"A friend this morning sent a note, jeering at Scott Walker for having significant personal debt. He linked to this story. My friend’s tone suggested the debt makes Walker look less impressive as an individual and less viable as a presidential candidate.
My reaction was the opposite. To me the story made Walker look normal. (That in fact was my impression of him when I met him about a year ago for coffee at a New York restaurant. I was late. He was at a small table alone, reading some papers. No aides, no staff, no security, just a guy at a table, a Midwestern businessman having a cup of coffee between meetings. He also acted normal. This was so startling to me—politicians now are so often weird, outsized, faintly deranged—that I couldn’t stop thinking about it.) According to the piece Walker owes up to $50,000 to Sears and some perhaps similar amount on another card. His spokeswoman said well, yeah, he’s got two kids in college and his parents live with him. His yearly salary is $144,423. More jaw dropping: his net worth is minus $72,500. Meaning he has done a great deal of work and accomplished many things over the years and never bothered to make himself rich. This is so refreshing—public service that is not, apparently, a self-enrichment project—that I can’t help but think we should tip our hats. Good for him for doing it the old-fashioned way. As for its impact on his appeal, unless I’m very wrong, a lot of Americans will feel not derisive about his financial condition but almost touched. “Harry Truman had no money either.”
My friend said Walker’s lack of wealth suggests he can be bought. I’m seeing it the opposite: if he hasn’t sold himself yet, it suggests he is not for sale."