Tag: Scott Walker

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Something occurred to me this morning while listening to Jay Nordlinger and Mona Charen on their Need to Know podcast.  They were discussing how Scott Walker was ill-served by the Trump-centric nature of the latest GOP debate on CNN. Perhaps someone can help me understand. . . if Scott Walker knew he was within a week […]

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Matthew Continetti has an article at NRO titled “Why Republicans Hate Political Consultants?” which argues that such creatures are weasels that are driven by greed and job security rather than principles and ideals. Could it be that without political consultants lining their pockets at the expense of the Scott Walker campaign the candidate might still […]

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Happy Halloween, Ricochet, America, soon to be former Speaker Boehner! Speaker Boehner has announced he will step down just before Halloween This is the right thing to do & the timing is no doubt intended to suggest all hell is breaking loose. Maybe you can have the pope back to anoint the next one, just […]

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Why Have the Governors Stopped Campaigning?


Screen Shot 2015-09-22 at 10.12.48 AMWalker has now joined Perry in dropping out of the race for the GOP nomination. And yet, not a single vote has been cast. Not even a notoriously bad-at-predicting-the-final-outcome early primary vote, nor a single caucus. We’ve had a couple of debates that everyone agrees are meaningless to any final result, and there has been a constant drum beat of polls that could mean anything, and about which no one has any tested theory to predict the nomination in many months’ time. But nothing has actually been decided, or is decidable at this point.

Can someone please explain the mechanism by which these serious and intelligent men — surrounded by the best political consultants money can buy and, more importantly, by other sober and intelligent people — have, in the absence of any plausible evidence as to the likely outcome, decided to stand down?

Image Credits: “Gov. Perry CPAC February 2015” by Gage Skidmore . Licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0 via Commons and “Scott Walker AZ Chamber of Commerce 2015” by Gage Skidmore. Licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0 via Commons.

Walker to Drop Out (Updated with Official Statement)


WalkerFrom the New York Times:

Gov. Scott Walker of Wisconsin has concluded he no longer has a path to the Republican presidential nomination and plans to drop out of the 2016 campaign, according to three Republicans familiar with his decision, who spoke on condition of anonymity. Mr. Walker called a news conference in Madison at 6 p.m. Eastern time.

UPDATE: Excerpts from Gov. Walker’s official statement, which was emailed this afternoon.

What Happened to Scott Walker?


shutterstock_297134234If you look back to the spring and early summer (a period before, it should be noted, he was even an officially declared candidate), there was a fair bit of talk about Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker as the “frontrunner” for the Republican presidential nomination. Fast forward to September, and we’ve got a new CNN poll that shows Walker as little more than a rounding error. He’s actually trailing Rick Santorum, who’s yet to make it to a prime-time debate.

Writing at Bloomberg Politics, John McCormick paints a grim picture of the current state of the Walker campaign:

The signs of his precipitous fall were all too vivid Sunday afternoon inside Serena’s Coffee Café in Amana, Iowa, where about 40 stoic supporters showed up for his first retail campaign event in the state since Wednesday’s debate.

The State of the Race


Debate2This won’t be another debate recap post. An army of pundits (Please note: Worst. Army. Ever.) has already dissected last night’s proceedings and the emerging consensus seems about right to me: Carly Fiorina dominated, Marco Rubio and Chris Christie both had some pretty good moments, and Donald Trump’s pilot light kept shutting off. Everyone else was basically treading water. In the undercard debate, Bobby Jindal and Lindsey Graham both looked serviceable, but c’mon — it’s not that big of a deal to win the NIT.

So let’s play the story forward: after last night, what dynamics play out over the six weeks until the next GOP debate takes place in Boulder, Colorado? (Seriously, RNC? Boulder? Was George Soros’ penthouse booked that night?) Here are some of the trends I’ll be watching for:

Carly in the Crosshairs

Scott Walker Talks Turkey on Labor Market Reform


shutterstock_280248305One of the central questions of the current Republican presidential campaign is when potential candidates will talk about important issues of political economy. That talk has thus far been in short supply because of the intellectual oxygen that is sucked out of the room every time Donald Trump walks into it. The recent remarks by Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker in union-dominated Las Vegas, however, have begun to change that. They represent his effort to breathe some life into his faltering campaign by harking back to his successful effort to take on public unions in Wisconsin.

High-stakes gambles like this usually lose. Indeed, to everyone’s surprise, Walker seems to have become a long-shot at this point. Nonetheless, even if his latest proposals don’t revive his candidacy, other Republicans should take up this cause. The union movement is powerful and united, but it is also vulnerable to political attack. The forces that led to the adoption of right-to-work laws in Wisconsin, Indiana, and Michigan are good evidence that many voters, including union members, realize that powerful unions are as bad for working people as they are for employers in the long run

Walker is not a theoretical type, so his speech does not offer the intellectual justifications for curbing the union power that has pervaded American life since the passage of the National Labor Relations Act of 1935. The major problem with unions is that they are monopolies. Employment markets need to be competitive, with ease of entry and exit by both firms and individuals. If you keep tabs on employer efforts to monopolize through the antitrust laws and otherwise leave the process free to function, the interplay of market forces will give both workers and employers the opportunity to work together to maximize their joint welfare by figuring ways to expand the pie and then divide the proceeds.

Scott Walker’s Dilemma


Governor Scott Walker is exactly the kind of leader conservatives want in the Oval Office. He fights for what he believes, and he believes basically all the things conservatives hold most dear. He has held to key principles, consistently and demonstrably, for years. He has not enriched himself by his office. Every major policy proposal he has made is credible and conservative. He knows the Left like no one in the field. He is a skilled executive with experience in accomplishing the kind of things we want done in Washington.

Shakeup in the Ricochet Primary


The results of Ricochet’s August GOP primary poll are in! [Editor’s Note: Not a Ricochet member? That’s easily fixed.] As you will notice, Governor Scott Walker’s commanding lead over the field has completely vanished and he is now tied with Carly Fiorina as the top pick. Below, is the first choice among Ricochet members:

1st choice

Q: Who is your first choice for the GOP Nominee?

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After college and before embarking on my current job I spent time designing board games with the intent to sell them. Here are some lessons I learned from that process: 1) People play games for different reasons. Some are less concerned with winning than they are with having fun, and some people, if you tell […]

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Rubio, Walker Release Plans to Slay the Obamacare Dragon


Marco-Rubio-Scott-WalkerAs Peter Suderman writes in Reason any Republican effort to repeal and replace ObamaCare is likely going to be disappointing, given both the enormity of the task and the fact that they’ll be starting with a ball further down left field than when the President took office.

Still, there’s room to maneuver and maybe even to reverse the ratchet in a few areas. Last week, Sen. Marco Rubio and Gov. Scott Walker issued fairly similar plans that attempt to do just that (Walker issued a short white paper; Rubio wrote an op-ed for Politico that sketches his ideas, albeit with fewer details).

After repealing ObamaCare, both plans start by removing the single greatest inanity of our system: that insurance purchased through one’s employer is tax-free, while insurance purchased directly is not. This system is virtually unique in the world — a bad example of American exceptionalism if ever there was one. Moreover, making it easier for people to purchase insurance directly not only removes an extraneous layer from the healthcare system but also will reduce a major source of governmental intrusion (i.e., Hobby Lobby).

Dear Republican Candidates: Audentes Fortuna Adiuvat


gladiator-are-you-not-entertainedWith the notable exception of Carly Fiorina, all of the non-Trump candidates have been — how to put this politely? — soporific this past month. Doubtless, many of them have been simply waiting for the Trump thing to burn itself out, and have busied themselves with fundraising, flesh-pressing, policy paper issuing, and hoping that something about an email server will wake Americans up from a quarter century of toleration for the the Clintons’ lawlessness. But — however smart that strategy might have seemed a few weeks ago — it isn’t working. Trump is bigger than ever, and no one is paying attention to any of you, largely because you’ve done so little that’s attention-worthy.

As a conservative, I like my politics boring: The less that’s going on in publicly-owned mansions and domed capitols, the more space there is for important things to happen in business, religion, science, and civil society in general. I don’t — or at least shouldn’t — want politics to be any more entertaining than necessary, but this has been too little of a bad thing. We’ve an important election coming up, with a surplus of important issues and interesting candidates with some very different takes on them. And what are they doing? Trying to lay low and wait for things to blow over. On this point if no other, the Trumpsters have my full sympathy.

So here’s my general suggestion: The Republican candidates — all of them, including Trump — need to find some way to constructively tap into the frustration so many people are feeling and turn it into something constructive. Get some attention. Have some fun. Mix it up. Go rogue. Give people reason to think there’s cause for excitement on our side.

Five 2016 Candidates Who Could Change the GOP


ClevelandI posted this piece to my Forbes.com blog. The premise: once your start narrowing the field of 17 Republican presidential candidates, there are arguably five with the potential to move the party in a different direction — in doing so, easing the GOP into a post-Reagan identity that’s eluded Republicans since the end of the Cold War. I deliberately left the three three non-officeholder candidates – Donald Trump, Ben Carson and Carly Fiorina – out of this conversation. Each has had a good summer, but each also faces questions as to whether their respective surges can last.

My five choices:

  • Jeb Bush. How would a Bush 45 presidency alter the GOP? Obviously, there’s the emphasis on Latino outreach, but don’t overlook Bush’s willingness to move a wee bit on items like climate change. As such, he’s a continuation of what the liberal historian Sean Willientz calls “modern Republicanism” – in the tradition of Thomas Dewey and the previous two Bushes, trying to soften the party’s conservative edges.
  • Scott Walker. Where Walker breaks with the field: the ability, for the son of a small-town Baptist minister, to be “pastoral” in much the same way that Reagan was able to channel faith into a larger conservation about values and principles (remember, it worked for Mike Huckabee in Iowa in 2008).
  • John Kasich. Ohio’s governor immodestly told The New York Times: “Hopefully, in the course of all this, I’ll be able to change some of the thinking about what it means to be a conservative.” Kasich seems to be representing an updated version of Bush 43’s “compassionate” message – emphasizing, as Kasich likes to put it, “people in the shadows.”
  • Marco Rubio. The Florida senator would be all of 45 at the time of next year’s national convention. Not that Rubio would bring a complete set of Gen-X sensibilities to the race (the media will note this ad nauseam), but he would be able to speak peer-to-peer to the non-AARP sector of the electorate on matters like child-rearing, college-savings and caring for aging parents – something new for a GOP accustomed to 60- and 70-something nominees.
  • Ted Cruz. The Texas senator is a quiet third in the latest Fox News poll (one point ahead of Bush, two points behind Ben Carson), and of late doing something even quieter: mounting a clever but stealthy campaign across the Deep South (20 stops, 2,000 miles across “Cruz Country – i.e., states participating in next March’s “SEC Primary”). Cruz has raised the most hard money in this campaign; his may be the one candidacy most dead set on realizing the Tea Party’s dream of ending the culture of big government and over-spending.

There’s my “starting five.” Your thought as to which, if any, goes the distance?

Walker’s ‘I Am Paying for this Microphone’ Moment?


Every candidate looks for an iconic soundbite; a brief video clip that sells voters on his or her appeal. A flash of emotion, a glimpse of character, or a demonstration of sound leadership can define a politician in a way no policy paper does. Being terribly cautious creatures, modern politicians and their layers of handlers avoid spontaneity whenever possible, preferring to manufacture every appearance. However, the excellent candidate capitalizes on the unexpected.

Governor Scott Walker was speaking at the Iowa State Fair Monday when a union activist held up a sign and began to attack his record. I’m confident this wasn’t Walker’s first experience with a labor-backed heckler, but the governor seized the moment.

Responding to Donald Trump’s Immigration Plan


GovDear Grand Old Party — particularly all candidates, consultants, and media:

I know how you want to respond to this. Don’t do it. You’re outraged — it’s crazy, unworkable, and a political disaster. I agree. I don’t necessarily see eye-to-eye with you on everything, but you’re right about that.

But here’s what you should have learned by now: When you furiously attack Trump, even on policy, you make his fans ever more defensive and ever more loyal. Moreover, to debate policy with Trump is to wrestle Proteus. Lay hand on him and he changes shape. Two blinks ago he supported complete amnesty. On air today he said he’d round up and deport everyone, including children born here. (He can’t, by the way.) But he also says he’ll let most of them right back in. The actual written plan says only that he’ll deport all aliens with criminal convictions. What’s real? Don’t bother trying to figure it out; it’ll be different tomorrow.

Scott Walker and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Stadium Deal


Scott-Walker-Bucks-1024x800Two days ago, I praised Gov. Scott Walker’s quiet conservatism. Today, I’ll criticize his inconsistency. The Milwaukee Bucks decided they needed a new basketball arena and they told the government to pay for it. If politicos didn’t cough up $250 million, the NBA warned that the Bucks might leave Wisconsin. Nice team you have here, Milwaukee. It’d be a shame if something happened to it…

Taxpayers would rightly be furious if a private business demanded they fund a supermarket, an office building, or a strip mall — why on earth should they send their hard-earned money to millionaire athletes and billionaire owners? But, like most politicians of both parties, Walker quickly knuckled under to a threat from a major sports league:

Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker (R) signed legislation Wednesday to spend $250 million from taxpayers on a new arena for the Milwaukee Bucks basketball team — a deal he has championed for months despite fierce opposition from fiscal conservatives who usually agree with him.

Scott Walker and a ‘Return to Normalcy’


Scott WalkerDespite what The Donald and Jeb! and Carly said in last week’s debate, Scott Walker’s closing statement tackled an even larger elephant in the room: “I’m a guy with a wife, two kids, and a Harley. One article called me ‘aggressively normal.'” The Wisconsin Governor’s detractors aren’t as euphemistic. Let’s face it: Scott Walker is B-O-R-I-N-G.

He brags about the bargain rack at Kohl’s. He spends his Sunday mornings at church and his Sunday afternoons watching the Packers. He live-tweets his haircuts and getting the oil changed in his Saturn. His only unhealthy obsession seems to be an addiction to hot ham and rolls after church. (He really loves hot ham.)

In a news cycle filled with burning cities, beheaded Christians, and transgendered Kardashians, how does a dull Midwesterner stand out? He showed how Thursday night. To paraphrase a reporter talking about Barry Goldwater’s presidential strategy, “my God, Walker is running as Walker!”

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I respect strong men, and I’m thankful to know some.  Men who carry guns, are willing to take risks, are not easily intimidated, and have no use for political correctness.  Men who will hold the door for a woman and stand ready to defend her in case of need.  Men who have the self-confidence and dignity to treat a […]

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