Who the Heck is This Guy and Where Did He Come From???
November 2010 was not a good election season for most Democrats. Barack Obama had been president for almost a whole twenty-two months and yet, despite winning a Nobel Prize, he hadn’t cured cancer, eliminated the heartbreak of psoriasis or solved the global economic meltdown resulting from eight years of a Bush presidency and two unnecessary wars. The public responded in a completely calm and rational manner: they handed control back to the people who had caused the mess in the first place.
They did it because all across the country, ads paid for by groups with reassuring patriotic names like “Americans for Prosperity” and “Club for Growth” and “Heritage Foundation” assured the voting public that the Democrats were all devil-worshipping heathens led by a Kenyan Muslim terrorist who would your raise taxes, ship your job to Bangladesh, and kill your grandparents by putting them on ice floes and setting them adrift in the Arctic Ocean. And so the voters knew who they should trust. After all, if they said it, it must be true. And the truth should be repeated as often as possible. And emailed to everyone in your email address book. Because the truth shall set you free. And help you take back the country from whoever had taken it from you. Nobody knew exactly who that was, but they knew somebody had taken it, maybe the Chinese who were buying everything, including Idaho.
Anyway, everyone knew it had happened, the Americans for Growth and Prosperity Heritage Club told them so. And clearly, somebody with a foreign name like “Barack Hussein Obama” had to be involved somehow. I mean really. Look at him. Then look at all the guys who had been president before him. Now look back at him. He really doesn’t look like any of the rich white guys who you know you can trust because they told you you could. And he sure doesn’t look like any of the rich white guys who were our founding fathers. Nope – he looks like somebody who might have been born in a foreign country like Hawaii that didn’t even exist when our great nation was born.
For months, non-stop ads by the groups with reassuring patriotic names blasted the Democrats into smithereens, reminding voters that the Democratic candidates not only jaywalked, ate kittens, and watched foreign films without falling asleep, they were liberal elitist union puppets who would destroy the country with bigger government and spendthrift policies, taxing and spending us into oblivion. We were on the precipice of Taxegeddon. We needed a hero, but who? Who would save us in our hour of need?
Then he rode into town: a down-to-earth, guy-next-door who knew how hard you were struggling because of that foreigner in the White House who, after being in office for 22 long months, still hadn’t solved the global economic crisis.
So this guy with his rolled up sleeves who was just like us told us exactly what we wanted to hear: he would bring back prosperity. He would balance the budget without raising taxes. He would create jobs. Lots of jobs. Jobs the voters needed because, after eight years of a Bush presidency and two unnecessary wars, a lot of those voters were out of work because of that no-good foreign guy who promised change but then didn’t change things fast enough.
And the voters knew they should vote for guys like Rick Scott Walker Perry because he wasn’t one of those insider, same-old same-old career politicians who had sold out to special interests. He said so. He didn’t say much else because he didn’t need to. We knew we could trust him.
And so, as in most years, election day came and, as in most years, most of the voters stayed home. But of the people who did bother to go to the polls, a resounding majority voted Republican. A resounding majority in Wisconsin meant about 1 out of 3 registered voters. Or about 1 out of 4 eligible voters. Which the Republicans then announced was a mandate from the people, a mandate that gave them free rein to pursue an agenda that would take the country back from the Chinese, or whoever had taken it, and give it to the people who deserved it: the job creators.
And the people were euphoric and hopeful. And knew that soon they would be fully employed in secure, good paying jobs with a great pension and benefits that would allow them to move out of their parents’ house where they had been living since the foreclosure and into a nice home near good schools in a safe community with clean water, wonderful parks, affordable health care, and cheap public transportation. And every night before they went to bed they thanked the Republicans for giving their country back to them.
And who was this stranger who offered salvation, this soft-spoken man with the reassuring promises? His name is legion, but in Wisconsin he was known by a name that was as American as apple pie, a name that would fit on any 1950’s movie marquee, a name that was blessedly Anglo-Saxon in origin, a name that was the antithesis of foreign, that resounded with white tradition: Scott Walker.
Yes, Scott Walker rode out of obscurity and into the national spotlight, a man of humble origins, who transformed Milwaukee County into a prosperous paradise with a balanced budget, a native son who … what? You mean he’s a college drop-out who has spent most of his adult life on the public dole and will now get at least three government pensions? And caused such a mess when he was
County Executive of Milwaukee County that it cost the local taxpayers hundreds of thousands, maybe millions of dollars, and left behind a scandal involving problems at a mental health complex? That he cut safety inspections, contributing to the death of a 15 year old boy? And he was born in Colorado?
You’ve got to be kidding me!
But he made it seem like he was one of us! That he was a home town boy! A Sconnie born and bred! His bio even says that he “was born on November 2, 1967 to Llew and Pat Walker. He was raised in Delavan, Wisconsin where he was active in sports, band, church and scouting.” He was even a Badger Boy! And the son of a preacher man! He said he was our savior! He would never lie to us!
Wait a minute, you mean it’s not really a lie if you only imply things? That it’s okay to arrange words to give a false impression? To leave things out to mislead others? That there’s nothing immoral about duping people? That intentionally manipulating the public into believing something that is not and never has been true is perfectly acceptable?