And then there were… still a lot.
Yet, political reality has hit home for Scott Walker who, amidst public discussion of numerous campaign missteps, has left the race before he really got started. The Republican field is now (slightly) smaller, probably not much wiser, and has seen the first of many “top-tier” candidates become the weakest link.
On a professional level, I like and respect the work of Scott Walker. I pull no punches when it comes to my position regarding the damaging effects that public sector unions have on an economy and Mr. Walker is a public figure who recognized economic reality, faced up to the social pressure, and made changes to turn the fiscal situation in his state around. Furthermore, Governor Walker stood up to a recall election not because of any professional misconduct, but because of his opposition to the demands of the union organizers.
And while it’s still a bit early for a real commitment to any one candidate, I genuinely believed in Walker’s longevity and saw him as a sort of “man to beat.” I haven’t got “my guy” yet, but Walker had been towards the top since before any campaign announcement or onslaught of Republican contenders. He has a fighter’s spirit and stands up to bullies with bad management skills. Who knows where we will all be four years from now but my guess is that Walker will see the national stage once again.
The truth is that in a 2016 Republican field of over a dozen candidates, the risk lies not in stepping out of line but in becoming an indistinguishable part of the Republican collective, and not the Leader of the Free World. The fine line has always lain between straying from the pack, risking the alienation of a solid base and fitting in so well that you become an anonymous suit. Art imitating life, imitating art, I suppose.
Politics is about winning elections and the next year is going to be a long, bitter battle to Pennsylvania Avenue. Better to get out now, preserve the resources and some dignity, and pursue national aspirations at a later date.
As we go through the next year of intense political discourse, remember that once past the bewildering fog of campaign promise, massive ego tripping and threat-provoking threatening, the president is neither king nor emperor. This office has always borne the weight of both unjust praise and condemnation. But whether Republican or Democrat, there truly are intentional limitations in place, restricting what this one individual can do as President, despite the claims of any candidate.
The greater lesson here, for the politically or ambitiously inclined alike: primarily, the importance of knowing thyself, remaining true to that integrity and possessing ideologically supported policy initiatives that extend beyond the commonplace, more of the same, business as usual. To many, 2016 seems like the perfect year for a Republican candidate; the stars have aligned to anoint the great amongst us to the highest office in the land. But much blood and many tears will be shed along the way.
I commend Gov. Walker for the good work he has done and has yet to do. He got out this time, on his terms, and I look forward to the time when he runs for office once again.