Monday, August 10, 2015

GOP Debate Highlights: Scott Walker

Scott Walker in 2015 (Michael Vadon)

I wanted to take a little time to look over the highlights from the Fox News Big Ten Debate on August 6th, focusing on Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker.

He was calm through the whole debate, refusing to fight with his conservative colleagues. Standing to the right of front runner Donald Trump, Walker responded to every question with direct aplomb, reminding the Republicans on stage and the spectators in the audience of their need to attack Hillary Clinton, although Dr. Ben Carson correctly reminded in turn all those listening that Clinton is not the guaranteed nominee.

Walker attacked Hillary at least three times, more than a number of candidates, who said nothing about the Democratic Party and focused more on other candidates or Barack Obama.

First, he targeted her extremist position on abortion, explaining how he had defunded Planned Parenthood long before the horrific voters emerged with wholesalers bartering over baby parts. He slammed the Obama-Clinton doctrine on foreign policy.

On abortion, Megyn Kelly interrogated Walker:

KELLY: Governor Walker, you've consistently said that you want to make abortion illegal even in cases of rape, incest, or to save the life of the mother. You recently signed an abortion law in Wisconsin that does have an exception for the mother's life, but you're on the record as having objected to it. Would you really let a mother die rather than have an abortion, and with 83 percent of the American public in favor of a life exception, are you too out of the mainstream on this issue to win the general election?

What stood out about this line of question actually touches on its  heated criticism, similar to what Donald Trump and other GOP candidates endured. Walker handled the question very well, without equivocating or caving in:

WALKER: Well, I'm pro-life, I've always been pro-life, and I've got a position that I think is consistent with many Americans out there in that...

Great answer. Remind the audience that he connects with them and shares their values. He is not an extremist on his protection of life.

WALKER: that I believe that that is an unborn child that's in need of protection out there, and I've said many a time that that unborn child can be protected, and there are many other alternatives that can also protect the life of that mother. That's been consistently proven.

Bam! Solution oriented. Walker is more than anti-abortion. He is pro-life, and answered the question like a pro.

Unlike Hillary Clinton, who has a radical position in terms of support for Planned Parenthood, I defunded Planned Parenthood more than four years ago, long before any of these videos came out...

WALKER: ...I've got a position that's in line with everyday America.

"Consistent with many Americans". . ."a position that's in line with everyday America."

Notice also that Walker did not go on a hate-filled tweet rant against Megyn Kelly for this fair and balanced question.

Chris Wallace landed a question on the hot topic of immigration next:

WALLACE: Governor Walker, from 2002 until as recently as 2013, just two years ago, you supported comprehensive immigration reform, including a path to citizenship. Now you say that was a quick reaction to something you hadn't really thought about, and that you've changed your mind. Other than politics, could you explain why in the last two years you've changed your position on a path to citizenship, and are there other past positions that we shouldn't hold you to?

First, the question neglects to indicate that Walker's statements were in an official yet off-hand, sporadic capacity. As the chief executive for the largest Wisconsin county, then Governor for the state, immigration policy was not a forefront issue.

Wallace sets up Walker to respond with another great answer:

WALKER: Chris, I actually said that on your show earlier this year.

Contrary to the ranting of unconvinced conservatives, Walker is not in the pocket of Big Business, just as he beat down Big Labor in 2011. He repealed in-state tuition for illegal aliens, he did not reintroduce the program during his second budget process.

WALKER: I acknowledged that. I said I actually listened to the American people. And I think people across America want a leader who's actually going to listen to them.

There is nothing wrong with a presidential candidate changing his mind. Ronald Reagan was pro-choice, then he became pro-life. He had signed off on no-fault divorce as Governor of California. He regretted that decision for the rest of his life.

I talked to border state governors and other elected officials. I look at how this president, particularly through last November, messed up the immigration system in this country. Most importantly, I listened to the people of America.

(Source: Michael Vadon)

"I listened to the people of America." What more do concerned conservatives want from a Presidential candidate? For the record, many Republicans out of principle and pragmatism embraced a pathway to citizenship for illegal aliens who have lived in the country for the greater part of their lives. The lack of trust and integrity from the current occupant in the White House, plus the increased strain on border security and public institutions, have pushed most Americans, born and naturalized, to reject amnesty. Walker heeded, and rejected prior statements on the matter.
I believe we need to secure the border. I've been to the border with Governor Abbott in Texas and others, seeing the problems that they have there. There is international criminal organizations penetrating our southern based borders, and we need to do something about it. Secure the border, enforce the law, no amnesty, and go forward with the legal immigration system that gives priority to American working families and wages.

Great answers. A friend of mine, a strong amnesty opponent, recognizes that the complexity of immigration has led many well-minded people to propose poor solutions to mass migration problems. Walker is no exception to this reality. Once again, Walker reflects our concerns, and reflects on them to better represent us.

He kept up the pressure on Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama, not his fellow Republican competitors. His growing knowledge about foreign policy stood out:

KELLY: Governor Walker, in February you said that we needed to gain partners in the Arab world. Which Arab country not already in the U.S. led coalition has potential to be our greatest partner?

WALKER: What about then (ph), we need to focus on the ones we have. You look at Egypt, probably the best relationship we've had in Israel, at least in my lifetime, incredibly important.

You look at the Saudis -- in fact, earlier this year, I met with Saudi leaders, and leaders from the United Arab Emirates, and I asked them what's the greatest challenge in the world today? Set aside the Iran deal. They said it's the disengagement of America. We are leading from behind under the Obama-Clinton doctrine -- America's a great country. We need to stand up and start leading again, and we need to have allies, not just in Israel, but throughout the Persian Gulf.

So much for the hollow critique of Walker's woeful "ignorance" on foreign policy. How many times has President Obama or his staff met with Arab leaders? Does he take their phone calls? His behavior toward the Persian Gulf leadership and the Middle East suggest a quiet disdain committed to marginalizing Israel and strengthening rogue states. Walker refuses to allow such controlled, terrorized chaos redefine the region.

He further blasted Hillary and Barack:

WALKER: Just one second on this, though.

We -- we spent a lot of time talking about Hillary Clinton and ---and pitting us back and forth.

Let's be clear, we should be talking about Hillary Clinton on that last subject, because everywhere in the world that Hillary Clinton touched is more messed up today than before she and the president took office.

He could have added right there: "And Clinton's answer to all of this mess? 'What difference does it make'?"

Economic Issues

Walker answered the allegations that he failed to deliver on his promise to provide 250,000 jobs:

(APPLAUSE) Governor Walker, when you ran for governor of Wisconsin back in 2010, you promised that you would create 250,000 jobs in your first term, first four years. In fact, Wisconsin added barely half that and ranked 35th in the country in job growth. Now you're running for president, and you're promising an economic plan in which everyone will earn a piece of the American dream.

Given your record in Wisconsin, why should voters believe you?

WALKER: Well, the voters in Wisconsin elected me last year for the third time because they wanted someone who aimed high, not aimed low.

If we miss our marks, at least we tried. "A man's desire should exceed his grasp, or what's a heaven for?" (Robert Browning)

Before I came in, the unemployment rate was over eight percent. It's now down to 4.6 percent. We've more than made up for the jobs that were lost during the recession. And the rate in which people are working is almost five points higher than it is nationally.

Liberals love to crow that Walker missed the mark on the job creation front. The point is -- jobs and the economy are growing in Wisconsin. Let's state the obvious: liberals will look for any chance to discredit their most fearsome opponent, a conservative Republican in a blue state who has authored and authorize major free market, freedom reforms for his state and his people. The heart and soul of Big Labor and Big Progressive was born in the Dairy State. Because of Scott Walker, Big Labor and their Big Government Agenda died there.
You know, people like Hillary Clinton think you grow the economy by growing Washington. One report last year showed that six of the top 10 wealthiest counties in America were in or around Washington, D.C.. I think most of us in America understand that people, not the government creates jobs. And one of the best things we can do is get the government out of the way, repeal Obamacare, put in -- reign in all the out of control regulations, put in place and all of the above energy policy, give people the education, the skills that the need to succeed, and lower the tax rate and reform the tax code. That's what I'll do as president, just like I did in Wisconsin.


In a very clear sense, Walker articulates the lesson which every conservative Republican governor and President cannot forget. The state cannot create wealth nor should it provide employment at the expense of efficiency or taxpayer funding. He mentioned something basic yet also necessary: repeal Obamacare. I do not recall many Republican Presidential candidates talking about this issue at length.

The most important part of his economic pitch: "That's what I'll do as president, just like I did in Wisconsin."
Iran Deal

BAIER: Now, I wanna ask a few of you this. First, Governor Walker.

You've said that you would tear up the Iran deal on day one. If this deal is undone, what then?

Of course. This deal is another brazen foray into executive fiat, and has no power or authority which any current or future elected official should respect.

WALKER: Well, first off, let's remember. I still remember, as a kid, tying a yellow ribbon around a tree in front of my house during the 444 days that Iran held 52 Americans hostage. Iran is not a place we should be doing business with.

He was tying yellow ribbons around the old oak trees way back in the day. He has history and experience with international terrorism. He cared about our armed forces, even when he could not fight for them at the time.

To me, you terminate the deal on day one, you reinstate the sanctions authorized by Congress, you go to Congress and put in place even more crippling sanctions in place, and then you convince our allies to do the same.

Recognize Congress, go to Congress: those are refreshing words to hear from a chief executive in the waiting.
This is not just bad with Iran, this is bad with ISIS. It is tied together, and, once and for all, we need a leader who's gonna stand up and do something about it.

It's yet another example of the failed foreign policy of the Obama-Clinton doctrine.

Another well-placed hit against Hillary as well as Barack, and a wise move tying them together.

Race Relations

MEGAN: Governor Walker, many in the Black Live Matter movement, and beyond, believe that overly-aggressive police officers targeting young African Americans is the civil rights issue of our time. Do you agree? And if so, how do you plan to address it? And if not, why not?

WALKER: Well, I think the most important thing we can do when it comes to policing -- it's something you've had a guest on who's a friend of mine Milwaukee County Sheriff David Clark, who's talked to me about this many times in the past -- it's about training. It's about making sure that law enforcement professionals, not only in the way in to their positions but all the way through their time, have the proper training, particularly when it comes to the use of force. And that we protect and stand up and support those men and women who are doing their jobs in law enforcement. And for the very few that don't, that there are consequences to show that we treat everyone the same here in America.

Walker could not have said it better. #CopsLivesMatter. Police need support, not attacks, not hatred, not unfettered criticism which ignores the deep urban blight of broken families and welfarism. Sheriff David Clark is no fool, and one of the most outspoken black conservatives -- and Obama critics -- out there. Walker would do well, very well to reach out for his support in the general election.

He also let out one of the best one-liners of the debate about Hillary's server:

BAIER: Governor Walker, as president, what would you do if Russian President Vladimir Putin started a campaign to destabilize NATO allies Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, mirroring the actions Putin took at the early days of Ukraine?

WALKER: Well first off, for the cyber attack with Russia the other day, it's sad to think right now, but probably the Russian and Chinese government know more about Hillary Clinton's e-mail server than do the members of the United States Congress.

And -- and that has put our national security at risk. If I am president, he won't think about that. You know, Putin believes in the old Lenin adage: you probe with bayonets. When you find mush, you push. When you find steel, you stop.

Under Obama and Clinton, we found a lot of mush over the last two years. We need to have a national security that puts steel in front of our enemies. I would send weapons to Ukraine. I would work with NATO to put forces on the eastern border of Poland and the Baltic nations, and I would reinstate, put in place back in the missile defense system that we had in Poland and in the Czech Republic. We define (ph) steel.

Restoration is a necessary foreign policy for our country.

Faith and Truth

Walker was the only one who declared the fullness of the Gospel on the stage:

KELLY: Governor Walker, same question. ("I want to know if any of them have received a word from God on what they should do and take care of first.")

WALKRE: Well, thanks, Megyn.

I'm certainly an imperfect man. And it's only by the blood of Jesus Christ that I've been redeemed from my sins. So I know that God doesn't call me to do a specific thing, God hasn't given me a list, a Ten Commandments, if you will, of things to act on the first day.

He encapsulated the fullness of the New Covenant without even trying: "I will be a god to you, and you shall be my people, for  I will be merciful to your unrighteousness, and your sins and iniquities I will remember no more." (Hebrews 8: 12) We are not called to live under law, from the Ten Commandments to the moral dictates of broken man. We are called to live under the grace of God, which teaches us to reject sin and live godly lives (Titus 2: 11-14)
What God calls us to do is follow his will. And ultimately that's what I'm going to try to do. And I hope people see it in my state, even in the big challenges I took on when I had over 100,000 protesters in and around our capital, trying to do what I thought was the right thing.

I am so glad that he mentioned the hordes of protesters who tried to intimidate him and his colleagues away from necessary reforms. He stood his ground and defeated Big Labor. Real courage.

It wasn't just how I took on those political battles. It was ultimately how I acted. Not responding in kind. Not lashing out. But just being decent going forward and living my life in a way that would be a testimony to him and our faith.

At the end of the debate, with his final statement, Walker listed his impressive resume, from defeating Big Labor to fighting for individual taxpayers, to every fight that they faced, and which they won.

KELLY: Governor Scott Walker.

WALKER: Thanks.

I'm guy with a wife and two kids, and Harley. One article called me "aggressively normal."

Many Americans want a return to "aggressively normal" in our country.

I ran for governor because I was worried about my kids' future. Then, I took on the big government union bosses, and we won. They tried to recall me, and we won. They targeted us again, and we won.

Walker is all about everyone else: "They tried. . .we won. They targeted . .we won." A team player all the way, more people are joining him.
We balanced the budget, cut taxes, and turned our state around with big, bold reforms.
It wasn't too late for Wisconsin, and it's not too late for America. That's why I ask for your vote.

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