The New York Times had an article titledÂ Republicans Using Shutdown to Stake Positions for Potential 2016 BidsÂ on Wednesday, and I noticed something that got me to thinking. They went through folks like Senators Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio, and Gov. Bobby Jindal, writing these folks were trying to stay to the right of the party base. They also wrote, “Gov. Chris Christie of New Jersey is seizing on the moment to distance himself from Republicans in Washington and its dysfunction” and that he was sending out all these tweets with #DearDC hashtags attacking the right side of the party for this dysfunction. In other words, Christie is staking out the moderate turf. But it was one little paragraph, and one sentence in it, that was the only mention of a person that got my wheels to going;
“Gov. Scott Walker of Wisconsin has been more restrained, avoiding a hashtag war, but has sounded similar notes, while former Gov. Jeb Bush of Florida appears to be assuming the role of the adult in the room, warning his party not to overreach, because of what he called the â€œdiceyâ€ politics.”
Â It was not Jeb Bush, who just assumes he will inherit the next guy in line mantle as Bob Dole, John McCain, Mitt Romney, and to some degree both his brother and Dad did that made me start burning up grey matter on this subject. No, it was the fact the New York Times even bothered to mention Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker, and the fact that while he has been critical of how things are being handled in Washington as of late by Republicans, he has been restrained in that criticism. These liberals know Walker well, and I think they are hearing footsteps behind them. Otherwise they wouldn’t have even given him this honorable mention. But, more on how the East Coast liberals know him later.
Â Back in August, Jennifer Rubin of the Washington Post writing on her Right Turn blog produced aÂ postÂ on the things Gov. Walker needed to do to be a viable presidential candidate in 2016. Three of the 10 points she made are these;
“Become better known. GOP insiders and political junkies know him, but most voters donâ€™t. Heâ€™ll need to raise his profile with trips, speeches, TV appearances and maybe a book.”
“Establish himself as the candidate that bridges the gap between the tea party and mainstream Republicans. Heâ€™s taken on the left, but not tilted at windmills.”
“Define himself as the embodiment of conservative governance. Heâ€™s the guy who got through labor, health-care and education reform.”
Â In an op-ed Gov. Walker penned for the Washington Post “What Wisconsin can teach Washington”, published on October 8th, he began to cover these bases. In this piece, Walker never disparaged his political enemies or spoke ill will of them. He wrote of how “we” did these things to reform the state, he never said “I” did this or that. He took one little shot at the dysfunction in Washington by writing, “Like most Americans, I think government is too big and too expansive, but the government that is necessary should work â€” and work well.” While that is about as mild as it gets, and considering the environment many conservatives are in now, he still had the guts to say that and he didn’t have to. However, the implication Walker was making was clear. I did this in Wisconsin, I can do this in Washington too.
Now, let’s get to another point Jennifer Rubin made, and why these East Coast liberals hear Walker’s footsteps;
“Be the guy whoâ€™s already slayed the left. Tout his survival of the recall effort in Wisconsin as a badge of honor and evidence he has already shown the toughness to beat liberals.”
The liberals know this, they threw everything they could at him and lost, twice. Walker is going to have to face a very tough third election. He is a mark for the Democrats, they want to kill the baby in the crib, and Republicans should not take his nextÂ challengeÂ lightly. That is a subject I will address another day, but assuming WalkerÂ wins his third election in four years, in a blue leaning purple state that went for Obama twice, he will be the most battle tested conservative in America. Without question.
While other possible candidates, like Ted Cruz, talk about things they “would” do, or “if” they could they would do this or that, Gov. Walker has been there, and done that. It’s easy for a right wing conservative to get elected in Texas, not so much in Wisconsin. Gov. Walker has been through the fire and never backed down. He has a real record to run on. With his folksy, not in your face brand of problem solving-public consensus building conservationism, many of the right wing firebrands and loud mouth overweight moderates may want to look at that cloud of dust on the horizon. It is being raised by those same footsteps the left already hears, a dark horse is coming.