campaign into a circus.

Way to go, Donald. You’ve made the preceding cast of GOP contenders/pretenders look like statespersons.

Rick Perry 2.0 makes another run for White House

Here we go again.

Rick Perry is going to run for president of the United States of America.

The former longest-serving Texas governor in state history hopes for a much better outcome than his first effort, which ended in January 2012 — before the first Republican primary ever took place. He stumbled, bumbled and fumbled badly that first time out. His debate performances were hideous, highlighted by the infamous “oops” moment which he couldn’t name the third of three federal agencies he’d dismantle if he were elected president.


He’s back now.

Ready for action.

He’s changed his look, wearing those eyeglasses.

Perry thinks we need a president who’ll tell them the truth, who’ll lead from the front, who’ll do all the things he says the current administration hasn’t done.

This campaign differs from the first one, however, in another key way. He became an instant frontrunner when he announced his intention to seek the 2012 GOP nomination. Perry enters this race as a distant also-ran in a field headed — for now — by the likes of Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush and U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla.; there might be another name or three out there at the front of the pack, but Perry’s name ain’t one of them.

And I haven’t even mentioned, until right now, that he’s the first declared presidential candidate in history to run while under indictment alleging abuse of power. But, hey, that’s another story for another day.

Back when he was running for president in late 2011, I would hear from more than one Texas Panhandle Republican — and believe me, I live in the most GOP-friendly region of this GOP-friendly state — that they hoped he’d become president, but for reasons I didn’t expect to hear.

They wanted Perry to win because they wanted “to get him out of Texas.”