Like George Will, I’ll offer my view of the likely field of Republican candidates for president. It is the deepest strongest field of candidates in any party in my lifetime. Today is my first post on my choice for 2016, Governor Scott Walker of Wisconsin.
Let’s begin with the question, is Governor running? National Journal’s Tom Alberta sees little doubt that Governor Walker is running:
In a 35-minute speech here at the Republican National Committee’s winter meeting [in Coronado, CA], the governor mentioned the name of his home state no fewer than two dozen times—and referenced “our state” or “my state” on at least 30 other occasions.
It all fed into the contrast Walker is eager to strike. While President Obama’s Washington, Walker says, is spending big, expanding the federal bureaucracy, and taking a “top-down” attitude to governance, Wisconsin has cut costs, shrunk the size of government, and adopted a “bottom-up” approach.
Walker’s speech left little doubt that he will run for president in 2016. And it foreshadowed a messaging strategy that will portray his record in Wisconsin—sweeping conservative reforms validated by three electoral victories in four years—as a model for the Republican Party, and for the nation.
“I’m worried about my country just like I was worried about my state back in 2009,” Walker said, recalling his decision to seek the governorship and his plans to get the state back on the right track.
Walker, speaking Thursday night, itemized a laundry list of conservative policy achievements that he said have strengthened Wisconsin: defeating organized labor, eliminating teacher tenure, securing $2 billion in tax relief, strengthening anti-abortion measures, implementing voter ID, and protecting concealed carry laws, among others.
“Just about everything you can dream of,” he said.
Since winning reelection in November, Walker has been maneuvering deliberately into position for a presidential bid. He recently hired former RNC Political Director Rick Wiley to manage his campaign, which is expected to launch in the next two months.
I wrote about Governor Walker and the restoration achieved in Wisconsin frequently early in 2011 with items such as this:
The citizens of Wisconsin and their representatives courageously took the first step. Governor Walker signed the landmark legislation into law Friday. That there are miles to go for them doesn’t matter. They are on their way. The “Ship Wisconsin” is under the firm hand and clear mind of Governor Scott Walker.
Real Clear Politics writes that Governor Walker will not be among the top two or three candidates in early polls but he is likely to be the most often mentioned number 2. An unnamed GOP strategist said, “[B]eing No. 2 is not a bad place to be.” In other words, as other candidates, either above or below Governor Walker in the polls, falter and quite, Governor Walker will get most of their supporters. No question governor is in a position to be enthusiastically supported by the Tea Parties and he will be acceptable to the Republican establishment as well. Here is more of RCP on Walker:
Walker’s take-no-prisoners approach with unions over collective bargaining rights catapulted him onto the national stage. He survived an expensive recall election in 2012 that put him on the map of possible presidential contenders and won re-election in November by six points—running as a conservative in a state that has chosen the Democratic candidate for president since 1984.
“He’s been through the fire. The recall was as much a national election” as it was a state referendum, says Tim Miller of America Rising, an opposition research firm that helped Republican candidates like Walker in the 2014 election.
While Walker is well known for the union fight, he is known among activists as a conservative Christian who signed concealed-carry legislation in Wisconsin and pushed the legislature to repeal Common Core standards. Walker is also directing his attorney general to file a lawsuit over federal energy regulations he said would hurt manufacturing. He is pitching himself as a leader with battle-tested skills who can effectively manage the government while advancing conservative principles.
He has my support because he brings the knowledge, wisdom and experience to take on the task of beginning Constitutional restoration of our Federal Government. Just as important, he has the Character. I encourage you to consider joining me is active support of Governor Walker. When he has formed a legal vehicle to support a candidacy, I’ll give you a heads up.
Update: Sarah Palin tweet: Iowa! Can’t wait to be back next weekend. We were looking back at old pictures of our many fun, diverse… http://fb.me/75xo2B2q9