This guy could become world’s most powerful man

Written By komlim puldel on Sabtu, 14 Maret 2015 | 20.01

"Who's number one in the polls? Me, that's who." Source: AP

EVERY talking head in the United States has spent the last week prattling on about Hillary Clinton's emails.

Fair enough. The former Secretary of State violated government rules in an apparent effort to keep her correspondence safe from scrutiny. That's no small matter. But in the meantime, another politician has come from nowhere to dethrone Jeb Bush as the frontrunner for the Republican Party's presidential nomination. His name's Scott Walker.

A few months ago, Walker was an obscure underdog with little more than an outside chance of becoming the nominee. Now he's being seriously considered for the most important job on the planet.

You'd be smiling too. Source: AP

WHO IS HE?

Walker, 47, has been the Governor of Wisconsin, a relatively small northern state, since 2011. He's best known for his role in a bitter political spat with the state's unions, which was sparked by his efforts to eliminate a variety of collective bargaining rights for government workers.

That battle almost forced Walker out of office, as the unions triggered a rare recall election in 2012. No governor in US history had survived one, but Walker defeated his opponent by a healthy margin. It established his reputation as a stubborn but successful politician, who was willing to fight for ostensibly unpopular reforms.

He's a man of many high quality facial expressions. Source: AFP

WHY HE COULD WIN

Walker can make a persuasive case that he's the Republican candidate most likely to win a general election against Hillary Clinton. That argument is rooted in his record so far — three victorious gubernatorial elections in Wisconsin, a state which usually elects Democrats. Walker has already demonstrated an ability to win over voters who traditionally lean away from Republicans.

Importantly, he's done so without sacrificing his ideological purity on issues that matter to the right wing of the party. He's in favour of cutting government spending and lowering taxes. He opposes abortion, although it's unclear whether he would actually change abortion laws. In virtually all policy areas, Walker is a "model conservative".

During the last election cycle, voters from the Republican Party's right wing never quite trusted Mitt Romney. To win them over, he overplayed his conservative credentials, and that hurt him in the general election. Walker doesn't need to do that.

This time around, the default "moderate" candidate is Jeb Bush. But his opinions on several issues could disqualify him with very conservative voters. That leaves an opening for someone who's both "ideologically pure" and electable.

Maybe Jeb Bush should be worried after all. Source: AP

WHY HE COULD FLOP

Walker has the same problem as every other governor who tries to run for president. He's perfectly comfortable talking about economic and social issues, but seemingly out of his depth when it comes to foreign policy.

"I think foreign policy is something that's not just about having a PhD or talking to PhDs. It's about leadership," Walker said after a speech late last month. OK. But he went on to say the "most significant foreign policy decision" of his lifetime was Ronald Reagan's sacking of some air traffic controllers in 1981.

Walker's lifetime has included such consequential events as the Vietnam War, the collapse of the Soviet Union, the bombing of Yugoslavia, two wars in Iraq and a fair few attempts to resolve tensions between Israel and the Palestinians.

In the right election cycle, this stuff wouldn't really matter. Americans were so focused on domestic policy in 2012 that foreign affairs were barely mentioned. But since then, the rise of the Islamic State has brought America's role in the world back to the forefront of the political debate.

Should he officially become a presidential candidate, Walker will be subjected to national scrutiny. The questions will be harder and more varied than he's used to at state level. It's impossible to predict how well he'll deal with the added pressure.

"The air traffic controllers? Ha!" Source: AP

WHAT'S NEXT FOR WALKER?

The man is clearly preparing to run. According to the Washington Post, Walker recently attended a "tutorial" of sorts where he was taught about foreign policy by some of the Republican Party's most respected experts. One thing's certain — that lesson wasn't supposed to help him govern Wisconsin.

So, Walker will spend the next several months brushing up on national issues, courting potential donors and appearing in the media to raise his profile. If he avoids any horrendous stuff-ups, he should still be one of the favourites for the nomination when the primary debates begin in September.

Of course, if he's to become president, Walker will likely need to defeat two of America's most powerful political dynasties: the Bushes and the Clintons. Good luck with that.


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