On a night where Barack Obama won Wisconsin and other battleground states decisively, Gov. Scott Walker quietly gained a stronger position. Republicans in the State Senate retook the Senate Majority (which they had lost in the June 5 Recall election after a prolonged recount in Racine). Republicans also gained a net of two seats in the Assembly, where they had already held a strong majority.
You may be wondering how Scott Walker could win a Recall Election by 7 points – a larger margin than he originally won with in 2010- and then President Obama could then win Wisconsin by 7 points – a full 14 point swing from right to left in 6 months. A simple answer is that Gov. Scott Walker has put forth bold solutions to tough fiscal problems, whereas Mitt Romney did not.
Erick Erickson highlighted this morning that “Romney barely took on Barack Obama. He drew few lines in the sand, made those fungible, and did not stand on many principles.” That is a huge contrast from what worked for Gov. Scott Walker. In his 2010 gubernatorial campaign, Walker made it clear that he was going to change the way Madison handled economic challenges and that he would bring fiscal sanity to Wisconsin.
When elected, Walker quickly acted to close a $3.6 Billion Deficit through his Budget and the famous Act 10 legislation that reformed public sector collective bargaining. When Democrats State Senators fled the state, thousands protested in Madison, state judges struck down parts of the reforms, and two rounds of recalls were fought, Walker didn’t back down. He remained optimistic, argued for his proposals, and crushed his opponents in the June 5 Recall election.
Republicans in the state legislation are benefitting from Walker’s leadership now with solid majorities in both houses. With a two seat majority in the State Senate, Walker should be able to push through conservative proposals like opening up a mine in Northern Wisconsin to bring more jobs to the state. RINO Sen. Dale Schultz will no longer be able to block Walker’s agenda as he did last year on the mining legislation when Republicans held a one seat majority in the State Senate (they lost that majority on June 5 of this year).
Conservatives are also emboldened when they see another round of new conservative leaders getting elected in Wisconsin. Michael Schraa, the owner of Leon’s Custard in Osh Kosh, was subjected to boycotts from the local teachers’ union for simply putting up yard signs to support conservative candidates. The unions’ backlash inspired him to step up and run for office and last night he won handily 60-40%.
If Republicans want to know how to proceed after a difficult loss to President Obama yesterday, they should look to Wisconsin and copy what Gov. Scott Walker is doing. Republicans cannot afford to offer simply a lighter and less specific version of that Democrats are proposing. Walker’s bold leadership and proposals show a path forward for the GOP.
By Matt Batzel, American Majority Action