Barack Obama made a rather impressive return to the campaign trail last week, headlining a rally in Atlanta, and having a little fun at Herschel Walker’s expense. In fact, the former president encouraged attendees to consider a “thought experiment.”
After conceding that Walker was a fine athlete, Obama questioned whether that made him qualified to make critically important decisions in the U.S. Senate. “Let’s say you’re at the airport,” the Democrat said, “and you see Mr. Walker and you say, ‘Hey, there’s Herschel Walker. Heisman winner. Let’s have him fly the plane.’ You probably wouldn’t say that. You would want to know, does he know how to fly an airplane?”
Obama added, “Or let’s say you go to the hospital, and you say, ‘That Walker guy, he sure could tear it up at Sanford Stadium. Give him a scalpel.’ You wouldn’t say that. You’d ask — at least, I would — ‘Has he done surgery before?’”
The response to the ridicule was quite strong — during and after the campaign event — and apparently came to the attention of the Georgia Republican himself. He may not have fully understood what the former president was saying.
Walker appeared on a conservative media outlet yesterday and, in response to Obama, the candidate said, “I wouldn’t let him fly the plane either. But I can promise you, if they see me and Barack Obama standing there, they’d probably pick me to fly the plane.”
It seems he might’ve missed the point. Obama was making the case that qualifications matter — in airplane cockpits, hospitals, legislative bodies — and Walker is woefully unprepared. The Republican seemed to argue that hypothetical people, looking for someone to fly a plane, might prefer a former athlete who isn’t a pilot over a former president who isn’t a pilot. That’s really not what this conversation is all about.
In a separate interview yesterday, Walker went a little further. The Washington Post reported:
Georgia GOP Senate candidate Herschel Walker, a former NFL player, said he believes he has a better résumé than former president Barack Obama. ... Walker, who appeared upset by [Obama’s] remark, told the Fox News host that he had never met Obama. He then said he had created businesses and said that is something neither Obama nor [Sen. Raphael] Warnock has ever done.
“My résumé against his résumé, I’ll put it up any time of the day,” Walker added.
First, the Senate hopeful probably ought to steer clear of referencing his private sector experiences: Walker’s claims about his business background have been so extraordinarily wrong that The Daily Beast said they “appear to bear no resemblance to reality whatsoever.”
And second, Obama is a former state legislator, former U.S. senator and former two-term president — considered by historians to be one of the best presidents of the last several decades. He’s also a Nobel laureate and best-selling author.
Walker, meanwhile, played football, received a toy badge, and tackled some business ventures that he has spent months exaggerating about.
“My résumé against his résumé, I’ll put it up any time of the day.” Sure, Herschel, good luck with that.