November 21, 2013

Is Scott Walker's "fixation" on Reagan "creepy"?

The Capital Times writer Paul Fanlund says so, as he identifies "3 Themes" in Scott Walker's just-published book "Unintimidated." The other 2 themes are "He throws even his allies under the bus" and "His egocentricity is just bizarre." This is the Cap Times, appealing its readership of Madison liberals who've been hating Walker for the last 3 years and have been hating Reagan even longer.

On the Reagan "fixation," there's Walker's annual Reagan birthday party (which is also the anniversary of his wedding to his wife Tonette). Here's how Walker describes the party in 2011, which was just before the big Wisconsin protests began.
[On] Saturday, February 12, Tonette and I hosted a dinner at the Executive Residence to celebrate the one hundredth anniversary of Ronald Reagan’s birthday. (I had been in Dallas to see the Packers win the Super Bowl on the sixth, his actual birthday, so we postponed the celebration by a week.) 
Meade and I were reading the book out loud together last night, and at that parenthetical, I said: "Oh, yeah, the protests blotted out all the great afterglow feeling we were having over winning the Super Bowl." That was sad!
Tonette and I host a dinner each year on Reagan’s birthday. We serve his favorite foods— macaroni and cheese casserole, and red, white, and blue Jelly Belly jelly beans— and have musicians perform patriotic songs and Irish music. 
Aw, come on. That's creepy?! That's incredibly sweet. Who gives a party and serves mac-and-cheese and jelly beans? It's beyond unpretentious, and it's just charming and nice. Why shouldn't Republicans celebrate Ronald Reagan, their modern-day icon? And I give Walker credit for putting the celebration on February 6th (or 12th) instead of March 30th (in the style of the Democrats, with their icon JFK (see Rule #8, here)).
It is a wonderful evening, and serves as a reminder for me each year to be hopeful and optimistic just like Ronald Reagan. It happens to be a dual celebration because President Reagan’s birthday is also our wedding anniversary. Tonette jokes that I never forget our wedding anniversary because it is Reagan’s birthday.
Well, isn't that a really low-key and generous way to make your anniversary something that's fun for other people you know? But for Fanlund, that's part of a creepiness profile.

Hey, Fanlund, ever consider whether you're creepy? Maybe Walker seems creepy to you because deep down you know the way you look at him is creepy.

59 comments:

Matthew Sablan said...

It is a quaint tradition, and good for him. I don't think it is creepy, but maybe a bit odd. Then again, considering the Kennedy hagiography, maybe it isn't that odd. Americans have always -wanted- an aristocracy, so we might as well try and elevate a few Republicans there as well.

Jimmy said...

I have "WWRD" tattooed on my wrist.

Curious George said...

"Americans have always -wanted- an aristocracy"

Really?

Shouting Thomas said...

Article Summary:

(1) Tea Party... Very Bad!

(2) Koch Brothers... Very Bad!

(3) Outside Agitators... Very Bad!

Somehow, left out was:

(4) Faux News! Faux News!

Hagar said...

@Curious George,
Ever read much about Jefferson and the following Virginians, FDR, JFK and Bobby?

Mark said...

I find it funny that you blame the protesters for ruining the Super Bowl afterglow.

Walker himself referred to Act 10 as `dropping the bomb' at that time.

One would think the blame would fall on the person knowing dropping the bomb, not the people responding to that bomb's fall.

AustinRoth said...

Gee, a lefty writer that doesn't like Reagan, those who do like him, or Republicans in general?

I guess he is the only one.

Henry said...

Matthew Sablan wrote: It is a quaint tradition, and good for him. I don't think it is creepy, but maybe a bit odd.

I think this more or less sums up my reaction. Of course, Walker is a politician of Ronald Reagan's party so why shouldn't he celebrate the man?

It's good to have models and Reagan offers a lot of good to model.

Matthew Sablan said...

"Really?"

-- Yeah, maybe not in the House of Lords sense, but in the sense of elevating the rich and powerful into some kind of elevated, "specialness," we have. Sure, we also like to tear them down and laugh at them, but just look at how people have treated the elites (epitomized in the Kennedy clan.)

It's not quite an old Europe model, but there are certainly some citizens more equal than others. The fact that it isn't institutionalized is American, as well as the fluidity of it. Maybe aristocracy is the wrong word, but it seemed appropriate.

Curious George said...

"@Curious George,
Ever read much about Jefferson and the following Virginians, FDR, JFK and Bobby?"

How is that pertinent to "Americans"

Our country is 237 years old. Other than an infatuation of some Americans' to the glamour of JFK, were do you see this desire for aristocracy?

Ann Althouse said...

Democrats wish they had a Reagan, some modern day hero with the stature of FDR for them. They don't!

Clinton failed to become that man and now Obama is disappointing. There's JFK, but getting assassinated is not a glorious achievement, however many times it is thrown in our faces.

Mary Beth said...

That only makes sense if "creepy" is some weird Madison slang for "awesome".

Farmer said...

Maybe "creepy" isn't quite the right word. It's weird though. And it's a little frightening that he apparently has no idea that it's weird.

Imagine Nancy Pelosi celebrating JFK's birthday every year, serving his favorite foods and whatnot. Cute, sweet or disturbingly weird?

Matthew Sablan said...

As it is, I barely like celebrating my own birthday. So, maybe I should revise "bit odd" back up to "weird." I will ruminate on this.

Meade said...

The threatening letter sent to Mrs. Walker (location 858 Kindle edition) was creepy.

Ann Althouse said...

Here's the text Meade refers to:

HI TONETTE, Has Wisconsin ever had a governor assassinated? Scotts heading that way. Or maybe one of your sons getting killed would hurt him more. I want him to feel the pain. I already follow them when they went to school in Wauwatosa, so it won’t be too hard to find them in Mad. Town. Big change from that house by [BLANK] Ave. to what you got now. Just let him know that it’s not right to [EXPLETIVE] over all those people. Or maybe I could find one of the Tarantinos [Tonette’s parents] back here. Lots of choices for me.

LilyBart said...

The left seems to have honed this tactic of putting the 'ick' factor on any conservative pols that start to rise to national prominence.

We'll continue to see it until people start to see through it - or until the right learns to fight back against it.

Ann Althouse said...

And here's a threat that was sent to Wisconsin Senator Dan Kapanke:

Please put your things in order because you will be killed and your familes [sic]  .  .  . due to your actions in the last 8 weeks  .  .  . I hope you have a good time in hell. Read below for more information on possible scenarios in which you will die.  .  .  . We have all planned to assult [sic] you by arriving at your house and putting a nice little bullet in your head.  .  .  . We Will ‘get rid of’ (in which I mean kill) you.”

Walker, Scott; Thiessen, Marc (2013-11-19). Unintimidated: A Governor's Story and a Nation's Challenge (Kindle Locations 1870-1873). Penguin Group US. Kindle Edition.

Ann Althouse said...

And here's a description of the protesters:

At the capitol, they carried signs comparing me to Adolf Hitler, Hosni Mubarak, and Osama bin Laden. Those never seemed to make the evening news, so we took pictures to document them. One read “Death to tyrants.” Another had a picture of me in crosshairs with the words, “Don’t retreat, Reload.” Another declared, “The only good Republican is a dead Republican.” Another said “Walker = Hitler” and “Repubs = Nazi Party.” It wasn’t just the protesters who engaged in such shameful rhetoric. Democratic Senator Lena Taylor also compared me to Hitler, declaring, “The history of Hitler, in 1933, he abolished unions, and that’s what our governor’s doing today.” 4, 5 Her colleague Senator Spencer Coggs called our plan “legalized slavery.” 6 Jesse Jackson came to Madison and compared me to the late segregationist governor of Alabama, George Wallace (who was paralyzed in an assassination attempt), declaring we had “the same position” and that I was practicing the politics of the “Old South.”

Walker, Scott; Thiessen, Marc (2013-11-19). Unintimidated: A Governor's Story and a Nation's Challenge (Kindle Locations 890-899). Penguin Group US. Kindle Edition.

Matthew Sablan said...

... I don't know how to take the parenthetical that clarifies 'get rid of.' It feels like the sort of aside you'd see in a Terry Pratchett novel.

Curious George said...

"Ann Althouse said...
Democrats wish they had a Reagan, some modern day hero with the stature of FDR for them. They don't!

Clinton failed to become that man and now Obama is disappointing. There's JFK, but getting assassinated is not a glorious achievement, however many times it is thrown in our faces."

You are off the mark on JFK, other than a few cool speeches he really had a mediocre presidency. But he embraced many policies that are owned by the right these days...fighting tyranny outside our borders, reducing taxation to spur economic growth, less reliance on government...

Illuninati said...

It is interesting to read PAUL FANLUND's article looking for the loaded language which is so typical of the left. He doesn't disappoint.

Here are some of those words and phrases he used to describe Walker:
1. Walker's book distorts history.
2.Conservative activists, mostly outside Wisconsin.
3.He pitches his tea party credentials.
4.his self-promotion.
5.strident tea party conservatives.
6. the most extreme position on anything
7.They are predictably distorted and self-serving
8.Walker’s attack on public sector union rights
9.spoke of blowing up public sector union rights at an Executive Residence staff dinner
10.helped lead to the end of the Cold War. Um, sure
11.His Reagan fixation is creepy
12.Reagan “specialized in the exaggerated, outrageous tale that was almost always unsubstantiated, usually false, yet so sensational that it merited repeated recounting
13.Reagan not only talked about moochers just as Romney did, he actually created the trend
14.His egocentricity is just bizarre
15.some descriptions are simply odd
16.delusional self-image around courage
17.“reforms,” that key GOP descriptor for attacks on public sector collective bargaining rights.

In context the word creepy seems almost like flattery. When one discounts the many loaded words in the article, there is very little left. Unfortunately, this is the intellectual level at which most of the left seems to operate.

MattL said...

It's weird in that it's not common. Suppose a football coach celebrated a great coach's birthday. I see it as celebrating a role model. And probably fun, if only to watch the reaction of people who think it's creepy.

We have an official holiday for Washington's birthday, now unofficially morphed into Lincoln's birthday and maybe even presidents generally. Is any of that creepy, too?

No, this is really just more Conservatives in the Mist Journalism, which is more amusing as an act of auto-beclownment than creepy itself.

Matthew Sablan said...

A gaming/hobby store near where I lived in Delaware celebrated Bilbo Baggins birthday every year. I always went, sometimes I even entered the trivia.

tim in vermont said...

"Ask not what your country can do for you, but what you can do for your country." - JFK

Yeah, he would fit right in with the Liz Warren wing of the Democrat party, that's for sure.

Shouting Thomas said...

There's JFK, but getting assassinated is not a glorious achievement, however many times it is thrown in our faces.

Well, the NY Times disagrees with you.

The Times has run two articles (two!) this week on the Climate of Hate in Dallas created by conservatives that was actually the cause of the Kennedy assassination.

Right wing Dallas oilmen killed Kennedy! Well, it was actually a commie, but you have to wade 1150 words into the Times' second article to discover that.

Michael The Magnificent said...

Scott Walker is the punch in the turd bowl that is Madison.

Michael The Magnificent said...

And the turds don't like it!

Curious George said...

Google "kennedy Doctrine".

Peter said...

Today Reagan is mostly accepted as an excellent president, but when he was in the white house the mainsteam press just savaged him- he was a senile old fool, fell asleep in meetings, couldn't be trusted to know the difference between Moscow, Kansas and Moscow, USSR, etc.

And that's progress. Today the only publications still carrying that old "Reagan was a fool" meme are ones like The Nation, and the Cap Times.

MadisonMan said...

Getting threats is par for the course for a public official.

I have a relative who got them when he served on the Library Board (!) in Sauk County.

Not saying it's right, just not unusual. I think they're talked about more these days.

Curious George said...

"Ann Althouse said...
Democrats wish they had a Reagan, some modern day hero with the stature of FDR for them. They don't!"

The left heroes are anyone that is recently dead, or close. Paul Welstone, HERO, but not so much anymore. Ted Kennedy. Gabby Giffords. They parade the corpse (or the shell of a person) and rewrite history. And if you disagree, the howls of "speaking ill of the dead" start.

Christy said...

Reagan's Birthday sounds like a whimsical excuse for a party.

Myself I'm toying with the idea of a lovely tea for Danish Independence Day. Who cares if the Danes call it Constitution Day?! I'll take any excuse to liberate pastries from the bakery and to eat cucumber sandwiches.

I've a pal who always threw a Get Bombed on Pearl Harbor Day party.

Some of us just like to throw parties with amusing hooks.

Jim said...

You haven't seen hagiography unless you have lived in Independence, MO. Truman Road, Truman High School, Harry Truman Good Neighbor Award. The Truman Library. The Truman Home. Truman, Truman, Truman. It's not creepy really.

Matthew Sablan said...

Hell, I got death threats as an RA at my university. It's worrisome, but after the second one, it just sort of rolled off my back.

rcommal said...

Matt: Days of Knights still does that. I remember when it started, back when I was something like 18. Wow. Time flies.

Mark said...

All this talk of the Walker threats ignores the reality:

"Sen. Jon Erpenbach, D-Middleton, received at least 14 threats investigated by agents, nearly as many as Walker"

It's all fine and dandy to say it all came from one side, but authorities investigated quite a number of threats made against Dems, protesters, the Madison mayor, etc ...

http://host.madison.com/news/local/govt-and-politics/more-than-threats-made-against-walker-lawmakers-and-others-records/article_884e3352-7cf4-11e0-98ed-001cc4c03286.html

Once again, selective truth put forward by Althouse, conveniently ignoring how there's mud on both sides.

rcommal said...

Also, I vote "not creepy." People commemorate their favorite people/events/what-have-you all the time.

Matthew Sablan said...

RCommal: I <3 Days of Knights. Whenever I come back Delaware to visit, I try to buy something from there for nostalgia's sake.

PB Reader said...

It's intesting how Democrats idolize imagined, unrealized and unrealizable dreams.

Illuninati said...

Mark said:
"Once again, selective truth put forward by Althouse, conveniently ignoring how there's mud on both sides."

Undoubtedly public officials of both parties receive death threats. The claim that there's mud on both sides doesn't wash. The threats against Democrat politicians are usually random nuts whereas the threats against Republicans like Walker are either written by or encouraged by government employees. Government employees who refuse to obey the law are really committing treason since it is impossible to maintain a functioning government when government officials will not uphold the law.

paul a'barge said...

Put up a picture of Paul so we can ridicule him. Mercilessly.

Meade said...

MadisonMan said...
"Getting threats is par for the course for a public official."

Agreed. But threats of violence need to be vigorously pushed back by everyone on all sides who value constitutional democracy and civilization.

Mitch H. said...

Myself I'm toying with the idea of a lovely tea for Danish Independence Day.

Should be "Norwegian Independence Day", as Denmark was an imperial power in its day, lording it over the snowbillies in Trondheim and Oslo. Hell, even today they're still the colonial occupiers of Greenland. Free Inuit Greenland!

Or not. But it's interesting that Argentina still gasses on about the Malvinas, whereas if the Canadians have *ever* tried to claim Greenland under some made-up First Nations name, it hasn't made it into the news down here. We never did get around to Greenland in the "History Of" series, did we?

rcommal said...

Agreed. But threats of violence need to be vigorously pushed back by everyone on all sides who value constitutional democracy and civilization.

This, 1000%

Joe said...

So, let's get this straight; genuine goofy behavior by Bush and Walker is seen as creepy, yet calculated, artificial behavior by Obama is seen as genuine.

jvermeer51 said...

Get back to me when Republicans refer to Reagan as the light who will heal planet and make the oceans recede.

Marshal said...

The other 2 themes are "He throws even his allies under the bus" and "His egocentricity is just bizarre."

The other two "themes" are just as idiotic. (1) Underbussing is an action limited to allies. Can Obama underbus Boehner? Or was that his grandmother? (2a) Every politician is egocentric. (2b) A leftist supporter of Obama is claiming egocentrism is a problem? Obama pitched Chicago for the Olympics with "Chicago deserves the Olympics because they elected me". But Walker is egocentric? Be serious.

It's just bizarre the left doesn't even consider how their criticisms apply to their own leaders. Obviously this proves they're just searching for criticisms rather than applying fair standards. But you'd think they would do a better job since such obvious hackery hurts their credibility.

Ralph Hyatt said...

"Today Reagan is mostly accepted as an excellent president, but when he was in the white house the mainsteam press just savaged him- he was a senile old fool, fell asleep in meetings, couldn't be trusted to know the difference between Moscow, Kansas and Moscow, USSR, etc."

I remember Andrea Mitchell looking confused and upset at the love and respect being shown for Reagan by the throngs of people who lined the streets as his casket was transported during his funeral.

tomaig said...

"Meade and I were reading the book out loud together last night..."

Talk about a quaint custom. How, exactly, do you do this? Do you take turns, or do you both have a copy of the book?

mrs. e said...

"So, let's get this straight; genuine goofy behavior by Bush and Walker is seen as creepy, yet calculated, artificial behavior by Obama is seen as genuine."

Yes, and, apparently, vise versa.

Meade said...

"Do you take turns, or do you both have a copy of the book?"

Kindle lets you put books on at least 5 different devices. Great feature. So we each have a copy of every Kindle book we buy.

Anne B. said...

Tomaig, my husband and I read aloud in the evenings too. Only one book needed; we just hand it back and forth.

Speaking of birthdays, some friends of ours hosted a December "Beethoven's Birthday Party" for many years. Lots of German-style food, and loud Beethoven on the record player (which tells you how long ago it was). Noisy, fun, and not at all weird.

Crunchy Frog said...

Here's a hint, people: it's their wedding anniversary. This is how they choose to celebrate it, by making it a fun event that people other than just the two of them can participate in and appreciate.

Get a grip, haters.

Anonymous said...

Optimists celebrate birth, death cults celebrate death.

Anonymous said...

"Americans have always -wanted- an aristocracy"

Leftists always wanted an aristocracy so they know whose asses they should kiss.

Charlie Martin said...

It's creepy because it needs to be creepy. Has nothing to do with Walker and everything to do with the author and editors.

Eric said...

"Ask not what your country can do for you, but what you can do for your country." - JFK

Yeah, he would fit right in with the Liz Warren wing of the Democrat party, that's for sure.


Except that Kennedy was trying to get people to volunteer for service. Warren seeks to take their labor through taxation.

Nate Whilk said...

The other 2 themes are "He throws even his allies under the bus" and "His egocentricity is just bizarre."

Obama is 10 times worse, but that's okay with Fanlund.