Remember Scott Walker? He was arguably the second-most important Republican in the country in 2012, and certainly the most important Republican winner of that year.
He was a presidential candidate until September 2015, a time that feels like it was several decades ago. In his speech suspending his campaign, he called upon other GOP candidates to drop out “so that the voters can focus on a limited number of candidates who can offer a positive conservative alternative to the current front-runner.” Most campaign observers scoffed, and none of the candidates departed the race. If only they had listened to you, governor!
Wednesday night, Walker stepped onto the stage of a convention that he once hoped would nominate himself, and did something that no preceding speaker at this convention had really even attempted: make the case for Trump to conservatives and Republicans who remain wary. It’s not that Trump is all that terrific; it’s that Hillary Clinton’s unethical and criminal behavior must be punished:
Last August, I said that any of the Republicans running would be better than Hillary Clinton. I meant it then, and I mean it now. So let me be clear: a vote for anyone other than Donald Trump in November is a vote for Hillary Clinton.
Walker deviated from his prepared text at that point, telling the crowd he had spoken to Trump on the phone an hour ago.
“We talked about how President Reagan appointed Justice Scalia to the Supreme Court thirty years ago when I was in high school,” Walker said. “We cannot concede the Supreme Court to Hillary Clinton for thirty years! The consequences are too great!”
Then Walker returned to his prepared remarks, and how the stakes of 2016 require Trump-skeptical Republicans to hold their nose and vote for the GOP nominee to punish Hillary.
Make no mistake: we can’t wait four more years and “get ‘em next time.” The consequences are too great. After hearing the FBI Director’s recent comments, I wouldn’t even give Hillary Clinton the password to my iPhone – let alone access to classified information. This isn’t just another Clinton scandal, Hillary’s scandal put our national security at risk and that makes her unfit to be President of the United States.
It’s time to tell Hillary: enough is enough. No more double standards for the Clintons.
Walker used the refrain “America deserves better,” which could be considered a bit awkward while discussing the two least-liked, least-trusted major party nominees in history. It took a while for the crowd to get into it, but it worked.
Walker shouted a lot more than usual, and some grumbled that he seemed to forget that he didn’t need to shout every line. But he had some good lines: “Hillary Clinton is the ultimate liberal Washington insider. If she were any more on the ‘inside,’ she’d be in prison.”