Possible Presidential Bid, Seeking Help For Depression

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With the next presidential election looming in 2016, many are wondering when Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker will officially join the race. We examine what a presidential bid by Governor Walker might look like, and also learn about resources available for treating depression.

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  • After Inauguration, Countdown To Possible Walker Presidential Bid Starts

    Scott Walker was sworn into office for a second time on Monday as Wisconsin’s governor at a time when speculation over whether he will seek the Republican nomination for president is growing.

    According to Mike Wagner, University of Wisconsin-Madison assistant professor of journalism, Walker didn’t say much in his inaugural speech that directly indicated a presidential bid.

    “What struck me most was his assiduous avoidance of making news. It was a very vanilla speech. There weren’t a lot of specifics,” he said.

    According to Wagner, some indication that Walker might end up running is that he didn’t say he plans to be in office for four years. Walker also drew stark comparisons between what he sees as a dysfunctional federal government in Washington, D.C., and a fiscally responsible Wisconsin that has passed numerous new laws in the past four years.

    “That’s the classic governor’s pitch if they want to run for president,” said Wagner, pointing to presidential campaigns by Bill Clinton and George W. Bush that also contrasted responsible state government with dysfunctional federal government.

    The governor also made repeated religious references in his inaugural speech, which Wagner said could be seen as “a signal to the kinds of people who vote in presidential primaries — evangelical conservatives — that Governor Walker sees eye-to-eye with … on a whole host of issues.”

    Some on the left in Wisconsin have expressed doubt over Walker’s ability to win the Republican nomination, given that he’s been seen as a polarizing figure in the wake of Act 10 and has been the subject of multiple John Doe investigations. Wagner, however, said those things may not hold him back on the national scene.

    “A presidential election is not going to be about Act 10, so on the legislative side I don’t think he has very much to worry about,” he said.

    When it comes to the John Doe investigation, Wagner acknowledged such scandals can be “problematic” for presidential hopefuls.

    “On the other hand, there’s a long history of politicians getting past scandals and getting elected president,” said Wagner. “We saw Bill Clinton being accused of being a draft dodger, being accused of being a serial philanderer, a murderer — and (he) won and cruised to re-election.”

    According to Wagner, if Walker is serious about a bid for the Republican nomination he needs to attract attention from Republican Party members who make early endorsements and give money to presidential candidates.

    “It is incredibly difficult for a Republican or a Democrat to win their party’s nomination unless the party insiders (want them to),” said Wagner. Members of state governments around the country, party chair people, and the money people — if those folks don’t want you, no amount of popular appeal is going to help.”

    Wagner said that exposure to those kinds of interests in early primary states will be a good indicator that Walker plans to run.

    “If you see him giving speeches in Iowa and New Hampshire and South Carolina and Florida and giving them to the state Republican Party, you’ll know that he’s taking that seriously,” he said.

    Wagner does not consider Walker as being among the top tier of prospective candidates, a group that includes New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie and former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush. Nevertheless, he said Walker has a distinct message to pitch.

    “Governor Walker will be able to say ‘I have won three elections in four years in a state that the Democrats have carried in the last several presidential elections. You guys have to win Wisconsin if you want to win. I’ve won it three times. I am the type of person who can win polarized states,’” said Wagner.

  • On Inauguration Day, What Might Gov. Walker's Bid For President Look Like?

    For Governor Walker, his second inauguration is also his key to a presidential bid in 2016. We look at what his path to a Republican nomination might look like.

  • How To Find Help And Seek Treatment For Depression In The New Year

    If you’re feeling depressed, the start of a new year can be a good time to commit to better mental health…and act on it. A mental health advocate talks about the importance of seeking treatment for depression, and the resources available to help do that.

Episode Credits

  • Rob Ferrett Host
  • Veronica Rueckert Host
  • Galen Druke Producer
  • Chris Malina Producer
  • Mike Wagner Guest
  • Annabelle Potvin Guest