'My Dad Turned His Hearing Aid Down a Bit': Scott Walker Reacts to Protesters at Parents' HouseYou have to remember that Walker treats reported attacks on family members by people opposed to his policies as one of his prime qualifications for office. He constantly refers to this; we're supposed to want to vote for him because his family has been attacked.
Here's a Washington Times blog post from November 2013: "Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker: 'I had a stack of death threats.'" Here's a story from the same period at Wisconsin Reporter: "‘Unintimidated:’ Gov. Scott Walker’s book details death threats during hostile time." Here's an account of a "tele-town hall" conducted by Walker earlier this month:
Walker talked about some of the death threats made against him by those who opposed his conservative reforms. One threatened to “gut my wife like a deer,” and another note said that if his wife didn’t stop him, he’d be “the first Wisconsin governor ever assassinated,” he said. The threats are part of the reason he’s “exploring that very real possibility of stepping up and providing a new level of leadership,” he said during the 30-minute call.This was shortly after Walker's speech at the Iowa Freedom Summit made him a serious contender for the GOP nomination; the death threats were a key part of that speech.
No one should ever threaten a politician with violence, much less a member of a politician's family. But Walker is acting as if he and his family are the only people in the history of American politics who've ever had to deal with this. If he gets to the general election, does he think he's going to be running against someone who hasn't experienced threats of violence? Seriously?
(I should probably preface this with a trigger warning, but go here if you want to hear a right-wing radio host expressing a desire to shoot Hillary Clinton in the genitals.)
And so we come to last night's broadcast -- and I want you to notice how Walker and Megyn Kelly layer the propaganda. Walker's appeal to the base is not just as a victim of liberal evil who's still standing; he's also a heartland, cornpone, traditional-values guy. So watch the exchange in the first two minutes of this clip:
MEGYN KELLY: Joining me now, Governor Scott Walker. Grandma and Grandpa, Governor? Really? Now your mother and father are being subjected to protesters on the front lawn of their own home? Were they there at the time?(Note that Kelly appears to look at a monitor on her desk as she shifts to this question. I guess someone needed to prompt her to inject Ma and Pa Walker's advanced age into the conversation. It was the next line in the script.)
SCOTT WALKER: They were. I think my dad said this morning, when I talked to him, he turned his hearing aid down a little bit. My mom -- my mom is so wonderful, she was actually half tempted to send them some chocolate chip cookies outside, 'cause she sends those to our neighbors all the time. But my neighbors are kinda bummed, 'cause normally she's droppin' off chocolate chip cookies, and it was a little hard for her to go out and do that.
KELLY: I mean, were they -- was this a nothin'burger for them, or were they, you know, a little put off? I guess you're -- how old are they? In their seventies?
WALKER: Yeah. They're in their mid-seventies, and this is one -- unfortunately, four years ago they had some experience in this. They were living there since I started out as governor. They've lived with us -- when my parents moved in, my kids were still in high school back then, so we tried to come home each night. We had points where there were literally thousands of protesters in the heighth [sic] of it four years ago. And my mom not only had a protester out in front of her house, she actually had someone chase my youngest son and her down the aisle at the grocery store just to yell at them four years ago. I think those sorts of things, though, backfire.Kelly is a master of self-righteous high dudgeon, so you can probably imagine the tone of the following without even watching the clip:
KELLY: I mean, Governor, it's too much. Right? It's like, these folks have a right to be angry if they don't like the state budget proposals, and they've been controversial -- they're going to make cuts to the colleges in Wisconsin. But don't you think it goes too far, whether the politician is a Republican or a Democrat, to go to a person's home?Walker replies:
WALKER: Yeah. Four years ago, at the heighth of the protest, I had someone who -- a Republican lawmaker who was from Janesville, used to be a union member, actually a union leader in one of the unions where the old GM plant was, and he said, "We would go and protest sometimes at the plant. We would protest by the manager's office. We would never go to the manger's personal home, 'cause that's crossing the line." But yet that's what they did, repeatedly, with the protest, with the death threats. Now, we haven't had those kind of threats that we had four years ago, but we have some of the same sorts of personal protest out in front now, and I just think in the end it backfires, because good people, at least here in the Midwest, realize you can have your disagreements, but really, taking it out in front of someone's home?And that's why you should vote for Scott Walker for president: because people are mean to him and his family. That's what he wants the Republican base to regard as his principal qualification.
WALKER: Particularly with elderly parents? That's a little too much.
I don't know if this will work in a general election. But I think it's going to be very effective in the primaries.