The Editors said Walker was chosen because he brought the benefits of conservatism to a financially troubled state, and survived numerous harsh encounters with a relentlessly hostile political environment. He was denounced, protested, and demonized to the point where he shared space with Adolf Hitler and deposed Egyptian strongman Hosni Mubarak on protest signs.

Big Labor unleashed a tidal wave of money and organizational power against him. His adversaries were willing to break every rule to take him down — from unionized teachers abandoning their classrooms so they could join protest marches, to Democratic officials literally fleeing across state lines in a desperate bid to shut down state government.

And yet, Walker beat them time and again, becoming the first U.S. governor to survive a recall election. Friend and foe alike testify to Walker’s sincerity and conviction. He is soft of voice, mild of manner, and has a steel spine.