OTTAWA — Former Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker spoke at the Knight’s of Columbus in Ottawa, Tuesday night, as part of the Putnam County Republican Party’s annual Lincoln-Reagan Day Dinner.
“In an off-year, it’s a perfect time to talk about just how fragile freedom is. One of the things Ronald Reagan said that I repeat over and over again, is he reminded us that freedom is never more than one generation away from extinction,” Walker said.
His speech was a rallying call for Republicans.
“The difference between conservatives and liberals, we put our faith in the American people, the individual and the family. The other side puts their faith in the government. We couldn’t see that more clearly than this past year. I actually think we have a tremendous opportunity as conservatives to gain even more people to our way of life or more of our way of thinking — I should say not just our way of life. In particular, this year was one of those eye-opening transformations, one of the few of any silver linings of this global pandemic has been the distinction of the two Americans. … I think it’s more fundamental than that. I realize this is with exception, but I think in America today there’s a huge gap between blue-collar and white-collar,” Walker said.
Walker now leads Young America’s Foundation, a conservative youth organization.
“We train the next generation of freedom fighters. It goes all the way back to 1960. William F. Buckley started it in his home with about 100 other college students at the time. Ronald Reagan was one of the earliest leaders even before he was in office. One of the many things that we do is we own and operate the Reagan ranch out in Santa Barbara, California,” Walker said.
Walker’s group is actively involved in fighting the cancel culture.
“We seem to see it seeping into the culture in general and I think that’s not only a message for conservatives, I hope there’s enough open-minded, objective people in this country who understand that whether you always agree or disagree with somebody, they deserve to be heard. We live in a republic, not just a democracy, a democratic republic with the idea being that while no one person controls things, we also have built-in protections in the Constitution. But there are certain things inherent, so that doesn’t matter what the vote is free speech, freedom of the media, freedom of assembly, freedom of religion, those are all things protected, whether you’re outnumbered 99-1, those are things that are guaranteed in the Constitution,” Walker said.
Walker, who ran for president in the 2016 primary election, dropped out after two months.
“I could see in the second debate. I was third or fourth in the polls at the time. And yet, I and the rest of the folks got next to no time. We could see the national media and their obsession with then-candidate Trump. I learned there’s certain times and trends for folks. Some of us figure it out sooner than others. But I also found that people were craving for a counter to what they’d seen during the eight years of Barack Obama. They felt that they’ve gone too far in one direction and so Trump was the counter to that,” Walker said.
Former Vice President Mike Pence recently joined Young America’s Foundation as a Ronald Reagan Presidential Scholar.
There is speculation that Pence could make a run at the Republican nomination in 2024.
“Personally, I think he’d be extraordinary at that. There are other names — Nikki Haley, another former governor and a colleague of mine, as well as the current crop. People like Ron DeSantis. Certainly, Greg Abbott — those two particular examples of big states that have fared well, even during the global pandemic,” Walker said.
Reach Sam Shriver at 567-242-0409.