For being tucked away quietly in the Midwest, Wisconsin has been enjoying the warmth of the limelight these recent years.
The most recent fame started with the 2010 election that elevated Ron Johnson to the Senate and Scott Walker to the governor’s mansion. Weeks later, the Packers would win the Super Bowl, and later that fall, the Brewers would almost make it to the World Series.
Meanwhile, Act 10 was rankling the union faithful, Republicans were dodging recalls – some to more success than others.
Paul Ryan was chosen for the Number 2 slot on a national ticket. Johnson made then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton have a conniption fit during a Senate hearing over what difference, after all, the deaths in Benghazi made. And then Walker fought for victory again, and he now stands center stage, primed for the chance to win the GOP nomination.
But he needs the Wisconsin conservative grassroots to do so.
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There are grumblings of discontent, for a variety of reasons. Some aren’t happy with how the Walker political arm got along with the boots-on-the-ground loyalists, the ones who are actually knocking on doors, making phone calls, and getting out the vote. Others don’t want him to leave Wisconsin high and dry, sacrificing good policy for presidential politics.
Sorry kids, that’s just too bad.
The first set of grumblers – the devoted grassrooters – needs a crash course in professional politics. It’s an ugly game played by people who play to win, your feelings be damned.
The second set is more realistic, but fail to countenance that we have an excellent Lieutenant Governor waiting in the wings and that as president, Walker would have the power to influence political issues on a national scale that would also yield dividends to Wisconsin. It’s not as if the lights go out in Rhinelander and Middleton and Saint Cloud the second the Walkers would move into 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.
On the national stage, it’s time to play ball. Democrats taught us in 2008 and again in 2012 how rabidly and emotionally they can get behind a single candidate. If the same grassroots that beat Jim Doyle and Tom Barrett and Mary Burke don’t show up, Democrats win by default.
The next few months will put all the big names on an even bigger stage to duke it out for GOP nomination. Walker might end up falling flat, unable to hold his own in a debate, appear unsteady on foreign policy, succumb to some as-yet unearthed scandal, though I don’t think he will. Let him prove himself first. Get over the small-minded, small-ball reservations that keeping him in Wisconsin is the only way to enjoy four years of a conservative reform agenda at home.
This is Wisconsin’s time to shine, not just for pride’s sake, but to amplify even further the successes of responsible government spending, common-sense reforms, curbed union influence, and across-the-board accountability. What’s happened in Wisconsin is a model to be emulated in other states and nationally.
It’s time to help Walker win.