Governor Scott Walker is an early favorite for the 2016 GOP presidential nomination according to a widely read political analyst.
Sabato's Crystal Ball, a blog run by Larry Sabato, a professor of politics at the University of Virginia, puts Walker at the top of the "top tier" of potential candidates.
If you're a Democrat, this is pretty good news. Here's why.
Raising his national profile to this extent puts Walker under the spotlight of a voracious national media, as well as Republicans who will be rivals for the nomination. Here are a few questions they will work to get to the bottom of.
Scott Walker would be the first president in a very long time to not have completed a college degree. That in itself should not be disqualifying. After all, the last one was Harry Truman. But Truman was a voracious reader who couldn't go to college because he grew up in poverty. Walker had the means to go to college and did attend Marquette for awhile. But the circumstances under which he left Marquette have never been fully explained. Sabato doesn't even mention this. Once he's a serious contender, the New York Times will be at Church of the Gesu praying for sources.
Sabato notes that Walker escaped prosecution under the recent John Doe investigation that sent some of his aides to jail. But national reporters will want to know how it could happen that his chief of staff was running a political operation with a special computer out of her office just steps away from Walker's. The question they'll ask will be somewhere along these lines: Are you lying, or are you an incompetent manager, or do you just have poor judgment in discerning the character of the people closest to you? This is an uncomfortable question for a politician to answer.
When Walker thought he was talking to David Koch during the height of the Capitol protests over Act 10 he implied that he had considered using undercover thugs to disrupt the peaceful protests. The state press just let that drop. The national press probably won't.
There's more, but that's good for starters.
It's not likely that the press and rival Republicans will get into this too much anytime soon. It's too early for his rivals, and the press obviously has bigger fish to fry right now. But if any of these skeletons are dusted off before the 2014 election, Democrats just might have a chance to reclaim the governor's office.