- The Washington Times - Wednesday, November 20, 2013

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.

OBAMACARE LEMMINGS

“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.

“How many people were able to sign up on the website in South Florida today?” asked Brian Andrews, a reporter for WFOR-TV, the local CBS affiliate who caught the moment on camera. “The secretary says the answer is two.”

DIRECTOR DAN ARRIVES

Eagle Scout, lifetime member of the National Rifle Association, former board member of Americans United for Life, chief-of-staff to former congressman Jim Ryun, member of the George W. Bush administration — hey, what’s not to like?

Those are among the attributes of one Dan Schneider, newly appointed executive director of the American Conservative Union.

“He has dedicated his career to supporting conservative ideals at the highest levels of government as well as leading grass-roots advocacy on the most important issues in our movement,” says Chairman Al Cardenas, who anticipates some mighty big doings coming up as the organization approaches its 50th anniversary.

“Whether through Conservative Political Action Conference, legislative ratings, or our political advocacy, the American Conservative Union will continue to be the gold standard for conservative thought and action for another 50 years,” an ebullient Mr. Schneider observes.

THE GOP WAR CHEST

Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus says the organization raised $7.1 million in October. The committee’s cash on hand totals $9.1 million. Despite five fat fundraisers last month, the Democratic National Committee “was outraised and continues to have $16 million in debt,” a Republican source tells the Beltway.

“As we raise the money, we’re investing the money. Winning in 2014, 2016, and beyond requires early investments,” the sage Mr. Priebus says.

THE THANKSGIVING REPORT

From the ongoing Beltway Bulletin on fast-approaching Thanksgiving — now about 168 hours away — an answer to hosts and parents who would like to declare the Thanksgiving dinner table a technology-free zone. You are not alone: 64 percent of American parents wish they could ban the use of cellphones, iPads, Kindles and everything else when the good eats arrive and the fellowship begins.

The source is “The Tech Timeout” survey of 1,507 U.S. adults, courtesy of Harris Polls. So Junior, turn it off. Now. And you too, Uncle Bubba.

LABOR GETS LITERARY

Rather than remain a cold bureaucracy behind a marble edifice, federal agencies appear anxious to get cozy and cuddly with the public. Sort of. Case in point: the U.S. Department of Labor — which is 100 years old this year — is asking the citizenry to suggest titles of “books that shaped work in America” as kind of a national group project.

“Think of this effort as an online book club where people from all walks of life can share books that informed them about occupations and careers, molded their views about work and helped elevate the discourse about work, workers and workplaces,” declares Labor Secretary Thomas E. Perez.

He recommends “To Kill a Mockingbird” by Harper Lee and Richard Scarry’s “Busy, Busy Town” among other titles. The agency has recruited notables to offer input as well. George Shultz, a former labor secretary himself, favors “Life on the Mississippi” by Mark Twain. Author Daniel Pink prefers “Working” by Studs Terkel and “The Narrative Life of Frederick Douglass,” written by the former slave and abolitionist himself.

It is an interesting exercise; other titles appearing on the ever-expanding roster include “Death of a Salesman” by Arthur Miller; “The Book of Virtues” by William Bennett and the Federalist Papers, the 1788 classic authored by Alexander Hamilton, John Jay and James Madison.

Indeed, that trio knew how to work. Find the outreach at dol.com/books

POLL DU JOUR

62 percent of Americans think there was “an official cover-up” regarding the truth about the 1963 assassination of John F. Kennedy; 62 percent of Republicans, 65 percent of conservatives, 58 percent of Democrats and 58 percent of liberals agree.

62 percent of Americans think that the assassination of Kennedy was part of a “broader plot”; 61 percent of Republicans, 64 percent of conservatives, 63 percent of Democrats and 61 percent of liberals agree.

29 percent overall say the assassination “was the work of one man”; 34 percent of Republicans, 29 percent of conservatives, 28 percent of Democrats and 32 percent of liberals agree.

Source: A Washington Post/ABC News poll of 1,008 U.S. adults conducted Nov. 14 to 17.

He-man plans, girly talk to jharper@washingtontimes.com.

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