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Scott Walker's 'Unintimidated' Grab for Presidential Consideration | The Nation

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John Nichols

John Nichols

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Scott Walker's 'Unintimidated' Grab for Presidential Consideration


Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker. (AP Photo/Andy Manis)

Why is Governor Scott Walker writing a book?

Well, to be more precise, why is former George W. Bush White House speechwriter Marc Thiessen (famously, along with Dick Cheney, one of Washington's most ardent defenders of "enhanced interrogation") helping Scott Walker write a book?

That’s easy. Just ask Jeb Bush. Or Marco Rubio. Or Mitt Romney. Or John McCain. Or Tommy Thompson, the former Wisconsin governor who put out the classic Power to the People back in the 1990s.

If you’re going to run for president—and, as he more or less acknowledges whenever he’s talking to national political writers, Scott Walker is quite interested in seeking the 2016 Republican presidential nomination—you’ve got to produce a book.

There are, of course, some rules when it comes to writing your way into the running.

For instance, you’ve got to suggest that you are interested in more than your own story, that you’ve got answers for America.

So you need a title like, um, Unintimidated: A Governor’s Story and a Nation’s Challenge.

And, in case any Republican county chairs in Iowa or New Hampshire miss the point, the publisher that’s paying you big bucks to produce the tome must peddle it with lines like this one: “In Unintimidated, Governor Walker will share the inside story of how the battle for Wisconsin was won—the reforms he enacted, the mistakes he made, the lessons he learned, and how those lessons can help conservatives win the battle for America.”

Get it? “Help conservatives win the battle for America”?

The publisher has to say things like: “It’s not just a memoir—it’s a call to action.”

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Get it? “Call to action”?

And of course, the publisher must refrain from mentioning that Scott Walker’s austerity agenda has failed. No need to go into the details about how, with the implementation of the governor’s assaults on public employees, public services and public education, Walker’s Wisconsin has dropped to No. 44 in job growth and trails neighboring states when it comes to creating unemployment.

After all, Scott Walker’s not producing a memoir, nor anything akin to a useful program for American economic renewal. He’s writing a manifesto for his 2016 presidential run. And as the country’s No. 1 proponent of austerity, he will remain entirely “unintimidated” by the frustrating fact that—if it is the “nation’s challenge” to put Americans back to work in good-paying jobs with secure futures—Scott Walker’s answers are not a campaign promise. They’re a threat.

To bring down the corporate "predator state," Katrina vanden Heuvel argues, we need a coalitional effort that transcends party lines. 

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