For reasons unbeknown to me, Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker has been one of the fastest growing stars in the Republican party here lately. The only thing that I’ve been able to come up with for his odd ascension to one of the favorites for the GOP nomination in 2016 is the fact that he seems somewhat electable compared to people like senators Ted Cruz or Rand Paul.
Also, I think his popularity is linked to a push by many on the right for “anyone but Bush,” fearing that Jeb’s last name will cost them any chance at winning in 2016. (For the record, they’re right.)
But I still don’t get this sudden love affair with Scott Walker. By all accounts, the guy’s a scumbag. Not only that, but it seems the more the national media digs into him, the more shady he becomes.
Take for instance a story he’s told several times about getting to hold the infamous Reagan Bible that was supposedly last touched by the conservative legend. Personally, I find the story a bit creepy. Ronald Reagan was just a man – that’s it. While I understand that some looked up to him, to hear Walker tell his version of the story, you would think Reagan was some kind of holy figure with magical powers.
Now, I say “his version” because by all accounts, Walker has been lying about what happened for several years.
According to Walker, Nancy Reagan sought him out, while the library brought the Bible out especially for him to view and hold:
And they brought over a pair of white gloves to me and they said, ‘No one has touched this since President Reagan. It is his mother’s Bible that he took the oath of office on. Mrs. Reagan would like you to hold it and take a picture with it.
Walker’s version makes him seem as if he got the blessing of Reagan’s widow. It’s basically a roundabout attempt to make people believe that he would have been endorsed by the former president if he were still alive.
There’s just one little problem: that’s not what happened. Library artifacts curator Jennifer Torres said Walker’s office had sent them emails requesting to see the Bible and they were simply obliging his requests.
“We decided to remove the Bible the day Governor Walker was in town to comply with his request, took the Bible back to collections after the photo and re-installed it on exhibit a few days later,” Torres said.
Now, is this a huge deal? Well, yes and no.
Walker is clearly trying to paint himself as some kind of Reagan-esque Republican who would have been the conservative icon’s chosen candidate. Lying about the Bible story can be seen as nothing more than a petty political move to gain some favorability among conservative voters. But at the same time, didn’t NBC’s Brian Williams just get publicly destroyed for conjuring up a fake story that really harmed nobody? And isn’t that essentially what Walker’s story is – a sensationalized elaboration meant to add credibility to his character?
But hey, it’s just one little harmless lie, right?
Well, not so fast.
Walker also recently lied about ordering his college records at Marquette University to be unsealed. Not only that, but Walker’s profile on the fact-checking site Politifact is less than stellar, to say the least. Out of 130 statements they’ve fact-checked as of today, 63 have been false and another 18 were only half true. In other words, Walker isn’t exactly someone who I would call a “beacon of honesty.”
Even if you don’t consider many of his lies “harmful,” there’s something inherently dangerous about somebody who’s willing to lie about seemingly anything just to gain even a small advantage. Walker’s most recently exposed lies appear to be symptomatic of someone who seems more than willing to lie about even insignificant things.
And mark my words, this is just the beginning. Now that he’s become a leading GOP hopeful, the media is going to continue digging into things he’s said and done to find out just how honest he’s actually been.
This is similar to what happened to Chris Christie about a year and a half ago when he became a Republican superstar following his re-election. The moment he gained that national attention and the media dug into some of his behavior, that’s when everything fell apart for the New Jersey governor. While the bridge scandal certainly helped, a lot of that attention was a byproduct of the national fame he had garnered as a rising Republican star.
Fast forward to today, and Christie is basically just an afterthought. He’s someone who almost nobody sees as a viable Republican candidate.
So, while Walker is the “toast of the town” right now for the GOP, they might want to taper their excitement just a bit. It seems that the more national attention Walker gets, the more people are quickly going to realize just how dishonest and deceitful he really is.