Liberals' Attacks Are Helping Scott Walker

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Teachers were laid off in Milwaukee in 2010 because Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker “cut state aid to education,” New York Times columnist Gail Collins wrote Feb. 13.

“Welcome to the big time, Scott Walker,” National Journal Editor Ron Fournier tweeted after reading her column. “[Gail Collins will] be keeping you real.”

Mr. Walker was elected governor in 2010, but didn’t take office until 2011, so many took to social media to razz Ms. Collins and Mr. Fournier for their epic fail. It took the Times two days to issue a weaselly “correction,” which didn’t mention that Ms. Collins’ big boo boo essentially eviscerated the premise of her column.

Teachers lost their jobs in Milwaukee in 2010 in part because of declining enrollment but also because the teachers’ union preferred laying off new hires to cuts in lavish spending on themselves. Gov. Walker’s reforms saved the jobs of many young teachers. His Democratic opponents in 2012 and last year were unable to name a school harmed by them.

Jeb Bush is the frontrunner for the Republican nomination for president, most pundits in Washington say. Their actions speak louder.

Journalists incurious in 2008 about Barack Obama’s college grades and how he got into Harvard Law School are morbidly curious about why Scott Walker dropped out of Marquette University and what he believes about evolution.

“As Scott Walker Mulls White House Bid, Questions Linger over College Exit,” reads the headline on a Paul Farenthold story in The Washington Post Feb. 11.

The questions linger only in Mr. Farenthold’s feverish imagination. Mr. Walker left Marquette because the Red Cross offered him a good job. Unlike Mr. Obama, he gave his college permission to release his academic records. He was a student in good standing when he left.

For conservatives, who value accomplishment, this is a non-issue. Scott Walker has had a successful career, despite not having a college diploma. Dropouts Steve Jobs and Bill Gates have done all right, too. But for liberals, who value credentials, not having a college degree indicates stupidity (if the dropout is a Republican).

The difference between credentials and actual knowledge and accomplishment was starkly illustrated last week by deputy State Department spokesperson Marie Harf.

While acknowledging that “we’re going to keep killing more [terrorists],” she told MSNBC talk show host Chris Matthews that the way to defeat the Islamic State group is with a jobs program. Mr. Matthews was so appalled he cut her off before she could dig herself a deeper hole.

“I defy you to cite a stupider string of words ever uttered by another human being in the history of mankind,” tweeted humorist Iowahawk.

Ms. Harf has a master’s degree in international relations from the University of Virginia. She “is Exhibit A for the comprehensive failure of our educational system,” said retired Army intelligence officer Ralph Peters.

Journalists such as Ms. Collins, Mr. Fournier and Mr. Farenthold try to “define” GOP candidates early, to strangle their campaigns in the crib. This worked with Sarah Palin in 2008 and Mitt Romney in 2012. But so far, efforts to define Gov. Walker have backfired.

The snobbish elitism that undergirds criticism of Scott Walker for not having a college degree is more likely to help than hurt his standing with blue-collar whites, the most disaffected voters in America.

Snarking at him for declining to answer a question on evolution for the sensible reason he cited — “that’s a question a politician shouldn’t be involved in one way or another” — may be more bone-headed, because nearly half of Americans disagree with what liberals think is the “right” answer.

“We love him for the enemies he has made,” said Edward Bragg of Wisconsin in seconding the nomination of Grover Cleveland in 1884.

“Scott Walker is a conservative hero, and liberals have themselves to blame for it,” lamented Washington Post columnist Nia-Malika Henderson.

“Scott Walker knows his enemies,” said Slate writer Jamelle Bouie. “And so far, they haven’t figured it out.” 

Jack Kelly is a columnist for the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette and The Blade of Toledo, Ohio.

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