The Walker Who Unites

Walker delivers everything Christie does it terms of appealing to the center — but without the ideological compromise. And he delivers everything Ted Cruz does in terms of taking the fight to the left — but without the losing.

Marc Thiessen, WaPo

Mr. Thiessen makes the case in a Washington Post column Monday that Mr. Walker’s chances in a potential 2016 bid are better than many think because of his broad appeal to Republicans and reform-minded independents.

Few political writers know Gov. Scott Walker better than Marc Thiessen, the man who co-wrote Walker’s new tome “Unintimidated” (Oh hell, who are we kidding? He wrote it.) Mr. Thiessen’s case breaks down into two parts:

1. The conservative grassroots, especially the populists and hard conservatives of the Tea Party, are in search of a genuinely conservative leader hellbent on an uncompromising slate of right-wing policies and reforms. On the other hand are more pragmatic conservatives who know that the GOP needs to win independent voters in order to win a national election.

More polarizing figures – like Ted Cruz, who appeals to the right-wing-nirvana-or-bust Tea Party faction; and Chris Christie, who appeals to those to whom appealing to moderates is appealing – each take their own share of the Republican primary electorate. But Mr. Walker appeals to both groups.

Similarly, he appeals to 2012 voters who identified as pro-Romney as well as “anybody-but-Romney.” In short, he has the potential to be a unifying force within the Republican Party where his competitors simply divide, a formula stinking of general-election-loss.

2. Mr. Walker “also has a proven ability to win the votes of moderates and reform-minded independents,” in a general election, Mr. Thiessen continues.

So once the erstwhile Wisconsin governor cleans up in a Republican primary, the field of battle-scarred presidential aspirants and their supporters united behind him, not unwillingly, he’s got what it takes to win a majority in a general election.

Temperament is big in Mr. Thiessen’s world, and Mr. Walker has one of a stable leader and the steady-as-we-go reform approach that middle America seeks. The average American isn’t a moron and knows that the country is on the wrong track (70% at last check), but they don’t want a lot of pain and suffering as we right the ship, and they have no patience for extremist rhetoric. No mo’ revolutions, please.

But the average voter does want to right the ship, a task that seems to be underway in Wisconsin. They’ll eye Scott Walker as a steady leader who seems to have a solid record of doing what should be done in D.C. And like they’ve done in Wisconsin, they’ll vote for him – even some Obama voters.

A blizzard of leftist attacks will paint him as a warrior against women, Hispanics, gays, puppies, and the elderly, and a Democratic coalition of feminists, environmentalists, Obama-era PACs, big unions, and a flying red carpet full of Hollywood celebrities will congeal in opposition to the ignorant beer-drinking barbarian from Whes-cahnsen.

Big money will flow unto each side and the battle will be joined. Maybe even this will happen again – if the GOP is lucky and the national lefties are horrifyingly stupid and heartless enough. But in the end, Mr. Thiessen believes Scott Walker may have what it takes to unite a very divided America behind a platform of sought-after leadership and reform.

This time, maybe Alec Baldwin will actually leave the country.

Until then, Mr. Walker has a re-election to worry about.

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About the writer: Chris Rochester has worked in communications and finance for a state Senate and congressional campaign, consulted on numerous Assembly and local races, and has held leadership roles in his local Republican Party. He's communications director for the MacIver Institute. Commentary here is strictly his own.