Friday, May 14, 2010

WI Gubernatorial Race In The Bag?

Seems as if Scott Walker is making some waves nationally. First, there was a headline along with a picture on Drudge Report which linked to this article.

Now we have this...

After Democratic Gov. Jim Doyle announced his retirement, GOP frontrunner Scott Walker has made brown bags a center of his campaign, playing on something that has saved him money over his own lifetime. Those brown bags are quickly gaining a kitsch appeal among conservatives, and have transformed the race from a relative toss-up to one that might allow Republicans to eat the Democrats for, well, lunch.

“I started packing a brown bag lunch when I was at college at Marquette, and at IBM, and still did when I was in the State Assembly for eight years,” said Walker. “I’m saving money, and people I know are saving money, whether it’s packing a brown bag or doing something else. That’s what I think the government should be doing, too.”

This easily-digestible conservative rhetoric has drawn attention from the likes of former House Speaker Newt Gingrich and former Florida Governor Jeb Bush, who recently endorsed Walker in a blazing statement that called him “the real deal.” That’s because his rhetoric matches up to his style, with Walker’s track record of cutting taxes during his time as county executive and actually returning a large chunk of his salary to the state when he served in office. Over the course of eight years, he gave back $370,000 because he didn’t think a county executive should be paid more than the state’s governor.

Walker managed to wrestle up more than a little support for his policies during that time, as well. He reduced the size of Milwaukee’s government 23 percent, and reduced the debt by 10 percent. The way he did that was by taking on a liberal board of county advisors and relying on public support, in a move that was similar to today’s tea parties, he says.

“I think about what we did 8 years ago in Milwakukee county is something like the tea parties. It didn’t start out as a political party… it was people who said they weren’t going to check out, they weren’t going to give in, and they were going to take their government back,” said Walker.

The “for the people” meme is one that’s common to the Walker campaign and to Wisconsin politics. The state GOP has historically refused to endorse a primary candidate in statewide elections, and they have again refused to endorse this time around. And Walker has focused his message on a “brown bag guide to government,” which includes three pillars: 1) don’t spend more than you have, 2) smaller government is better government, and 3) people create jobs, not government.
You can read the entire column here.

I backed Scott Walker in his 2006 campaign for governor. I was disappointed when he announced that he was withdrawing from the race. However, he earned the respect of many with that decision, leaving a clear field for Mark Green. To me that indicates that he was putting the people of the State of Wisconsin above his own personal goals and ambitions. While Green did not win, the effect of Walker's decision was not to be forgotten.

If only Mark Neumann would be so gracious.

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