Senator John Thune thinks Herschel Walker would make a good Senator… or at least a better one than Senator Raphael Warnock or any other Democrat:
“I am proud to endorse Herschel Walker for U.S. Senate in Georgia,” said Thune, the No. 2 Senate Republican leader. “Herschel Walker is a fighter, a uniter, and a proven winner with the ability to bring Republicans together to win in November.”
Thune is the fifth Republican senator to throw his support behind Walker and the first member of Senate GOP leadership to do so. Republican Sens. Josh Hawley (Mo.), Steve Daines (Mont.), Roger Marshall (Kan.) and Lindsey Graham (S.C.) have already endorsed Walker in the race to unseat Warnock.
Republican leaders in Washington were at first wary of the former NFL star’s Senate bid, given his lack of political experience and revelations of a turbulent past. But those concerns have largely subsided, and party leaders now see Walker as their best bet to defeat Warnock next year [Max Grenwood, “Thune Endorses Herschel Walker in Georgia Senate Race,” The Hill, 2021.10.25].
One might ask Thune which of Walker’s multiple personalities he thinks is qualified to serve as Senator:
For the first time, the 46-year-old former professional football player reveals in a book published this week, “Breaking Free,” that he has a rare and controversial mental illness called dissociative identity disorder — or D.I.D. — formerly known as multiple personality disorder.
…Walker’s therapist Jerry Mungadze, said he met Walker’s alternate personalities, or alters, in therapy. “They will come out and say, I am so-and-so. I’m here to tell you Herschel is not doing too good … When he finishes, it would just disappear back in him, and Herschel comes out” [Bob Woodruff, Jaime Hennessey, and James Hill, “Herschel Walker: ‘Tell the World My Story’,” ABC News, 2008.04.15].
Sure, we’re trying to remove the stigma from mental illness, but illness of any sort still puts rational limitations on what people can do. People with macular degeneration should not drive cars. People who’ve had a stroke and have lost control of their facial muscles can’t read the news on the radio.
So should people with separate and sometimes violent personalities accompanied with memory loss hold legislative positions that require public accountability?
…Walker’s diagnosis answered a lot of questions for Walker’s ex-wife Cindy Grossman, who was married to Walker for 16 years before she knew about the illness.
“Well, now it makes perfect sense, because each personality has a different interest. This one has an interest in ballet, this one has an interest in the Marines, this one had an interest [in the] FBI, this one had an interest in sports,” she said.
Grossman recognized different sides of her husband, even different voices. “It’s hard to explain, but even his physical countenance would change. … There was also a very sweet, lovable [personality]. That’s the one he told me I married. He told me I didn’t marry Herschel.”
But there were darker moments.
“We were talking and the next thing I knew,” Grossman remembered, “he just kind of raged and he got a gun and put it to my temple.'”
Walker’s ex-wife now believes one of his alternate personalities was in control at that moment. “There was somebody there that was evil.”
Walker says he does not remember the event, and many others, including — shockingly — the highlight of his collegiate football career, winning the Heisman Trophy in 1982.
Periods of memory loss are one of the symptoms of the disorder. “A lot of the things that happened there that she may remember, he doesn’t remember because those were the things that were being done by the alters that were so unlike him,” Mungadze explained.
…On another occasion, Walker threatened to kill his wife, his wife’s friend and his therapist in a therapy session.
Mungadze said he saw many alters on that day: a raging one, a protector, and finally a child when Walker hit a wall and broke his hand.
Walker does not deny the events, but says he has no memory of them. “No, I don’t remember that, but I probably did it” [Woodruff, Hennessey, and Hill, 2008.04.15].
Maybe Walker’s mental illness is why his campaign is keeping him in media safe spaces like Fox News and avoiding traditional face-to-face campaigning in Georgia. Or maybe Walker is having trouble getting out to see Georgia voters because all of Walker’s personalities have lived in Texas since 1986. But hey, as Walker said on Fox and Friends in August, residency is just another state of mind, right?
He has been living in the state of Texas for the last several years and only recently established residency back in Georgia.
“I think the people have made a mistake by saying I’m not a Georgian. I always talked about Georgia. I lived in Georgia. I don’t care what they say,” Walker said [Christine Sperow, “Herschel Walker First Interview: ‘I Have the Left and the Right Against Me’,” Fox 5 Atlanta, 2021.08.27].
Thune himself expressed skepticism about Walker’s capacity to serve as a Senator just three months ago:
As Senate Minority Whip John Thune (R-S.D.) put it: “He’s got the wow factor, the celebrity factor … But some of these issues he’s going to have to figure out how to answer.”
“As a candidate you have to be able to respond to hard questions. And your background becomes an issue, your experience becomes an issue,” Thune said. “Sometimes people who have success in one area of life and translate it to politics, it’s not as easy as it looks” [Marianne Levine and Burgess Everett, “GOP to Herschel Walker: Consider Staying on the Bench,” Politico, 2021.07.30].
Maybe Senator Thune could ascribe that sober assessment to one of his alters, a personality that recognized that you build a strong party by running candidates who can win elections and who can actually do the job for which they are elected. But since the ascension of figures like Walker’s pal Donald Trump and Thune’s pal Kristi Noem, Thune can’t let that personality out much. Once you start putting unskilled beauty queens and bankrupt reality-TV stars in charge of your party, you evidently get stuck nominating the least qualified people you can find.
Bad candidates make for bad government—and that’s evidently what Republicans like Thune want.