Last week, a feisty Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker said that “we’ll need a name from the future — not a name from the past — to win.” He observed, “There’s a lot of people who are loyal to that family because of an ambassadorship or an appointment or something like that. . . . What we’re hoping going forward are not donors of obligation but donors of passion, people who are passionate about the reforms we bring to the table.” He was speaking of former Florida governor Jeb Bush, but he could easily be talking about Hillary Clinton, whose news conference on Tuesday reminded us how shifty, imperious and, yes, old she is.
Let’s imagine the first presidential debate in the fall of 2016 . . .
Out walks Clinton and Walker. They shake hands and Walker offers his arm as they walk over to the podiums. The image of a boy scout walking a senior citizen across the street comes to mind. Throughout the debate, she calls him Scott; he calls her Mrs. Clinton. She really is old enough to be his mother. Whenever she talks about the 1990s, his team shoots out e-mails to the media reminding the press that in the 1990s, he was younger than Chelsea is now, but he didn’t get a six-figure deal from a TV network for doing nothing. It’s the opposite of 2008, when Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) looked grandfatherly and harried in comparison to then-junior Sen. Barack Obama.
He talks about having to earn everything he’s gotten. Nope, he doesn’t have a famous name or rich friends or Ivy League degrees. He’s much like people all around America. He can’t believe the nerve of some politicians who act like the government belongs to them instead of the people. Three times he’s gone to the voters in four years and been honest and forthright about who he is, what he’s done and what he intends to do. He’s run a state successfully, effectively and transparently. There is no stench of corruption.
She is condescending (“Well, I’ve been all over the world. . . I know from my talks with the prime minister. . . Scott, you just don’t know what it’s like to. . .” ). He is cheery but tough. (“Well, it’s not the miles or the connections but the judgment and the credibility. . . I’m sorry, Mrs. Clinton, but it’s you who doesn’t understand real America. When was the last time you drove to the market or shopped for discounts at Kohl’s?”)
The contrasts don’t end there. She helped create and still clings to the Obama administration’s failed foreign policy. Walker can tell the bad guys from the good guys. He knows you don’t give Iran thousands of centrifuges. You don’t give a thief the key to your house with a note not to come by for 10 years. She voted for the Iraq war, opposed the surge and thought it was a great idea to pull all troops out of Iraq. Walker never voted for the Iraq war (like Obama!) and knows that when the U.S. leaves a vacuum, bad actors fill it. She’s served in an administration that has hollowed out the military; he wants to rebuild it. She is for federal, one-size-fits-all health care; he notes that BadgerCare is an example of how states can successfully innovate. She’s in the pocket of Big Labor bosses; he beat them three times. She is for abortion on-demand; he’s pro-life and doesn’t think late-term abortions should be legal. She’s indebted to Goldman Sachs, Arab kings and Big Labor bosses; he’s beholden only to the voters.
In just about every way imaginable, Walker is the antithesis of Clinton. There is no doubt that he can run as the change candidate voters say they want. Voters now think the biggest problem is government itself. In such a circumstance, one would think voters would reject an old and old-style politician, someone who does just what the voters hate — plays by her own rules and lives the high life playing off her status and name.
There other GOP candidates who may provide bright contrasts to Clinton. In many ways, Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) could evoke some startling contrasts. And Walker must continue to show command of issues so that he can be a credible commander in chief. But this week we got the sense that there is no one who is quite as un-Clinton as Walker. And judging by how awfully she performed this week, being the most un-Clinton candidate has its advantages.