The 7 Reasons Scott Walker Should Get the Republican Nomination for President
[Note from Scott Ott: The presidential primary process doesn't help us to decide who's qualified to bear the party standard, and to serve as chief executive, but rather who’s disqualified. It’s just our way of crushing the hopes and dreams of anyone who dares poke head from hole. Because you already know all of the reasons why every candidate, and potential candidate, has no right to expect the nomination, I'm going to write an utterly one-sided series on why each one should get it. If you’re concerned that I’m not providing fair and balanced analysis, I’m sure the folks in the comment section will compensate for my deficiency. So far, I've done this for Carly Fiorina and Marco Rubio.]
Today’s nominee: Governor Scott Walker of Wisconsin.
Scott Walker has not yet announced his candidacy for president.
I just finished reading his 2013 book, Unintimidated: A Governor’s Story and a Nation’s Challenge, co-written with Marc Thiessen. It’s a page-turner, and believe it or not, a tearjerker...at least if you're as passionate about good governance as I am.
For most of the book, Walker recounts the struggle to pass Act 10 in Wisconsin, a law which limited government unions’ collective bargaining rights, freeing municipalities and school districts from expensive healthcare and pension plans, and a host of other union demands that drove costs up and quality down. The law also released employees from mandatory union membership, freeing up cash so they could contribute more to their own health insurance and pensions.
You may recall that massive crowds of union supporters took over the capitol building in Madison for weeks (the genesis of the Occupy movement), shouting, banging drums, blasting horns and even spitting on GOP legislators who came within range. The union bosses then staged a series of costly recall elections, all of which resulted in Walker’s reelection (twice) by a larger margin, with a stronger majority in the state legislature. The Act 10 reforms worked, allowing governments and schools to increase their effectiveness, yet cutting taxes for Wisconsinites, and turning a $3.6 billion deficit into a $1 billion surplus, all while growing jobs.
Why Scott Walker Should Be the Republican Nominee
1. Tested Courage: They urinated on his office door, trespassed on his property, threatened him (and his wife and sons), wrote his political obituary, and marshaled national resources in an attempt to destroy him. But Scott Walker knew that he was right about Act 10, and if his reforms were given a chance, the voters would know it too.
“I wanted to win, but I also wasn't afraid to lose. I cared more about getting things done than getting reelected. That liberated me to take bold actions I might never have taken if my first priority had been political survival. Too many people in politics today spend their time trying not to lose instead of trying to do the right thing. I often say that politicians need to spend more time worrying about the next generation than the next election. The irony is that politicians who spend more time worrying about the next generation than the next election often tend to win the next election because voters are starved for leadership."
— Scott Walker, “Unintimidated,” 2013, pg. 226
The vicious attacks by union bosses and their street minions provided him innumerable opportunities to back down. But he stood firm. As Ronald Reagan firing 11,000 air traffic controllers showed his steel to our enemies and allies alike, Scott Walker's courage in the face of political, and physical, assault will send a signal to the world.
2. Practical Politics: Walker initially wanted to eliminate all collective bargaining by government workers, but his advisors suggested that if police and firefighters walked out, it would jeopardize public safety, so Walker compromised, exempting them. The Wisconsin governor devoted months, and even years, to studying public policy questions, directing his staff to generate as many options as possible. He understood that pure ideas rarely survive a trip down the septic pipe of politics. He knows when to persuade, and when to compromise, and he manages to do the latter without sacrificing core principles.
His Act 10 solution was nothing short of politically brilliant:
- Cut more than a billion in state funding to schools and local governments, but
- Eliminate the unions’ stranglehold, freeing local boards to save more money than they lost, and
- Require government employees to pay a bit for their health insurance and pensions, but
- Free those same employees from the mandate to join a union, so they'd have cash to do it.
No mass layoffs during tough economic times. No increase in class sizes. Fairness all around, unless you were a union boss accustomed to owning politicians.