Saturday, February 28, 2015

The Hammer Goes Gay

Well not really but I do want to address the issue of gay marriage. I just finished a two day insult-a-thon on FB with various members of CW's extended family and I'm afraid I may have broken every rule Dale Carnegie ever thought of. But 'fools rush in' as they say and I have never shied away from controversial subjects.
But what never fails to amaze me is the construct of these kinds of debates. With liberals it always follows a certain form: Point counterpoint followed by rebuttal for a few rounds and then, invariably, just as surely as the sun will rise, the liberal(s) resort to insults and name calling. This is of course an attempt to intimidate, but for me that's when the REAL fun begins. Just as in a courtroom when the defense introduces a line of questioning hitherto forbidden, the prosecution then has carte blanche on the subject. So after being called hateful, full of hate, really fuqed up etc. etc., I bore in with the pertinacity of a yeast infection. At that point in time I am in a heightened state of Zen, a total focus of body and mind with one purpose; to ramp up the anxiety levels of my opponents to heart attack levels by showing them with every syllable I write that they are naive and gullible fools unworthy of being called AMERICAN! At which point liberals will do anything and everything within their power to shut me up.

Ok, so that being said, what about "gay marriage" or gays in general? Is the Hammer a homophobic bigoted Neanderthal with Victorian values in our oh so inclusive age of Obama? Well no I'm not, at least I don't think so.
Look I'm not a young man and I've been around the block a time or two. Being a student of the human condition I've come into contact with gays (shuddup, not THAT kind of contact) and observed gay behavior over the years (shuddup, not THAT kind of observation). Like anybody else some we very fine people that I liked, some not so much. But what did strike me was the out of control, pedal to the metal, off the charts promiscuity of male homosexuals. When I was in college one of my jobs (I usually had two) was a gopher/flunky at a country club. There was a "restaurant" there and the wait staff was about 60/40 gay guys to hot freshman chicks. So yours truly would sometimes hang around the wait station trying to chat up said chickies (never ONCE successfully I might add) and could not help but overhear some of the conversation. It was like the cheesiest soap opera you ever saw. These guys make the Botox Wives of Beverly Hills seem like a symposium at the Hoover Institute. They were catty, they talked about each other like dogs and keep in mind, they were minding their damn manners in front of me. The girls told me stories they had overheard that would curl any straight man's hair! The bottom line is gay males have all the dog that any male has (shuddup, YOU know what I'm talking 'bout) but all the emotions of females. They are not suited to any sort of committed relationship whatsoever, much less "marriage".

Look, I don't believe gays should be discriminated against, but I do insist on a little common sense. If gays want to serve in the military then fine, I spent a tour in the Army and I can assure you 'don't ask don't tell' has been around a lot longer that the Clinton administration. I would keep them out of the combat arms but apart from that, let 'em have at it. Also if there are tax advantages to married couples not available to gays then go to a consumption tax or something (FairTax) and base the tax breaks on other criteria. Again, gay people are here, they work hard and pay their taxes, they should be accepted in the brotherhood of man as equal members forthwith. Besides, without gay males where would we get our ballet dancers and Hollywood hair stylists?

But here's what gays don't get, marriage. It is no more possible, or appropriate, for same sex people to get married than it is for me to enter the Miss America contest. I don't qualify for Miss America (although I would appreciated a dressing room pass...paging Donald Trump) and gays do not qualify for marriage. It is an age old institution present in every culture for all of recorded history. We know what it means and we know what it doesn't mean. We know its purpose and we know why it must be defended for what it is, the most important and vital societal institution ANY civilization has. I'm sorry but gays need not apply. You can't nail wings to a dog and expect it to fly. It's a farcical, self centered and incredibly cynical proposal by leftist agitators using the issue (and gays) to corrupt Western Civilization and liberal democracy.

So that's the book on gays according to the Hammer, like it or not. And if this is hate, count me in.

Oh, one more thing. Really hot women are not allowed to be 100% gay. No debate, THAT'S IT! Bi-sexual is ok, but to be practiced only in the presence of a male. What could be more reasonable than that(?) and they call me a bigot!

Friday, February 20, 2015

Big Fat Friday Free For All

What's the matter, Sister?  Not enough jobs for insurgents these days?  Much of the free world beginning to doubt your country's power and authority?  Single digit temps got you down?  Kvetch, people, get it off your chests!

Weighed in at 181, down two pounds from last Friday, 17.8 lbs down from diet start.  We are coming up on the two month point of the diet, with the goal remaining 159.9, or "150's by 50".  To think that there are still 21.1 lbs to go (not halfway yet) is a little daunting, but the fact that nearly half the weight is gone is encouraging.

What Does the Future Hold?

Everyday brings news of America's decline. Foreign policy, domestic policy, personal liberty and privacy...it's all in a shambles. Barack Obama has bought off a large part of the electorate to the tune of nearly 10 trillion dollars so as to institute policies that will destroy us as a great nation. Barack Hussein Obama is to America what World War I was to the British Empire...if he succeeds. We are very close to being a bankrupt and powerless empire, irrelevant and nearly defenseless. He is certainly the transformational president he always wanted to be, and regardless if he is completely successful, dark days are coming. So how will it play out?
A couple of years ago on the non-partisan Sunday morning show "This Week" there was a discussion about the decline of Detroit. My God we have to do something, they all said. George Will pointed out that for 60 years Detroit had voted for crooks, incompetents and malcontents and with 80% illegitimacy, 47% illiteracy, packs of feral dogs roaming wild, no water, no police, no trash services etc. they were reaping what they have sown. The liberals were predictably offended; how could we just ignore the "less fortunate" they asked? After all the problem was "deindustrialization" not some right wing notion of moral collapse. Keep in mind that in 1960 Detroit was the richest city in America (and probably the world) and of course the liberal policy of forced deindustrialization was never mentioned. The point is Detroit is a precursor of things to come in America. What will America look like 20 years from now (if it takes that long)?
Will it be like a A Clockwork Orange with lawless gangs? Will it be like Dr. Zhivago with government officials showing up at our doors informing us that their records indicate we have a four bedroom house with only three people in residence, therefore we must allow five "needy" people to cohabitate our space (with rent vouchers paid for by government at government set rates and of course with government inspections etc. no doubt).
Seem farfetched? Don't count on it. How does a country with 60-70% of its population (currently about 50%) getting government checks sustain itself? We have (or will have) 20 trillion in debt with future obligations close to 100 trillion. States like Illinois and California are on their asses and although Illinois' new governor is showing some guts California will most certainly be seeking a bailout soon (let a Republican be elected President and they'll put him on the spot immediately). Economic collapse is an ugly thing, but it can happen here. Can we avoid it? I think we can, but it will take some doing.
With great powers the argument was always guns or butter? America had both. We were so rich for so long resentment was inevitable. Even though we showed them, the rest of the world refused to see the benefits of freedom and capitalism either because their leadership was threatened by it or they were suffering under some intellectual scourge like communism.
The fact is there are always people who wish to control other people to their benefit, and we have our share in America. But the social contract in America was just that, a contract. You do this and the state will guarantee that (freedom). Too much of the world relies on brutality and force, or lies and manipulation (or combinations thereof) to "control" their populations. We never sought to control anyone as long as they stayed within the bounds of the law. But our system has been used against us by those who hate freedom. We are at a precipice (I hope not too far gone), we can go either way. Barack Obama wants to tip us towards anarchy, social unrest and ultimate destruction. Not only does he not love America (thanks for saying it Rudy!), he hates America (thanks Dinesh). How can one want to "fundamentally change" something one loves anyway?
In the next few years we might be in waters only navigated by Lincoln. To save the Republic we might have to temporarily "suspend" some laws. We might have to deny due process. I don't look forward to it but giving Constitutional protections to the lawless (I'm thinking of illegal immigrants specifically who seek only our wealth and care nothing for our country) seems foolish. We are in a fight for our very way of life and when the rules have been perverted or ignored, then they no longer apply.

Thursday, February 19, 2015

On Virginia Basketball

For those who aren't basketball fans, or ACC fans, or UVA fans, go away. Stop reading. I don't want to hear your bitching about posts that don't interest you.  If this comes down to just between me and three other Wahoos who live and die UVA sports, so be it.
"Uncle" Malcolm Brogdan

UVA Men's Basketball is 24-1, in first place in the ACC and ranked #2 in the country.  This is close on the heels of last year's campaign in which they won both the ACC regular season title and the tournament title, which were followed by a #1 Seed.

The Hoos play a stifling brand of defense known as the "Pack-Line" defense.  Virginia fans have come to appreciate the team's ability not only to shut down other teams offensively, but also to effectively neutralize the efforts of their best players.  This hyper-defensive brand of basketball has created quite a stir in college hoops circles, with some writers suggesting that it is "boring" and "bad for the game."  Anyone who watches UVA play cannot possibly agree with this, as the Hoos games are nothing, if not exciting.

But, I am worried.  Very worried.  I am worried that we--Coach Bennett, the team, and legions of Hoo fans around the country--have gotten all liquored up on our defensive prowess to the point where we have begun to dismiss offense as a necessary and proper part of the game.  One of my correspondents, when i kvetch about this, just posts the number of wins, as if barely beating the likes of Wake Forest is something for the nation's #2 team to measure itself against.  The plain truth of the matter is that while UVA is a great team, probably top 10, unless we figure out a way to score more points, we will not get ourselves over the next hump and into the Final Four.  Not this year at least.

"But CW, one of your most potent offensive weapons got hurt a few games ago and is out for 4-6 weeks.  Aren't you just responding to a wholly foreseeable dip in performance as a result?"

No.  I'm not.  Here's why.  The player in question is Justin Anderson, and he is a force to be reckoned with when playing well.  But before his injury, he was not the offensive force that he can be.  In the ten games leading up to his injury, Anderson scored 11.4 points a game, including 2 against Louisville, 7 against Georgia Tech and 8 against Boston College.  In the FIRST 10 games of the season--which included contests with VCU and Maryland, he scored 15.8 pts per game.

Now that he is gone, our offense has been JUST good enough to beat a few pedestrian teams.  The game we lost--Duke at home--was a collapse of epic proportions that included once again, poor shooting not only by JA but by many of his teammates.  Our team field goal percentage of .460 is 67th in the nation.

So where is all this leading?  It is leading to a suggestion to my fellow Hoo fans that we need to be a little more objective about our team's strengths and weaknesses, that with JA we are a better team, but a team that needs to figure out how to get and to take better shots.  Twitter wars with analysts who say we are boring may be fun, but there is a kernel of truth in what they say, and that truth pertains to our OFFENSIVE style and performance, one that occasionally shows signs of life, but which will not take us to the next level.  


Tuesday, February 17, 2015

A Wintry Day

It seems odd to type the word "Wintry".  I know that it is the correct word (having double-checked in some online dictionary), but it just looks wrong.  I feel a little like Andrew Jackson or one of those other figures from history who spells words wrong with gusto, only to have the joy ripped out from under me in having been correct all along.  Such is our language.
The backyard 

It is a wintry day here in Easton.  Like much of the mid-Atlantic, I awoke today to a blanket of snow that I will estimate at some six inches, but then again I've always overestimated measurements on this scale.  After feeding the hounds, I loosed their jet blackness upon the pure white of the yard to their great joy.  I marvel at their capacity to wake, eat, and then sprint, a combination that would have most humans heaving over their breakfast after twenty yards.  Not with them.  They frolic and gambol (two words I love) until they tire, and then they come back to the house and dry off in the mud room.  One of the great costs of snow-play is a period of exile in the "mudroom", where there are few of the creature comforts that the most fawned over dogs since General Charles Lee's accompanied him on Revolutionary War Battlefields usually enjoy.  They dry off near a vent from the heating system, forlorn in the agony of not being outside and not being with THE PEOPLE.
General Charles Lee

Not only has it snowed, but I am reliably informed by the nation's weather services that the next few days are going to be bone-chillingly cold, near zero for lows Thursday and Friday.  This is of course, not good for getting rid of the snow, which in these climes is generally a task I leave to Mother Nature.  I will generally shovel the area in front of my house and a path to and from the ManCave, but little more as the span of time between complete immobility and muddy slush is rarely more than about 12 hours.  Not so now.  And as I am somewhat incapacitated--more on this later--I made a call to trusty handyman Leo last night to incentivize his arrival here today with all necessary snow removal implements.

Today's plan includes being ferried cross the Chesapeake by the Kitten to my post-op appointment with one of my surgeon's team members, a Physician's Assistant I presume.  I met her briefly while in a narcotic haze in the hospital, and found her to be quite competent and engaging.  Her task today is the removal of a number of staples from the incision on my thigh, a task that is now in jeopardy due to the SNOW EMERGENCY here in Maryland.  At some point this morning, a chain of events will begin that goes something like--call doctor's office, see if open, if yes, dig out Kitten's land yacht, if no, do nothing.  If yes, the Kitten then gets a thumbs up/thumbs down call on whether to make the drive.  If thumbs down, reschedule appointment.   If thumbs up, Kitten drives me in her dug out land yacht 45 miles to appointment and 45 miles back.

Irrespective of whether or not the appointment goes off as scheduled, I am as of this date, released from wearing the contraption that compresses each of my calves once a minute for 24 hours a day.  While I have gotten used to it (sort of), its no longer being necessary represents a great triumph of my convalescence.  One setback (for the Kitten, at least) is that the SNOW EMERGENCY  will likely delay the full packup of the chambre de malade, which I have to a large extent turned into my personal little romper room.

I used to be a four season guy, trumpeting the greatness of the northeast for giving me diversity of weather and the beauty of each season.  No more.  As I age (I sound old when I say that, don't I), I become more convinced of the wisdom of living where it is warm.  I increasingly click links to stories on the web extolling the virtues of this retirement colony or that.  Just yesterday, I fully acquainted myself with the great benefits of life in Portugal, which some greatly revered reference on the web indicated was a "hot retirement" location.  I could easily, very easily, slip into a six months in Easton, six months somewhere else life when I hang up my spurs.  Spring and Summer here are delights, perhaps the most beautiful place I've lived in those seasons.  But somewhere warmer for the Fall and Winter would be right up my alley....Mexico...the Caribbean....somewhere warm in Europe....I'll keep you posted.  Come and visit.

Goldwater's Ghost
My oldest brother Jim turned 56 yesterday (you can wish him well here, as he is known to occasionally read the blog), which is notable for me in that I now consider 56 to be "old".  It is a useful scale, always considering one's oldest brother's age to represent "old", as I always remain a spritely five and a half-years behind it.  In one of the calendar curiosities that happen with a family of six children, Patrick (younger brother, #5 in birth order) has his birthday one week after Jim.  I don't see Patrick much, and his status as a social media recluse adds to his Howard Hughes like reputation.  Some of you may remember him for the brief, shining light that was his blogging history here (Goldwater's Ghost), the Golden Period of this blog if there ever were one.  Seriously--and as many of you are fond of reminding me---no one writing on this blog has ever come as close to the consistently funny and insightful stuff that GG put up for a few months.  And then he just disappeared.  I attempt now and then to cajole him into jumping back into the fray, but he recognizes the demanding mistress a blog is, and he will not be a kept man, as I am.

It is 9:10 in the morning, and there is not a peep being made by the three other humans under this roof.  My Kittens are good sleepers and awful morning people, and the day off from school which began with phone calls last night, offers as good an excuse as any to lounge in bed.  I am a huge fan of the morning, especially quiet mornings, where I can indulge my many selfish pursuits, and during which time I am extraordinarily productive.

My recovery here has created a new joy, and that is the late afternoon, pre-dinner nap.  As I've discussed here before, I like to fully commit to a nap--strip down to skivvies, fully under the covers, mask and earplugs...you've heard it before.  Ninety minutes is considered the absolute minimum acceptable length of such a nap (actually, a "small sleep"), with two hours often the norm.  But lately, due mostly to the compression contraption I had to wear and the discomfort of rolling in and out of bed, I've taken the habit of a 45 minute to an hour nap seated in my ManChair.  I use the mask and earplugs, but save for a light blanket, none of the accouterments of "the small sleep" are observed.  I have come to really enjoy this new type of nap, and my add it to my repertoire.




Monday, February 16, 2015

Two Weeks On....

It is a lovely, cold winter's morning here on the farm, another great reason to stay in doors all day, though I have little need for such excuses.  Two weeks ago this morning I had my left hip replaced, and I can report to you this day significant progress and high spirits.
Rehab beard, endangered species

There is weakness and a bit of pain in the joint area, and there can be instances of jarring, sharp pain such as when my little female lab jabs me behind the left knee in order to let me know she is alive and that I remain in her good graces.  I am walking largely without a cane, but to put it away at this point is probably premature.  I don't need it, but if I had to walk more than forty feet at a stretch, I'd be happy to have it.

The Kitten remains in the running for Sainthood for her loving care and tolerance, which these days consists mainly of getting the silly compression socks on my feet (hate them) and driving me around to PT sessions.  I believe that I would be driving myself right now had mother nature not intervened and dumped two inches of snow here the other day, as I am in no mood to remove it from my car before driving.  The news speaks of five plus inches of new snow tonight, so I fear my mobility--at least as far as autos are concerned, remains limited.

When I speak of the Kitten's tolerance, it revolves mainly around my rehab beard, shown above.  She hates facial hair with the heat of ten thousand suns, and that it grows on my face gains it no additional acceptance.  I'm thinking of keeping it through Thursday evening, so I can go "full liberal professor" on my class.

Although the weather may intervene, the Kitten and I have agree to disassemble the chambre de malade on Wednesday, at which point I'll return full time to the ManCave.  This recovery period has proved the sturdiness and value of my comfy chair, which will be used more often as a napping platform in the ManCave when the fancy takes me.  The poor Kitten has had to sleep elsewhere due to the logistics involved in my sleeping arrangement (I have the little compressor that makes a bit of noise), but that goes away tomorrow at my "staple removal" doctor's appointment.  It however, may be a victim of the great Eastern American snowstorm headed our way, so I may keep the staples a bit longer.

I tried to take a photo of my incision this morning, but because of its location (high on the front of the thigh), there simply is no way to get a good shot without taking in the unsightliness of my diminished, though still prodigious, pendulous belly.  I weighed in this morning at 179.4 (first measurement below 180, thank you), which means I've lost 19.4 lbs so far.  After looking at the selfie feature of the phone as it relayed up to me this snapshot of sloth and excess, I decided against sharing it with the faint of heart.

This was and is the week that I begin my return to the productive and useful, but the likelihood of great snowfall will almost assuredly keep me here on the farm for a few days.  There is much to be done, and the world has suffered horribly from my absence, so I must lace up my wing tips, tie my bow tie and get back in the game.

March brings with it a trip to California for a few days, and a panel/speaking gig up at the Naval War College.  I actually need to whip up 1000 words for the suits at Newport to let them know what I intend to say there....something I've put off but which could comprise a bite sized little project for the day, after I submit to the screws at Guantanamo Detachment, Easton later this morning.

That's all for now.

Sunday, February 15, 2015

The Ruling Party

There's been talk of another "looming government shutdown" as the press likes to describe it. This is newspeak for "just try it asshole, we'll crucify you!". The words themselves evoke a paralyzing fear in our sissified Republican leadership like none other. Thermonuclear holocaust, the AIDS "crisis", 9/11, opening up the Congressional swimming pool to women (by God a man SHOULD be allowed to swim naked with his friends!!!!) or curtailing the House bank where members once could kite checks 'till eternity never cause the anxiety that doing their damned Constitutionally mandated duties elicits in our brave cadre of conservatives.
So, let's look at the history a second. Since Reagan there have been nine government shutdowns; six under Reagan, one with GHWB, one with Clinton, one BHO. Do I need to even mention who got "blamed" each and every time? By blamed I mean who the news media blamed naturally. Of course not, you already know, and so does McConnell and Boehner. But did they really cost anything in terms of who and who didn't win an election. No they didn't, and history proves it. They were basically just media temper tantrums and nothing more.
So if I understand the situation correctly, Boehner has given away all his leverage by agreeing to a budget deal during a lame duck session of Congress, giving the Democrats each and everything they wanted and locked it all in for two years even though there hasn't been a real budget passed since before Harry Reid reared his ugly head. McConnell and Boehner have publicly stated that a shutdown is off the table. They are now bitching about how they just don't have the votes? Well a super-majority never stopped Harry Reid and for these guys to complain when they've given away the farm for dick, well I can conclude only one thing.
You see the problem is not this political party or that, the problem is with our elites. I'm referring to the money boys who control our button-down, mealy mouthed leaders. The Chamber of Commerce etc. loves Obama. Oh they may disagree on some policy issues here and there, but say what you will about the guy, he's put more money in their pockets than GWB ever did...AND HE WAS ONE OF THEM! From immigration to Obamacare the Republican Party establishment is closer to the Democrat position than to Ted Cruz or Mike Lee. THOSE guys are the REAL enemy, and EVERYONE agrees on that.
This is all a charade. Real policy in this administration and in the Boehner/McConnell controlled Congress is done behind closed doors, under the control and for the benefit of the rich and powerful. What we're witnessing is a political version of professional wrestling, a grand manipulation of two sides when there's really only one. Boehner and McConnell can break promises with impunity and lie as much as they like, it doesn't mean a thing. We only have one political party now, the ruling party.

AMENDMENT: Some have suggested our leaders have done all they can do, I disagree strongly! Where in the Constitution does it say Obamacare can be voted law by a simple majority but the repeal of Obamacare must have a super-majority? Senate tradition be damned! When Harry Reid couldn't get Obama's appointees confirmed, what did he do? He changed the rules.
As one pundit said, this past election was not so much an affirmation of Republican principles (they have none) but a restraining order against Democratic policies. We sent those people there to do a job, and I am in no mood to hear excuses!!!

Saturday, February 14, 2015

Thanks For the Memories

As you well know North Carolina is basketball country. We appreciate well played, well coached basketball be it the Indiana Hoosiers, CSKA Mockba, the New York Knicks or the Fighting Wood-Ticks of good old Tickbite High.
Although I am a Wolfpacker I very much appreciate what Dean Smith did for the sport. He was a credit to UNC, the ACC and basketball generally. He ran a clean program and did it right. I cannot remember even a hint of scandal in Dean's personal or professional life.
Dean came aboard in the wake of a point shaving scandal involving primarily UNC, and was seen as a fill in until it all blew over. However coming from KU and having played under the tutelage of Phog Allen (who had been coached by Dr. James Naismith himself) Dean had other ideas. He brought in guys like Billy Cunningham, Bob Lewis, Dog Moe, Larry Brown, Larry Miller and Charlie Scott. Starting in 1967 Carolina became a national power going to the Final Four three years in a row. Unfortunately for the Tar Heel faithful they lost them all, which would become a theme in Chapel Hill, that being CAROLINA CHOKES!
I don't think that was the case, at least in the early years. In '68 they ran into arguably the best college basketball team of all time in the Lew Alcindor led UCLA Bruins and lost by 23. Nobody could have done better. But with the talent that Dean Smith had (they made the tournament in 1967-68-69-72-75-76-77-78-79-80-81-82-83-84-85-86-87-88-89-90-91-92-93-94-95-96-97) they won just two National Championships in 11 Final Four appearances.
For me, what Dean Smith was, the essence of Dean so to speak, is best illustrated by the 1977 Final Four. That year Carolina had a depleted, walking wounded squad with All American Phil Ford with an elbow injury, All ACC Tommy LaGarde benched due to a bum knee and Walter Davis with a broken shooting hand. Carolina had to start two freshman Rich Yonokor (aka Big Bird) and Mike O'Koren (his coming out party as it turned out). This beat up and battered bunch whipped a killer two loss UNLV squad that I swear played like the LA Lakers! The Heels then go to the final against Al McGuire's Marquette Warriors.
Keep in mind in BOTH these games Carolina had gone behind early by double digits. They had fought back against the Running Rebels and won the game by a point late. Against Marquette they were behind by twelve at the half but came out smoking and tied the game about five minutes into the second half. They then traded baskets a couple of minutes and Smith lost his nerve. He went to a stall, the "Four Corners" stall with 13 minutes on the clock. Carolina threw away their momentum, Marquette took a two minute blow, regained their composure and won going away. Sheer idiocy!
I look at it this way, there has never been a finer teacher of basketball fundamentals than Dean Smith. He along with guys like Dave Gavitt and Bobby Knight trained a generation of European coaches. He won Olympic Gold medals, conference championships, regional championships and national championships. He minded the store during some rough times in ACC b-ball history. But even though his was a winning, well run program, a model for every school in the country, it has to be said that with the talent and resources he possessed he should have won seven or eight championships. I just don't think the big games were all that important to him, and that was, I guess you could say his strength and his weakness.
Smith was the enemy but he was an honorable enemy. I appreciate him, what he accomplished, the players he trained and the characters he built... and I celebrate his legacy.
RIP Dean. Thanks for the memories.

On the Education of Scott Walker

The Republican Presidential "flavor of the month" since Mitt's dropout appears to be Scott Walker, Governor of Wisconsin.  Walker has had a particularly effective run in Wisconsin governing as a Conservative and taking on a number of entrenched interests.  His candidacy is interesting to me, as it is a lot of Republicans who want to win in 2016.
Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker

Because of this surge in popularity, there has been a concomitant surge in investigating Governor Walker's life, one notable aspect of which is that he did not finish his undergraduate degree, quitting Marquette sometime during his senior year. The circumstances of his leaving are in dispute, but the University maintains that he was not expelled and that he was a student in good standing when he left.  This overview of the situation provided me some worthwhile background.

The vigor with which the Press is going after Governor Walker's past is in stark contrast to the incredible "hands off" approach they have taken with the academic background of the sitting President.  That said, politics is a sport for big kids, and Walker should have known this was coming.  His response thus far has been unsatisfying.

Here's the deal.  The Democrats aren't doing themselves any favors with this elitist attack on Walker's lack of a Bachelor's Degree, especially with a demographic they will HAVE to do better with in 2016 given the unlikelihood of black turnout/proportion matching what it has been in the previous two elections, and that is blue collar whites--a large number of whom ALSO don't have degrees.

And Republicans are doing a solid job of pointing this out in their public responses, but I have to sound the alarm about overplaying the hand.  The real likelihood here is that Republicans come off sounding anti-education/learning by devaluing the importance of higher education.  That isn't the point here.  The point here is that Scott Walker has managed to build a solid life for himself while effectively governing a large diverse state WITHOUT a degree.  This is a good news story.  The story should NOT become "degrees are worthless".  I know that's not what many are saying, but the debate has the earmarks of heading in that direction.  The thing that bothers me about the whole thing isn't that he didn't finish his degree, but that he didn't finish something he started.

Walker needs to come clean.  He needs to release his transcript and he needs to say something like, "I made a decision about leaving school twenty years ago that seemed right for me then, and which has thank God, worked out for me.  But I do wish that I had that degree--not because having it would make me a better person but because FINISHING it would--and earning it remains an important goal for me within my lifetime."  There you go.

One more thing about Scott Walker, a candidate with much to recommend him, but who I am slow to embrace.  Here's the deal.  Like most of the rest of the field, he's done almost NOTHING else in his life but politics and public service.  For whatever reason, this bothers me.  Mitt's private sector experience was one of the MOST attractive things about his candidacy for me, while Mr. Obama's utter lack of anything resembling challenging private sector work was a mark against him (as it was for most Republicans, if we're honest with ourselves as we look back to 2008).  As I gaze across the contenders left in the race, I am thoroughly unimpressed with the depth of this field as measured by this important metric.  There is of course, very important executive experience within the field, as we are blessed by a number of very effective Governors and former Governors (Walker obviously among them).  I just wish there were someone in the field who had done something else, and done it well.  Ben Carson and Rand Paul are obvious exceptions to this.


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