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Sunday, June 10, 2012

WI Governor Scott Walker's Advice To Mitt Romney

By Susan Duclos

Scott Walker's advice: Run as a reformer.

Before getting into the details of the advice itself, a quick note as to why Wisconsin's Governor, Scott Walker's advice, is something Mitt Romney should take very seriously.

I pointed out a missed opportunity for Republicans yesterday:

A Missed Opportunity

The "private sector is doing fine" sentence is the one being focused on, but there was a more egregious comment Obama made yesterday which people have ignored in that same speech:

And so, you know, if Republicans want to be helpful, if they really want to move forward and put people back to work, what they should be thinking about is how do we help state and local governments and how do we help the construction industry? Because the recipes that they're promoting are basically the kinds of policies that would add weakness to the -- to the economy, would result in further layoffs, would not provide relief in the housing market, and would result, I think most economists estimate, in lower growth and fewer jobs, not more.

If Conservatives would ignore the private sector remark now that we have had our sound bite fun with it, this is another perfect opportunity, especially after Wisconsin's recall election where Democrats failed to remove Governor Scott Walker who proved that Obama, nor Republicans or Democrats in Congress, need to "help", they just need to get the hell out of the way of "state and local governments", which Walker and Wisconsin is proof positive that the right policies can turn a $3.6 billion deficit into a $1.5 million projected surplus and create jobs at the same time.

Without raising taxes.

This is a wonderful chance, a perfect segue way provided by Obama himself, to point out that states and local government can help themselves without the interference or additional "help" from the federal government.

It is also a chance to show that Conservative principles, Conservative solutions, ideals and policies can turn a deficit into a surplus without increasing taxes on anyone. Jobs can be created and states can grow by those "recipes" that Conservative "governors" and mayors promote.

Obama opened a door here and Republicans should be walking right through it.

Walker sees the same opportunity for Mitt Romney and Republicans.

Liberal Democrats, by instigating the Wisconsin recall election against Walker, shoved a state election, into the spotlight, they made sure that America was watching and the controversial budget reforms Walker implemented, worked.

Those types of reforms are the polar opposite of what Barack Obama has done and proposes to do on a national scale.

The results of Walker's reforms, that thanks to Liberals, all of America now know about provided succinctly by The Weekly Standard:

Moreover, the central issues at stake in the recall​—​spending, taxes, public education, unemployment, and the “rights” of government unions​—​had been widely debated in the press and among voters. The final Marquette poll found a highly informed electorate: Eighty-four percent said they regularly discuss politics with family and friends, and more than 8 out of 10 had watched the local news in the past week.

If Walker’s budget had harmed public schools, as union activists and Democrats warned last spring, voters would have known, and there’s little doubt that Walker would have lost. But the opposite happened. Before the 2011 school year began, story after story popped up in the Wisconsin press about how schools used Walker’s reforms to balance their budgets without laying off teachers or making painful program cuts.

“Everything we changed didn’t touch the children,” the finance director of the Brown Deer school district in the Milwaukee suburbs told The Weekly Standard last July. Under a collective bargaining agreement, she said, “We could never have negotiated that​—​never ever.” A few days before the election, the president of Brown Deer’s teachers’ union told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel: “Overall morale is not bad because of [Walker’s collective bargaining law]. We didn’t lose any jobs and class sizes are the same.”

In Neenah, the school district saved $1.8 million by adopting a new health insurance plan​—​savings that allowed the school board to avoid layoffs and to raise the base teacher pay by 18 percent.

After a full schoolyear with Walker’s reforms in effect, his opponents couldn’t explain why they were bad. Six days out from the election, Tom Barrett couldn’t name a single school hurt by Walker’s reforms. After two attempts to dodge the question, he finally gave up. “We can do an analysis and get back to you on that,” Barrett told The Weekly Standard. The mayor also refused to say how he would have balanced the budget and couldn’t name a single initiative he’d pursue to spur job creation as governor.

Walker’s reforms achieved enough savings that when property tax bills went out around Christmas, many taxpayers saw their taxes significantly drop for the first time in over a decade. Though Walker’s opponents claimed his policies were an assault on democracy, in a very real sense they expanded democracy​—​something many in the national media failed to understand. With the restrictions to collective bargaining, unions had lost the power to veto changes to their benefits. That power now resided with elected school boards. Before Walker, the state’s property tax cap essentially allowed automatic tax increases. Under Walker, tax increases became subject to local referenda.

Ultimately, Walker won for a simple reason: He proposed policies, implemented them, and they worked.

What are the results of Obama's policies over the last three years?

The economy is stalled, unemployment is 8.2 percent, having risen last month, gas prices are high, the federal deficit is out-of-control, our AAA credit rating has been downgraded, the budget is nowhere near balanced and Obama's own budget proposal which did not receive any Congressional support from Senate Democrats or House Democrats, came with a $3.8 trillion price tag.

Which brings us to the bottom line indicated in the headline.

Scott Walker's advice to Mitt Romney:

Walker agrees with those who believe the results last week make Wisconsin a potential Republican pickup in November. But in order to win the state, Mitt Romney will have to campaign in a way that’s consistent with what Wisconsin voters approved with their retention of Walker. He wants Romney to run as a reformer, to campaign on bold policy proposals, and to resist the temptation to run safe. “It’s not enough to just be the other guy,” says Walker. “He has to offer a plan, he has to show a willingness to take on the big challenges facing the country. I think he can win here if he does that. 
Walker says he hopes Romney will propose deeper tax cuts than he has laid out thus far. “I’d like to see him slash marginal tax rates so that we could see the kind of growth that we saw under Ronald Reagan after the recession in 1981 and 1982,” Walker says.

Walker rejects the advice Romney is getting from many Republican strategists to make the election a simple referendum on Obama and the economy. “The consultants will tell you that​—​hands down. But I think he’s got to run on a bold plan and on big ideas.” Romney needs to win “on a mandate, if you will, to govern. Romney has that background. He’s capable of doing big, bold things. .  .  . He can’t say I’m a Republican like Scott Walker and hope to win. He has to say that I’m a reformer like Scott Walker. The ‘R’ after his name has to stand for ‘reformer,’ not just ‘Republican.’ ”

Romney can hold Walker up as an example of how bold ideas, hard decisions, and policies completely opposite of what Obama tried and failed and proposes more of, work.

Romney should do this fast, while the successful results of Walker-type reforms are fresh in the minds of American voters.

The full three-page Weekly Standard article is here.