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Ten Things the GOP Loves About Herschel Walker

Family man. Nimble thinker. Not afraid to be politically incorrect—or simply incorrect. Able to simplify complex issues. What’s not to love?
November 29, 2022
Ten Things the GOP Loves About Herschel Walker
Herschel Walker waiting to take the stage during his Unite Georgia Bus Tour rally at Pirate Printing in Hiram, Ga on Sunday, November 6, 2022. (Photo by Demetrius Freeman/The Washington Post via Getty Images)

The other day, in announcing his candidacy for president, Donald Trump put in a good word for “a gentleman and a great person named Herschel Walker, a fabulous human being who loves our country and will be a great United States senator.”

Trump is deeply impressed by Walker, as are other prominent Republicans. They wholeheartedly support the former football star now running in Georgia’s high-stakes, hyper-costly December 6 runoff election against Sen. Raphael Warnock. One of Walker’s most enthusiastic backers, GOP Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, recently dropped to the floor and cranked out nearly three-dozen push-ups to help raise money for Walker’s campaign. Graham and Ted Cruz also sat impassively as Walker, sandwiched between them, declared “This erection is about the people.”

Marveled writer Jill Filipovic, in a column for the Guardian: “Walker embodies everything the Republican party has claimed to oppose: violent crime, abortion, homes broken by absentee fathers, race-based affirmative action, and straight-up incompetence. And yet no matter what Walker is accused of, up to and including acts many Republicans define as murder, he retains the support of the Republican party, and his race for a Georgia Senate seat remains a tight one.”

What is it about Walker that Republicans find so appealing? Here are ten of the many possible reasons they remain devoted to him:

  1. His reach exceeds his grasp, thus confirming the need for Heaven

Walker aspires to have done great things. He’s said he was class valedictorian in high school, which he was not, and that he graduated among “the top 1 percent” of his class at the University of Georgia, from which he didn’t graduate at all. He has purportedly worked for Georgia’s Cobb County Police Department and as an FBI agent, when in fact his most significant connection to law enforcement was when he threatened to get in a shootout with police responding to a domestic disturbance at his home in 2001. He also claimed to have served in the military, which he has not. He’s even credited himself with “supervis[ing] six hospitals around the United States,” an impressive ambition, though transparently untrue.

  1. He’s not afraid to be politically incorrect

Asked what “women’s issues” were top of mind, Walker cited gas and grocery prices, since women “got to buy groceries.” With bracing honesty, he compared himself negatively to his opponent, saying Warnock is “a smart man” while “I’m this country boy. I’m not that smart.”

And just two days after a gunman in Colorado killed five people and wounded more than two dozen others at a LGBTQ nightclub in Colorado Springs, Walker rolled out a campaign ad about how “unfair and wrong” it is that transgender people get to play sports. Take that, libs.

  1. He’s not afraid to be just plain incorrect

A few months into the pandemic, in August 2020, Walker told podcast host Glenn Beck he had a “dry mist” that “will kill any COVID on your body. EPA-, FDA-approved.” There is no such mist. Walker tweeted on January 6th, 2021, that the Capitol rioters, including the pictured “QAnon shaman” guy with horns, “do not look like MAGA!,” adding that Trump had “the power right now to see who they really are and to get to the bottom of who stole this election!” He told an interviewer in May that “I’ve never heard President Trump ever say” that the 2020 election was stolen. He is not hard of hearing.

  1. He knows how to put the best face on a situation 

Walker has boasted that he “started a program called Patriot Support” that provides mental health services to veterans—a truly transcendent way to refer to his role with the program, which he did not start. He was actually a highly paid spokesperson for a for-profit company ($331,000 in 2021 alone) that, according to an Associated Press report, allegedly “preyed upon veterans and service members while defrauding the government.” The company ended up paying a $122 million settlement to the U.S. Justice Department and a coalition of nearly two dozen states, while admitting no wrongdoing—another triumph of public relations.

  1. He can take a complicated issue and sort it all out

Take, for instance, Walker’s uncanny grasp of the science of climate change, as expressed on the campaign trail:

We, in America, have some of the cleanest air and cleanest water of anybody in the world. So, what we are going to do is put, from the Green New Deal, millions, billions of dollars cleaning our good air up. So, all of the sudden China and India, they put nothing to clean that situation up. Since we don’t control the air, our good air decides to float over to China’s bad air. So, when China gets our good air, their bad air got to move. So, it moves over to our good air space. Then, now, we got to clean that back up.

It’s as simple as that.

  1. He doesn’t miss the trees for the forest

While other candidates may get caught up in seeing the big picture, Walker can drill down to microscopic levels. Here’s what he had to say about Biden’s Inflation Reduction Act: “A lot of the money is going to trees. You know that, don’t you? It’s going to trees. We got enough trees. Don’t we have enough trees around here?” The $739 billion act, of which $369 billion is funding energy and climate change initiatives, including $1.5 billion for the Urban and Community Forestry Program, which offers competitive grants to support local efforts to promote urban forests. That’s one-fifth of 1 percent of the act’s total cost. Yet Walker, with his extraordinary myopia, was able to zero in on it.

  1. He’s dealt with some big personal problems 

In his 2008 book, Breaking Free, Walker wrote about being diagnosed with dissociative identity disorder, once called multiple personality disorder, saying he’s constructed as many as a dozen personalities, or “alters.” Walker admitted in the book to having violent urges, recalling a time when he was “so angry” at a man who was late in delivering a vehicle Walker had purchased “that all I could think was how satisfying it would feel to step out of the car, pull out the gun, slip off the safety, and squeeze the trigger.”

His ex-wife, Cindy Grossman, alleged that Walker pointed a gun to her head and told her, “I’m going to blow your f’ing brains out.” She cited “physically abusive and extremely threatening behavior” in filing for divorce in 2001. Four years later, a judge found “good cause” to grant her a protective order against Walker and to bar him from possessing guns for a period of time.

But Walker has bootstrapped his way out of these problems. “I continue to get help if I need help, but I don’t need any help,” he said during a debate with Warnock. Hopefully, his constituents will be equally adept at solving problems on their own.

  1. He’s flexible in his thinking

Ralph Waldo Emerson once mused that “a foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds.” Walker is nothing if not inconsistent. He has called for a ban on all abortions, with “no exceptions.” Yet he seems to have made exceptions for the two women who have come forward, with substantiating evidence, to say that Walker, after getting them pregnant, pressured them into getting abortions and paid for the proceedures. (Walker has denied both allegations, adding, “And I also want to let you know I didn’t kill JFK, either.”) Such nimbleness would surely serve him well in the U.S. Senate.

  1. He’s all about family

Walker has identified fatherless black families as a “major, major problem” and importuned dads to not drop out of their children’s lives, saying: “If you have a child with a woman, even if you have to leave that woman . . . you don’t leave that child.” Yet he’s left at least three children to grow up, for the most part, without him. And even though one of their mothers had to obtain a declaration of paternity and child support against him, Walker told the New York Times, “I support them all and love them all. I’ve never denied my children.”

Here’s what Walker’s 23-year-old son, Christian, recently tweeted about his dear old dad:

Walker responded: “I LOVE my son no matter what.”

Good answer, no?

  1. He makes people of color want to be Republicans

Given Walker’s multiple attributes, some of which are spelled out here, many people feel he should be enjoying universal support—and not just among Republicans, but among Democrats, as well. Why is this not happening? Why do Democrats look at Walker and not see “a fabulous human being who loves our country and will be a great United States senator”? Lindsey Graham took a stab at answering this poser in a recent appearance on Fox News: “They’re scared to death of Herschel Walker, ’cause if Herschel Walker becomes a Republican, maybe every other young child in America of color might want to be a Republican.” Yes, that must be exactly what they’re thinking.

In sum, it’s little wonder that leading Republicans are thrilled by the prospect of having Herschel Walker join the world’s greatest deliberative body, representing the party of Lincoln with the thoughts that he’ll be thinking. The people of Georgia have the chance to make this happen. Will they seize this opportunity, with all of its power and promise, or fumble it away?

Bill Lueders

Bill Lueders, former editor and now editor-at-large of The Progressive, is a writer in Madison, Wisconsin.