Once upon a time, in America, our political leaders were often heroes who possessed qualities to which children could aspire. Remember? Without regard for a leader’s political stance, a politician held the hearts and ears of the public based on their character.
You remember the qualities: honesty, integrity…well, perhaps the Boy Scout law offers a worthy list of the expectations of character of our leaders.
The new lawless leaders
More recently, a new brand of hokey, hackneyed, heroes have arrived on the political scene – a new “abnormal” cast of characters have arrived as Congress members, Mayors, and Governors across America. In many cases, this new cavalcade of persons of questionable values have not only been allowed to maintain position, but more alarmingly, have been publicly lauded as guardians, protectors, and liberators, and are cheered as icons of some opposite of honesty and integrity. They are able to maintain positions of power because they are openly lacking. Go figure.
A scout is…
We often notice foibles and weaknesses in people, places, and things when problems arise in the extreme. What could be a more obvious extreme of a lack in character than Rob Ford, the self proclaimed crack smoking Mayor of Toronto. An extreme indeed!
Beneath the extreme of a Rob Ford lie the more muted minions of the hokey and hackneyed. I’ve only been to Toronto once. I live in Wisconsin where this same phenomena of a hackneyed hero is actually being mentioned with greater and greater frequency as a candidate for President of the United States. Go figure again.
Scott Walker has been circled with a sweeping John Doe investigation since the days of his campaign for Governor in 2010. This investigation was pitched back in the mainstream press last week when the Wall Street Journal editorial Wisconsin Political Speech Raid which suggests that a new round of subpenas and searches connected to the widened investigation, is little more than a witch hunt aimed at limiting the free speech of conservative groups. Not true. Election laws have been broken, stretched, and skirted in Wisconsin for the past three years, and specific and documented instances are addressed in the Free Wisconsin post John Doe – Subpoenas hit, homes tossed.
When the post appeared, one of my conservative friends commented on face book, “Nobody cares.” That statement hit me like a Mayor Rob Ford drunken death threat. In many ways, he is right. Scott Walker has become Rob Ford in a minor key, right here in Wisconsin. Even though a swirl of searches and subpoenas has swirled around his former office and his former aides, some of whom were sentenced with felony convictions, he is appearing on This Week as a viable candidate for President of the United States. No one cares.
Just as Rob Ford appeared at a football game surrounded by the cheers and back slaps of a hero, Scott Walker has become one of the same hokey, hackneyed heroes who can do no wrong, regardless of any investigations or allegations of incompetence or malfeasance. There he is being elevated to the status of a rock star on ABC’s “This Week” without so much as a hint of the investigation that has surrounded his administration for the past three years. But then, after the 60 Minutes’ interview with a bogus Bengazi witness, followed by a retraction and apology, perhaps ABC is joining the new normal of skim vetting of those given a microphone. Or, maybe, nobody cares.
Just as the crack smoking video of Rob Ford circulated months before it finally bubbled up to the level of reality that broke into the national press, the Walker bubble remains captured in the sound bite of “public employee union breaker” and so far, has not busted out to reveal the full and detailed unsavory details of Walker’s rise to power. A good place to begin might be A journalist’s guide to vetting Candidate Walker.