Is Scott Walker a budget surrender monkey?
Before I put my rhetorical knife deep between Scott Walker's shoulder blades, let me start out by saying I like him. I really do. He hasn't just talked the talk; he's actually done good conservative things in Wisconsin. He's probably my second choice for president, which is saying something. If Ted Cruz doesn't start to take off in the polls, or they find him in bed with a dead woman or a live transgendered person, well, then Walker's probably my man.
But there are aspects of his record that are troubling and I think they need to be raised. During the debt limit impasse in 2013, when Republicans in the House were reluctant to pass a debt limit increase that would allow Obamacare to continue, Scott Walker was asked his opinion on the subject.
Wisconsin's Republican Gov. Scott Walker says he has "real problems" with Obamacare, but he does not advocate a government shutdown to block it.
"I believe the Affordable Care Act is anything but affordable, and will have a negative impact on the economy of my state," he said, adding that he would have preferred for it to have been blocked by the Supreme Court. "But I don’t extend that to the point that we should shut down the government over it."
Where to begin? First of all, he has adopted the language of the left. We all know that in a government "shutdown," the essential operations of the government continue. The government also "shuts down" every Saturday and Sunday, and somehow we survive. But Walker says a shutdown is something to fear, and a reason to capitulate.
Even worse, ten times worse, is that Walker's statement implictly blames the Republicans for the "shutdown." Republicans passed a resolution that allowed 100% government operations, every inch of the federal behemoth, to continue, all except Obamacare, and the then Democrat-controlled Senate refused to act on it.
Who is to blame? According to Scott Walker, the Republicans: "I don't think we should shut down the government over it," he said. We, the Republicans. He didn't say, "If the Democrats in the Senate don't take up the bill, they will be the ones shutting down the government." Walker clearly blamed the Republicans. He advised them to surrender, even making Democrats' argument that they should be the ones to shoulder the blame for a "shutdown."
And at the time, what was Scott Walker's solution to the impasse?
"The way to resolve this is through candidates making the case in the 2014 election," he said. "They can make a case they’re going to come on in and put the power back in the hands of the people, not in the government."
That worked out really well, didn't it? Republicans took the Senate, and funded both Obamacare and now the illegal amnesty. Effectively, Walker's solution was to say, "Surrender, and wait until the next election!"
So what does this forebode if Walker gets elected president? What if Republicans in Congress pass a huge increase in spending, as they did when Republicans controlled the Congress under George W. Bush? Will Walker stand firm and veto spending bills, or will he cringe and sign them, for fear of being seen as "shutting down" the government?
Worse, what if Democrats retake the Congress and pass not only big spending bills, but other riders, such as allowing additional forms of amnesty, or regulation of free speech, or of gun rights, or something else? Will Scott Walker be afraid to veto their spending bills as well? From his comments in 2013, it looks like he will say, I can't fight this. If I do, the government will shut down and I will be to blame!
Scott Walker showed tremendous courage in fighting the public0sector unions in his own state. But he has dealt with a largely sympathetic Republican legislature in Wisconsin. I know that in this year's budget he has proposed cutting aid to the bloated UW system by 300 million dollars. But before running for president, has he ever severely cut or eliminated any programs in Wisconsin? (Not just reduced the rate of increase, but actually spent less one year than the year before it.) He might have, but I am unaware of it.
One more data point: he signed a historic right to work law, but he didn't really want to. In fact, he actively lobbied legislators not to pass it.
“Distraction” is the term Gov. Scott Walker repeatedly uses to try and convince Republican legislators to not seriously consider any right-to-work bill. The implication is that any attention given that issue would interfere with lawmakers debating and approving the 2015-17 state budget. It’s clear that Walker “doesn’t want the ruckus” and “all the things that come with” the right-to-work controversy, Fitzgerald said last week.
We are living in a post-constitutional period. We need a lot of restructuring to get back to the rule of law and constitutionality. If Scott Walker, with Republican majorities more conservative than he is, is reluctant to make systemic change, how insistent will he be pushing for change as president with a Congress, Democrat or Republican, more liberal than him? I mean, Chris Christie battled the unions, too, but that doesn't make him a conservative reformer, either.
Walker's comments on the Obamacare showdown and his behavior on the right-to-work legislation make me wonder if he may be too timid to resist big budget increases or policy riders from Congress. It's an issue that concerns me, because I may end up supporting him, given that the other political troglodytes (Paul, Huckabee, Christie, Bush, et al.) are even worse (although I have a special place in my heart for Marco Rubio!).
Tell me in the comments section how you reconcile his toughness with the unions with his surrender attitude during the Obamacare showdown and his clear reluctance to sign right to work legislation.
Pedro Gonzales is the editor of Newsmachete.com, the conservative news site.