Wisconsin's governor, Scott Walker, hasn’t announced a presidential run. But it’s a safe bet that higher education will come up often if he seeks the Republican nomination, as many presume.
That’s because the second-term governor has been cast, or positioned himself, as a primary antagonist of the academy.
During the last few weeks Walker has battled with the University of Wisconsin System over budget cuts and anabortive attempt to edit the Wisconsin Idea, the century-old and unusually beloved mission statement of the university.
The tumult probably hasn’t reached the intensity it did in 2011, when Walker challenged collective bargaining for public employee unions, including those of faculty members and graduate students. Back then he also floated a plan for the state’s flagship, the University of Wisconsin at Madison, to leave the university system.
But the net result has been the view that while Walker’s office in the Capitol is a mile from the Madison campus, the two are worlds apart. And that can be an asset to a politician looking to cultivate the Republican base.Walker is politically shrewd to cultivate the animosity of professors.
As FDR said: "Never before in all our history have these forces been so united against one candidate as they stand today. They are unanimous in their hate for me--and I welcome their hatred."