This morning John Dickerson (Are You a Scott Walker Conservative?) wrote his analysis about the Republican race so far. His take? The Republican race comes down to governors, and the governors down to Scott Walker. Here’s his reasoning:
1. Senators are nothing but talk.
The senators have spoken. The problem is that’s what senators are mostly known for doing: talking. They may make good presidential candidates, but in 2016 the political bias is going to be for chief executives. Republican voters tend to be fond of governors; they see the job as good training for the White House. You sharpen a set of skills that more closely track with the ones you’ll need in the Oval Office.
2. Senators can’t shake the stench of Washington.
With the voters so sick of Washington politicians, the political incentive is to stay away from senators because—no matter how much they behave like insurgents—they still have the smell of Washington on them.
3. Senators lack executive experience (and look at what they said about Obama.)
Finally, Republicans have been vocal for a long time that President Obama’s failures flow from his lack of executive experience. Given this, it is hard to imagine that enough voters would want to replace him with another one-term senator who has built his reputation on nothing more than the quality of his speeches. (Unsurprisingly, Walker thinks the GOP is going to nominate a governorin 2016, too).
If memory serves, the initial critique of Obama’s lack of executive experience was in reaction to the Democratic attack on Sarah Palin’s resume. Our core criticism was that he had no real life experience of any kind. And that he was a radical.
Truth is, the problems of Obama’s incompetence (let’s leave out ideology) have nothing to do with his lack of CEO experience. Heck, I don’t have any CEO experience either and I would’ve been much more successful than this president.
In 2016 the political bias may be for a governor, but the need is for someone who will restore the constitutional system. Checks and balances, federalism, federal deference to states. Civil liberties.
The need is NOT to treat the federal government as a state writ large with the president as Grand Poobah and governors as its county executives. That’s why my preference is for a Senator with a huge background in Supreme Court-level, constitutional litigation.
Like Cruz. Whom Dickerson slights—in favor of Walker:
Cruz talks about taking stands on principle, but he lost his fight. Walker took a stand, was targeted by the full force of the Democratic machine, and stayed alive. He won a recall election with a larger margin than his original victory. He raised $30 million for that race, so he knows how to tap wealthy donors. Social conservatives also consider him one of their own for his pro-life views and his pedigree: His father was a Baptist minister.
Sure, Cruz lost the vote, but I don’t think he lost the fight by a long shot. The shutdown fight has proved to be a springboard to building his own team in the Senate. And I think he would be incredible as president.
Of course I want government to shrink. Radically. And I can picture Cruz doing that. Can Walker? Will Walker?
We need a president who’ll take a chain saw to government, not tinker around the edges trying to make government, somehow, more efficient.
I know that Dickerson’s column is a political analysis, not an endorsement. Still…
Can anybody promise me that Scott Walker won’t get to Washington and act like the governor of a single state called America?
I like the guy. And I like him more the more I see of him. But I need some real assurances here.
However, he is number two on my list at this point.