The title of Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker’s brand-new book tells all: “Unintimidated: A Governor’s Story and a Nation’s Challenge” is all about practical success and the inner mettle of an unapologetic Cheesehead determined to defeat his state’s $3.6 billion deficit, rising unemployment and escalating property taxes.
Mr. Walker did master those economic demons — Wisconsin now has a $342 million surplus. And he has a sense of heartland showbiz. Yes, that was the governor who personally took a fleet of gleaming “hogs” all the way to China to promote Harley-Davidson motorcycles. Mr. Walker, a he-man, donned black leather everything and aviator sunglasses, and rode on the Milwaukee-based company’s motorcycles before cheering crowds in Shanghai and Tianjian.
Under Mr. Walker’s watch, Wisconsin exported $1.5 billion worth of local products to China last year, from the beloved Harleys to home-grown ginseng, Oshkosh trucks and fancy, locally made bath fittings.
The governor’s political brand appears to be as shiny as those Harleys, in the meantime. News organizations have added him to the rarefied roster of potential presidential hopefuls, and by the time 2016 rumbles in, Mr. Walker could up his appeal with his problem-solving demeanor, and those handy numbers revealing that his methods work. He believes that the rescue of America starts in the states.
“Why are so many Republican governors and state legislators winning elections at a time when national Republicans are faring so poorly?” Mr. Walker asks in his book. “Republican leaders at the state level are offering big, bold, positive reforms that are relevant to the lives of our citizens.”
He pines for courageous leaders, effective and smaller government, balanced budgets, and empowered citizens.
“That America may seem distant today, but I assure you it is within reach. The path to this America does not begin in Washington, D.C. It starts in the states,” Mr. Walker concludes.
“If you like your health care plan you can keep it” is now a famous White House refrain which has been echoed by many Democrats. The Campaign for Working Families, a political action committee supporting pro-family, pro-life conservatives, has chronicled a spate of Senate heavyweights repeating the phrase — or words to that effect — in a terse but sobering video.
Among those showcased talking up the company line: Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid of Nevada, plus Sens. Mark Begich of Alaska, Kay R. Hagan of North Carolina, Jeanne Shaheen of New Hampshire, Richard J. Durbin of Illinois and Patty Murray of Washington.
And that’s a partial list in the Senate alone.
“Congressional Democrats seized an opportunity in 2009 and 2010 to implement a major expansion of big government in the name of health care,” Gary Bauer, chairman of the aforementioned group, tells Inside the Beltway. “Like lemmings, they followed President Obama over a cliff, even repeating his exact distortions they knew were false. The voting public isn’t amused.”
A SEBELIUS MOMENT
“Uh, oh. That’s OK. It’ll come back.”
— Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, upon witnessing the health care sign-up site crash during a visit to an “Obamacare Navigation Site” at a Miami hospital on Wednesday.