Stephen Hayes at Weekly Standard writes about the bold, principled conservative we’ve all been waiting for – but who’s gotta defend his seat in Wisconsin first.
It’s a great article about Scott Walker - and it ably lays out both Walker’s outsized accomplishments (especially against Wisconsin’s Democrat machine, which is better than Minnesota’s only because it’s out of power):
Walker came to office in the Republican wave of 2010. He inherited a mess. Under his profligate predecessor, Jim Doyle, state government had operated almost as a slush fund for public employee unions. Giveaways to teachers and others put the state on an unsustainable fiscal path, so Doyle raised some taxes and threatened to raise others. He raided a state fund set up to cover medical liability, essentially stealing contributions doctors had made to the pooled account. The Wisconsin Supreme Court ruled against that pilfering, but the money had already been spent. Even after budget gimmickry that would make Fannie and Freddie blush, the official deficit was $3.6 billion.
Just over a year later, Walker and the Republicans in the state legislature have nearly eliminated the deficit. For the two-year budget cycle, the state will show a $143 million shortfall because the stagnant economy has resulted in lower tax receipts than had been projected. But the shortfall is for the first half of the cycle; Wisconsin will run a surplus in the current fiscal year. And Walker said last week that he will eliminate the remaining shortfall without raising taxes. It’s a credible claim. He reduced the deficit without raising taxes. In fact, one of his first moves upon being sworn in was to cut taxes on businesses. His subsequent reforms have allowed property tax receipts to go down for the first time in years—by some $47 million.
He also writes about the outsized consequences if Walker loses:
For conservatives, the fight is about much more than one man in one state. A Walker defeat would send a message that political courage does not pay and political thuggery does. Walker doesn’t like to talk about the effect the past year has had on him and his family, but it hasn’t been pleasant. He has been subjected to numerous death threats. His wife, Tonette, has been verbally assaulted more times than she can count. His two teenaged boys have been targeted on Facebook. His modest home in Wauwatosa has been the site of several union protests. Last month, a protester outside Walker’s State of the State speech told State Senator John Kleefisch that his wife, Lieutenant Governor Rebecca Kleefisch, is a “f—ing whore.”
I think it’s time to start a “Minnesotans for Walker” group. The unions are going to go all-in on this election – because if they lose, it’ll be katie-bar-the-door.
If it weren’t for that Presidential election thingie, this would be the most important election of this year.