Scott Walker, Romney's Running Mate?
Balance the GOP presidential ticket? Nah! That's Democrat stuff. Mitt Romney has the chance to a make a powerful statement with his V.P. choice. Governor Scott Walker -- a boring white guy's white guy -- is about to make a very powerful statement in Wisconsin. A thumbs-up by Wisconsin voters for Walker in next Tuesday's recall election would be a huge victory for bold governmental reform.
A Walker victory establishes that Republicans can enact significant reforms and survive onslaughts by public-sector labor unions, the left, and the dependent classes. For conservative reformers, a Walker recall win is the modern equivalent of the "shot heard around the world."
By picking Scott Walker as his running mate, Romney would signal that his administration is about fundamental reform. Not Mickey Mouse, nibble-at-the-edges reform. But historic, fork-in-the-road change. A Walker pick would show a lot of confidence on Romney's part and would rock liberals and the main stream media back on their heels.
Let's add that by picking Scott Walker, Romney could also greatly help galvanize conservative support for his candidacy. Conservatives are very likely to turn out to vote against Barack Obama in the autumn, but getting conservatives to work for Romney is something else. Scott Walker might be the incentive conservatives need to go the extra mile.
Mitt Romney is supposed to be Captain Cautious. The media has no problems with Romney choosing a boring white guy as his veep. In fact, they kind of expect it. The media wants it because it gives them a predictable storyline: white-bread Republicans versus rainbow-hued Democrats. Yawn.
But a boring white guy like Scott Walker who's determined to restructure his state's government and its relationship to the people...well, that's another matter. Boring white guy Republicans are supposed to check out of their corner offices at five and hit the links.
Scott Walker has proven not to be a clubby Republican eager to accommodate liberals' decades-old dominance of government. Walker has begun the process of deconstructing liberal government, and this in Wisconsin, which could be considered the cradle of "progressivism." Anyone remember Robert La Follette, Sr.? La Follette was a turn-of-the-last-century Republican, no less, and an early progressive leader nationally.
The irony is rich if a Walker recall win is the crucible from which the governor emerges all the more determined to press landmark reforms in Wisconsin favoring less government and more local control. The cradle of progressivism could wind up being the cradle of new small-government conservatism. A Walker victory undoubtedly emboldens Republican candidates and lawmakers throughout the nation.
Of course, for Scott Walker to be viable as Romney's running mate, he does have to win the recall fight next week. The polls are favoring Walker right now, but the polls may deceive.
Very few Wisconsin voters are undecided in the recall battle. The upcoming election is about turnout -- which side can get more of its voters into voting booths. In other states, summertime primaries and runoffs are notorious for low-voter turnouts. But not likely in Wisconsin, where the recall of a governor is novel and the political atmosphere is supercharged. If Walker's ground game is stronger than the Democrats' ground game, he wins.
Romney has already gone on record as wanting to fix Uncle Sam's problems in big ways. A Scott Walker pick underscores Romney's determination dramatically.
This late March account from Rush Limbaugh on what Romney told him about what can be expected from his presidency:
"If I accomplish everything I want to do, I may only be a one-term president." I said, "What do you mean?" "Because I am gonna so fix this. It's gonna be dramatic. We've gotta reverse this. We gotta stop this. Our children's future is at stake here, and I'm gonna stop the direction that we're headed, and if they throw me out after four years, fine and dandy."
If Romney is true to his word, then Scott Walker would be more than a "statement" as his vice president, come to think of it. Walker would be a political soul mate who had triumphed in the bloody fights that Romney would confront pursuing fundamental reforms in Washington. Already battle-tested, Walker could cover Romney's back better than most other veep choices.
In last week's American Spectator, Peter Ferrara recapped Governor Walker's accomplishments in Wisconsin, including implementing meaningful spending cuts instead of raising taxes to close a $3.6-billion budget deficit. Requiring state and local workers to contribute to their own benefits. Ending compulsory union dues payments for state workers. Limiting collective bargaining negotiations to salaries, not benefits and working conditions for government employees. And much more.
The Walker agenda in Wisconsin is really a blueprint for a Romney agenda in Washington. Jefferson fancied the states as laboratories of democracy. In the Wisconsin laboratory, small-government conservatism is demonstrating its superiority to worn-out liberalism.
As William Kristol writes in the current Weekly Standard:
[I]n the event of a victory for Walker on June 5, the task of today's Republicans will be similar to the challenge facing the Union forces after Gettysburg: to turn a defensive success -- halting the South's advance into Pennsylvania, preventing Scott Walker from being removed from office halfway through his term -- into a strategic victory in the broader conflict.
Kristol is dead-on about transforming a Walker victory next Tuesday into a larger strategic aim. In other words, starting the process of making the federal government smaller, leaner, and less intrusive. Returning many federal powers to the states where those powers aren't eliminated outright. Generally moving the nation away from the eighty-year deviancy that is big government. And more fully restoring citizens' rights to chart their own destinies free from government meddling.
The way things are going for Barack Obama, Romney could win in November without Scott Walker. But Walker on the GOP ticket would be a way for Romney to ask voters to give him an unambiguous mandate for dramatic reform. A mandate to start a basic overhaul of the federal government is not just what Mitt Romney needs to govern successfully, should he win in November, but what the country urgently needs to thrive.