Walker Tone Deaf to Irony

Cleaning off my desktop…this probably should have been written while the governor was still vying for the GOP presidential nomination…but it still outlines his inability to see the bigger picture to what he is saying/doing. Of course safely back in Wisconsin where the media regularly give him a free pass…where he only speaks at closed invitation only sessions at businesses or organizations that support him…it’s less of an issue.

But let’s relive those thrilling days of yesteryear…well almost a month ago…when Governor Walker decided to give a major policy address (roundly ignored by the tea party, GOP and media) at President Reagan’s alma mater: Eureka College.

The irony here?

Standing on the stage where Ronald Reagan “found his voice,” Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker sought to find his own Thursday as he promised to repeat his actions in Wisconsin by taking down federal workers’ unions on his first day in the White House.

Well Governor Walker totally overlooked how President Reagan found his voice…he was urging his fellow classmen to go on strike to protest budget cuts at the school! The king of education budget cuts doesn’t see the irony in this? The leader in handcuffing the world renowned University of Wisconsin system doesn’t get it…no, he didn’t get his eureka moment!

Scott Walker gets a “Liar Liar, Pants on Fire” rating after Ronald Reagan union claim

As Gov. Scott Walker continues to make the rounds nationally to bolster his viability as a Republican presidential candidate, he’s finally being exposed on a broader level for what he really is: a liar and an idiot. During a January 21st appearance on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe,” Gov. Walker was asked about the importance of foreign policy experience for a presidential candidate. Responding to the question, Gov. Walker told an outright lie about how records showed Ronald Reagan’s decision to fire the nation’s air traffic controllers in 1981 impacted relations between the United States and the Soviet Union.

Then he turned to Reagan, one of his political heroes, and one of the Republican president’s early acts in office — the mass firing of most of the nation’s air traffic controllers.

In August 1981, after contract talks between the federal government and the union for the controllers stalled, nearly 13,000 controllers walked off the job. Just seven months into his first term, Reagan called the strike illegal and demanded they return to work. When more than 11,000 didn’t, Reagan fired them in what was an unprecedented action.

In his MSNBC interview, Walker asserted that the move was one of the most important foreign policy decisions “made in our lifetime,” showing allies and adversaries around the world “that we were serious.”

Then he added this:

“Years later, documents released from the Soviet Union showed that that exactly was the case. The Soviet Union started treating (Reagan) more seriously once he did something like that. Ideas have to have consequences. And I think (President Barack Obama) has failed mainly because he’s made threats and hasn’t followed through on them.”

Experts contacted by PolitiFact indicated they had never heard of any documents that back up Gov. Walker’s claim, and according to PolitiFact’s report Svetlana Savranskaya, the director of Russia programs at the National Security Archive at George Washington University, told PolitiFact she “had to listen to the Walker interview twice, so ridiculous is the statement about the air traffic controllers.”

Why did Gov. Scott Walker lie about voting for Reagan? (UPDATED)

Correction: The right-wing blogger who originally quoted Scott Walker as saying he voted for Ronald Reagan has since corrected his original report, blaming the misquote on a transcription error.

As noted by James Rowen at The Political Environment, Gov. Scott Walker has once again demonstrated his tenuous relationship with the truth. In an interview with a right-wing blog Gov. Walker noted how he voted for Ronald Reagan for president (emphasis added).

I remember, I was a teenager, had just become a teenager and voted for Ronald Reagan — limited government, you know, smaller government, lower taxes, strong national defense. You knew what you were getting. You knew how a Reagan administration, a Reagan presidency was going to be better for you.

According to his official biography, Scott Walker was born on November 2, 1967, so he would have been 13 years old on election day in 1980 and just 17 years old on election day in 1984.

Given the fact that Scott Walker was not ever old enough to vote for Ronald Reagan for president, he’s either lying about having voted for Ronald Reagan or he voted illegally.

What’s the Deal with Progressives and Agism?

Just about a year ago, a candidate for local office visited Drinking Liberally to present a case for being elected over the long term incumbent. One of the knocks on the incumbent was the officeholder’s age put him out of touch with the district. Looking around the room at all of the gray hair and bald heads…many whose support at the doors, on the phones, and with contributions the candidate was hoping to gain…and knowing the incumbent was younger than myself…I commented to the candidate, that although I would accept the position that the incumbent was out of touch with the district and the area…I wouldn’t suggest attributing that to age. Instead of picking up on my hint, the candidate doubled down on the age theme. That candidate did not win and will not garner my support in any future attempts at elected office.

Just following the November 6th Presidential election, a rather premature Facebook discussion posited the question about potential Democratic candidates in 2016. Of course current favorite, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton was mentioned. One of my progressive friends suggested that in 2016, Ms. Clinton would be 69 years old…too old to run for president. Senator John McCain was 72 when he was nominated at the 2008 Republican National Convention…and President Reagan was 69 when he started his first term as President (But of course they were Republicans, so we can discount that). So despite the recent lionization of former US Congressman David Obey, who was already over 69 during the protests in Madison or the reverence shown for State Senator Fred Risser who is well into his 80s, Ms. Clinton at 69 would be too old to be President. When I brought up the ‘elder’ statesmen Risser and Obey, I was reminded that the job of President is far more stressful and important than legislative positions. Maybe so…but I would suggest that the second most stressful job in US government…and one that is extremely taxing physically because of the continual world travel involved…is US Secretary of State…which by all accounts Ms. Clinton has filled with energy, grace, and diplomacy! And I think she could work circles around many of her far younger critics.

Is age one way of gauging a candidates fitness for office…well yes…I suppose it comes into play. But we should never dismiss out of hand a fully qualified candidate simply based on when they were born!

Why 2012’s presidential election shouldn’t be compared to 1980

As James Hohmann writes for Politico, any comparisons between Republican Mitt Romney’s 2012 presidential campaign and the successful 1980 presidential campaign of Ronald Reagan may appear to be apt superficially, but might not stand up under closer scrutiny.

A handsome former governor faced a vulnerable incumbent, a weak economy and a crisis in the Middle East.

The description is of the 1980 presidential race between President Jimmy Carter and challenger Ronald Reagan. And it’s become the Mitt Romney campaign’s go-to analogy as he struggles in the polls in the final stretch of the campaign, insisting to donors and strategists that the election is still winnable in the final weeks.

But 2012 is not 1980, when Carter lost to Reagan in a landslide.

The 32-year-old comparison just doesn’t hold up well under scrutiny: the electoral map for Reagan was friendlier, the 1980 economy feebler, the incumbent more vulnerable, the crisis overseas worse and Reagan’s campaign skills were simply better.

Or as Reagan biographer Craig Shirly summed things up, “You have to look at it like a French impressionist painting. “If you stand way back, you say, ‘There are maybe some similarities between 1980 and 2012.’ But the closer you get to the painting the more it separates.”

While I’m certainly no fan of Ronald Reagan, he was most certainly a skilled campaigner, and Mitt Romney most certainly isn’t.