Dear Tell All: I find it curious that we never hear much about Gov. Scott Walker’s wife, Tonette, especially since everything else about Walker gets such saturation coverage in the media. All I know about their relationship are the bare facts: She’s 12 years older than he is, they love their boys, and they’re extremely religious. The only information Walker has shared about their marriage seems like campaign boilerplate designed to create the image of a normal Republican family man.
Now that the media are scrutinizing everything about Walker in the midst of his presumed presidential run, do you think scrutinizing his marriage is also fair game?
Dear Snoopy: If you’re looking for discretion, you’ve come to the wrong place. I’m an advice columnist, for God’s sake. Of course I think scrutinizing Walker’s marriage is fair game. If discussing relationships were suddenly off limits, I’d be out of a job.
I’m not suggesting that we send a private eye to stake out the governor’s mansion, mind you. But at least we can analyze the information Walker has seen fit to make public.
Scott says that on the night he met Tonette, he eyed her across the room during a karaoke event at a Wauwatosa restaurant. On his way out, he handed her a napkin with his phone number written on it.
That story might sound a bit sleazy, but to me it humanizes Walker. Before he channeled his libido into crushing unions, it seems, he spent time picking up chicks like any other guy. There’s the proof, Snoopy: He’s not an automaton.
But the implacable Walker — the on-message, eyes-on-the-prize operator Wisconsin has come to know — soon revealed himself. After their first date, Scott told Tonette’s roommate that he planned to marry her, and he set about the task as if methodically running a political campaign. He wore down her Democratic family’s resistance to the age difference and his right-wing views, and the couple got married a few months later on his hero Ronald Reagan’s birthday.
To some, the Reagan’s-birthday detail might sound cute, and that’s the way Walker plays it on the campaign trail. To others, it might sound less than romantic, and more like an ominous foreshadowing of his self-obsessed political ambition.
Ultimately, the best we can do is guess about Scott Walker’s love life, because he isn’t one to let us get too close. But here’s something I know for sure: If this single-minded fellow hands you a napkin with “win presidency in 2016” written on it, you’d best take him seriously.
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