The political lesson of Governor Walker

Yesterday was a fantastic day in politics, both in Wisconsin and nationally. The slew of Republican victories across the nation has flipped the Senate and grown the majority in the House to levels not seen since the early part of the 20th century. It was phenomenal to experience the midterm tidal wave of 2014.

Flipping the Senate is wonderful, to a fault. President Obama made it clear today that he has no intentions of really working with a Republican House and Senate. Indeed, he pointed out that “I’m the guy who is elected by everybody and not just from a particular state or a particular district” and that he heard the voices of voters who handed Democrats defeat after defeat. Yet in an illogical twist, Obama gave this odd shout-out to the electorate who stayed home yesterday: “To two-thirds of voters that chose not to participate in the process yesterday, I hear you, too.”

Obama is, as Noah Rothman says in this piece at HotAir, asserting that he is “the figure with the most political legitimacy.” To clear-headed folks, this is laughable. Obama won both elections, yes, but a sizable portion of the nation either did not vote for him or did not vote at all. If two-thirds of the electorate staying at home yesterday is not a mandate for Republican wins the same standard applies to Obama. Or, at least, it should.

I confess I have a bias, but by far the biggest political victory of the night — and the one future Democrats have to worry about down the road — is the victory of Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker. In four short years, Governor Walker has won three elections: the gubernatorial race in 2010, the recall in 2012 (making him the first governor in America’s history to survive a recall), and last night’s vote which gave him a second term. It is a remarkable feat that has rightfully garnered national attention. And if you listened to Governor Walker’s victory speech last night (warning: auto-play) you will notice that his attention is, in turn, focused nationally.

Democrats and their progressive allies — in big union labor, in environmentalism, in the abortion industry — have thrown everything they can at Governor Walker in an effort to destroy his political career. Why? Governor Walker had the fortitude to do what needed to be done to right Wisconsin’s fiscal ship without massive tax increases or cuts to services or massive layoffs or pension cuts. Governor Walker ran, and governed, on a principle of getting government out of the way and putting control (and money) back in the hands of the taxpayers. To do this, he and the Republican legislature in Wisconsin passed Act 10. This law limited the collective bargaining power of public employee unions and required contributions toward health insurance and pensions (the required contributions are far less than workers in the private sector pay, for the record). This freed up budgets at the local level (including municipalities and school districts) so that those budgets could be re-worked and things like state aid could be reduced to help undo a deficit that went as high as $6 billion.

If you paid attention, 2011 was fraught with protests and threats (someone threatened to gut Governor Walker’s wife, Tonette, “like a deer” because of his agenda). It culminated in the recall election of 2012. Governor Walker won that recall handily over Democrat challenger (and Milwaukee mayor) Tom Barrett.

The 2014 election was another bite at the apple. A chance for the Democrats and the unions and other progressive groups to run Walker out of office. Political wonks like me will understand what an impact Governor Walker’s loss would have on conservative politics: it would give progressives the political ammunition to say, “See? When you oppose us we destroy your career” and it would take years before we had another government — state or federal — with the spine to oppose those special interest groups.

If ever.

So desperate were the Democrats to get Governor Walker out of office that they selected a candidate so incompetent she was dismissed from her position in her family-owned company (Trek) and her jobs plan was plagiarized, Mary Burke. They either didn’t bother to vet Burke or did the research and decided to hide it, hoping it would be enough to get her into the governor’s mansion. They did not care that Burke was a disaster when she served as Commerce Secretary under the Jim Doyle administration (2005-2007). They did not care that Burke couldn’t run a business that had millions of dollars in profits, let alone question her ability to manage the billions of dollars in a state budget. They were not bothered by her plagiarism. Or the fact Burke was so awful and divisive as a manager that employees threatened to quit.

Burke would “heal the divide” caused by Governor Walker. Except Governor Walker didn’t cause the divide. He governed, as he was duly elected to do. It was the Democrats and their union and progressive allies who took up the protests and the fleeing to Illinois and the wailing and gnashing of teeth because they didn’t like having to, as they’d say, pay their “fair share.” And if Burke had won, all of the good the Walker administration has done in Wisconsin would unravel. Not just statewide. But nationally as well. No one would dare threaten the power of the unions or their progressive cohorts because it would be political suicide to do so. The protest and the harassment and the uncivil behavior Wisconsin endured in 2011-2012 would be proven effective.

Instead, after sinking millions into various Democratic campaigns and after visits by Debbie Wasserman-Schultz, both President and Michelle Obama, and Bill Clinton — nothing could sink the Walker re-election campaign. He is, truly, the Teflon Governor. Even the politically motivated John Doe investigations were unable to derail Walker’s return to Madison for a second term. Last night’s election was, for political wonks especially, a sight to behold.

The real work begins now. Today. In fact, Governor Walker had a cabinet meeting this afternoon.

This morning, I tweeted:

and I think this is a valuable message for Republicans to hear now that the midterm dust is settling. Not only because Scott Walker’s victory puts him in serious contention for 2016, but because his is a lesson that could benefit the GOP nationally in the long term: believe in, and govern on, conservative principles. And. You. Will. Win.

Articulate those principles. Govern on those principles. And. You. Will. Win.

Be for something and not just against something. And. You. Will. Win.

Small-government conservatism (even libertarianism) wins when it’s believed in and presented as a viable alternative to big-government progressivism (bordering on socialism). Progressive groups from around Wisconsin and throughout America threw everything they had at Walker because they know the above to be true. And they know when politicians run governments the way Walker has, progressive politicians and their pet causes lose. Walker opposes everything they envision government is or should be.

It’s been made clear by the White House that the Obama Administration will do whatever it takes to work around a Republican Congress in order to pass Obama’s agenda in the next two years. Bills passed by the House and Senate will be vetoed by Obama and he’ll have the audacity to get in front of the news cameras and cry about Republican obstructionism. The media will aid and abet these lies. So the GOP has to play smart politics.

[Insert nervous conservative/libertarian laughter here].

If they don’t, they set up whoever Democrats nominate in 2016 (no, I don’t believe it will be Hillary Clinton; but yes, I do believe it will be a woman) for an easy victory.

Failing to look to Wisconsin and Governor Walker to learn what needs to be done in the coming weeks and months is detrimental to the mandate (and it is a mandate, despite what Obama says) Republicans have been given. They must get ahead of the Obama Administration, and the media, and take their case directly to the American people. They must govern the nation like Scott Walker governed Wisconsin.

A guy who wins three elections in four years has some valuable lessons to teach. If we’re smart enough to learn from them.

Go Vote! (Beating the Electoral Dead Horse)

Tomorrow Wisconsinites join Americans in going to the polls to vote for a variety of public offices. Odds are, nationally, the Republicans will pick up a majority (even a small one) in the Senate and more seats in the House.

But I want to focus on my home state of Wisconsin and the governor’s election.

The final Marquette University (MU) Law Poll has Governor Walker up by seven points over challenger Mary Burke. In 2012, the MU Law Poll was the most accurate poll in the recall election. It has been my prediction for some time that Walker wins re-election, and he does so by three to five points. I stand by that prediction tonight.

I won’t go over all the reasons why in great detail. Job growth is up, unemployment is down, taxes are down, government spending is under control, and we have surpluses rather than deficits in our budgets. Walker did not make his goal of 250,000 jobs — but we have over 100,000 jobs and are fourth in the Midwest in terms of job growth. Most of the blame for the gap between goal and reality rests squarely on the shoulders of Wisconsin Democrats and their progressive union allies. For a year and a half, this state — and the governor’s focus — was on the waste of time that was the recall election. This took away time from governing the state and focusing on encouraging job creation.

So well done, progressives.

Instead, I’ll harken back to last week’s edition of Modern Comments Radio (Wednesdays on Vigilant Liberty Radio, 10pm Eastern) and this May 2009 story from the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel:

Madison – Gov. Jim Doyle said Thursday that the budget deficit has exploded to up to $6.5 billion – a historic gap he wants fixed by laying off up to 1,100 employees, furloughing non-emergency workers eight days a year, rescinding 2% pay raises and making new cuts in aid to schools and local governments.

Doyle said the $5 billion deficit he and lawmakers faced in March has soared because tax collections are running far below estimates. The potential $6.5 billion gap will occur over a three-year period ending June 30, 2011.

“We are facing tougher choices than ever about what level of state services we can sustain at a time when people need them most,” Doyle said. “I am fighting to protect the middle class, education, public safety and health care.”

This is where we were. Five short years ago. And Mary Burke was Jim Doyle’s Commerce Secretary from 2005-2007. Do you want to go back to that?

The Democrats in Wisconsin hold us in such contempt and are so blinded by their hatred of Scott Walker that they are willing to nominate someone so incompetent she was fired from her FAMILY business to run this state of Wisconsin. Burke’s campaign can’t even correctly report their finances. But she wants to be in charge of a $68 billion state budget. Trek employees threatened to quit because of her managerial style (but she’ll “heal” the divide!).

They want to go back to the days of deficits, pay cuts, furloughs, and layoffs. Of increased taxes and run away government spending. So desperate are they for Scott Walker’s proverbial head that they don’t care the sort of damage Burke does to the state.

However, none of my predictions or rallying come true if you don’t go vote. I did.

I cannot implore you enough: take a half hour out of your day and get to the polls. Vote for Walker. VOTE. VOTE. VOTE.

A question for the Obama administration

It’s sad we’re excited to see gas at $2.68 a gallon. That’s still 85-cents higher than when Obama took office in 2009.

During the presidential debates in 2012, Obama was asked about low gas prices and he gave this answer:

So now that gas prices are dropping again…isn’t it fair to ask the Obama administration if the economy is on the verge of collapse again?

A note of thanks

For those of you who follow me on Twitter, Facebook, or at my radio program you’ll know that my uncle passed away September 24. It was not unexpected but (as many of you know) anticipating a death does not necessarily make that death any easier when it does come.

My uncle was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer either late last year or early this year (time has a way of messing with my head). We were so optimistic that, as that disease goes, it was diagnosed early (stage 2) and chemo might extend his life a few years. But the chemo beat the hell out of him, shattered his immune system, and left him vulnerable to infection. And that is what claimed his life. The cancer did not get a chance to do that.

He was my dad’s identical twin; literally the closest relative in my life next to my dad. And he was my godfather. He was a sweet man who died far too soon.

But I have to thank you, readers and followers and listeners, for being so kind and understanding while things were on a sort of hiatus here. My show is back live this week and regular blogging will resume again. Your words of comfort, support, and your prayers have been a tremendous comfort to us in a very sad time. From the bottom of my heart: thank you.

I especially want to thank my Vigilant Liberty Radio family: Liz, Krystle, and Allan and Taylor who stepped up on the 24th to do my show in my absence and took care of everything so I didn’t have to worry about anything but my family (and who ran a replay last week while we wrapped up the business after the funeral).  And to Heather, who joined Allan and Taylor on my program, a big thanks as well.

Social media is full of a lot of bad stuff, idiots and jerks and crackpots. But it’s also full of tremendously good, decent, kind people. People who live across the nation — across the globe — that I’ve never met in person but who I consider friends in the truest sense of the word. People who offer a kind word, a prayer, support at the drop of a hat and without question or expectation of recompense.

I will always cherish your kindness.



Post-show Round Up – September 10, 2014

Catch the latest episode of Modern Comments Radio on Vigilant Liberty Radio.

The show was dominated by discussion of Obama’s speech on ISIS and military action against the terrorist organization, but we also talked a little about Scott Walker’s John Doe investigation (and how it’s a partisan political attack).

A few thoughts: When the Senate Democrats attempted to repeal parts of the First Amendment this week, under the guise of “overturning” the SCOTUS Citizens United ruling, you need look no further than the Wisconsin John Doe investigations to get an idea of what the progressive left would like to see regarding the limitations of (conservative) political speech. Attempting to criminalize political speech and activity to the point it chills the ability of a political group to engage in the electoral process.

It is vitally important that conservatives in Wisconsin and elsewhere start playing hardball with the Wisconsin governor’s race. It’s clear the Democrats want nothing more than to oust Scott Walker from office and undo all the good things he’s done in this state. If we don’t fight back, Walker loses. And we lose.

We also didn’t get to talk about the latest effort to “Raise the Wage” – where fast food employees demand $15/hour for pay. My congresswoman, Gwen Moore, was arrested for obstructing traffic. I voted against her in the primary…for a convicted felon. Fast food jobs were not meant to be family-supporting, lifelong careers. They were a way to get a foot in the door and gain experience to move on to bigger, better paying jobs. My husband barely made $15 an hour at his last job, which had more responsibility than a cashier at McDonald’s.

And my advice to conservatives? Check it out at Real Raw Right.

On the eve of 9/11

My hope for tomorrow, and all the days to follow, is that there is peace. That you are safe, that you go about your lives without the specter of terrorism hanging over you. I hope that we remember the horrors of that day and, more importantly, how we pulled ourselves together to move forward from unspeakable tragedy.

The one thing that I think of most when I think of September 11 are the people who died. All of them, but especially the people on Flight 93. The people who knew what had happened in New York and Washington DC and who said, collectively, that they would not allow another American on the ground to die. Selflessly, they fought back against the monsters who sought to kill. Knowing they would probably die in the effort, but that they would take the hijackers with them.

When I think of September 11, I think of the terror I felt, but I think of the resolute bravery shown by these men and women, and I think of this verse from “America the Beautiful”:

O beautiful for heroes proved
In liberating strife.
Who more than self their country loved
And mercy more than life!
America! America!
May God thy gold refine
Till all success be nobleness
And every gain divine!

To everyone who reads this little blog, or follows me on Twitter, or listens to my radio show: be safe tomorrow. You all are special to me, a group of virtual friends and family. I love guys and gals; you who have made me laugh, and think, and cry, and learn, and grow. And it is in this unity, in the selflessness of the men and women of Flight 93 and the hundreds of other acts of kindness and heroism from 9-11, we will get through whatever may come.

And to those who lost loved ones on that horrible day 13 years ago: know that I grieve for and with you. For those wonderful people you lost and who you miss so dearly. May you find comfort and peace.WTC 9-11

My latest at Real Raw Right

On knowing when to play smart politics and avoid the Democrats’ games.

Summary: Late Friday we learned TX gubernatorial candidate Wendy Davis revealed she had two abortions in the 1990s. I said it was best to walk away from this news as Democrats would spin any criticism into the larger War on Women narrative.

I have to give kudos to my fellow conservatives for, largely, listening to my advice (and I was by no means alone in cautioning them).

Also, here is my latest edition of Modern Comments Radio on Vigilant Liberty Radio.

Debbie Wasserman Schultz: “Scott Walker has given women the back of his hand”

Courtesy John Ekdahl (@johnekdahl)
Courtesy John Ekdahl (@johnekdahl)

With the Labor Day weekend behind us, political campaign season is now in full-swing. In Wisconsin, the governor’s race is extremely close and Democrats are desperate to unseat Scott Walker. Walker has handed them two sound defeats: the governor’s race in 2010 and the historic recall in 2012. In an effort to turn state control back to the Democrats, the national party is putting a significant focus on Wisconsin this election cycle.

Today, Debbie Wasserman Schultz, Chair of the DNC, was in Milwaukee for a roundtable event hosted by Democrat Congresswoman Gwen Moore. During the discussion, Wasserman Schultz said the following of Scott Walker (as pictured above):

Scott Walker has given women the back of his hand. I know that is stark. I know that is direct. I know that is reality.

She continues:

What Republican tea party extremists like Scott Walker are doing is they are grabbing us by the hair and pulling us back. It is not going to happen on our watch.

Wasserman Schultz paints quite a picture, no? She is saying, in thinly-veiled language, that Scott Walker is a domestic abuser. Naturally, social media lit up after these comments made their way online. Those who have suffered at the hands of domestic abusers took Wasserman Schultz to task, as did anyone who bristles at a sitting GOP governor being accused of physically abusing women.

One has to wonder where Burke, the political beneficiary of this event, and Congresswoman Moore, it’s hostess, stand on these comments.

Especially since Burke’s own campaign website says she’s “Solving problems, not picking fights.”

Burke campaign website
Burke campaign website

As of the time of publication, e-mails and voice mails have been left with both the Burke campaign and Congresswoman Moore’s office. If a response is received, it will be posted here.

It is egregious on its face for Wasserman Schultz to equate Scott Walker’s politics and policies with the physical abuse of women. It is extremely disturbing the Chair of the DNC would light of domestic abuse to score political points, and even more so because this comparison is not grounded in fact or reality. Debbie Wasserman Schultz owes Scott Walker, the women of Wisconsin, and the victims of domestic abuse an apology.


UPDATE: September 7, 2014

As of this update, calls to both Gwen Moore’s Milwaukee office and Mary Burke’s press office have gone unanswered.

An e-mail to Mary Burke’s campaign was also unanswered, and an e-mail to Gwen Moore’s office received the following template response:

Thank you for taking the time to e-mail me. Your views are important to me. Hearing from constituents like you helps me develop a more informed opinion on legislation and other federal matters pending before the House of Representatives. I would encourage you to check my website, for news on various issues and their progress in Congress.

Again, thanks for writing.


Gwen Moore
Member of Congress

It, naturally, does not comment on or answer my questions. But this is understandable, as Gwen Moore was busy getting arrested fighting for a $15 minimum wage this past Thursday.