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November a step to 2016


Waukesha Freeman October 9, 2014 Page A5 Opinion

November a step to 2016

Walker campaigns in ‘The City of Presidents’

walker cuba city
Gov. Scott Walker was campaigning in Cuba City on Monday. Raising the Republican vote total in western Wisconsin is one of the possible paths to victory this November.

For those of you who have never made the drive, Cuba City is in the southwest corner of Wisconsin about 10 miles south of Platteville.

During our country’s Bicentennial celebration, the city hung red, white, and blue shields on the light posts lining Main Street, each shield honoring a different president. Every president since then has been added to the display, and Cuba City is now known as “The City of Presidents.”

All of the presidents are there, including the incumbent. Even James Buchanan is up there, a president so awful Congress did not want to pay the bill for his official portrait.

As Walker drove through the city and looked up at the presidential shields, did he wonder what his own shield might look like? Just for a moment?

It’s no secret that Walker might be a candidate in 2016. Walker’s policies bringing state and local spending under control would certainly have attracted attention even without all of the protests.

But the rage of the left in Madison, far from bringing the young governor’s policies to a halt, elevated Walker to a national figure. The recall election created a national donor base. Walker’s steadfastness created a national hero among conservatives.

If elected president, Walker would not be the first to get national attention for being a governor that could bring public employee unions under control.

Conservative icon Calvin Coolidge rose to national prominence when he served as governor of Massachusetts. Coolidge broke the strike by members of the Boston Police Department, declaring, “There is no right to strike against the public safety by anybody, anywhere, at any time.”

Coolidge served as Warren Harding’s vice president and became president after that tragic figure died. Coolidge easily won re-election in 1924, defeating the Democrat John Davis and Wisconsin Progressive Robert La Follette.

During his time in office, Coolidge reduced corporate and personal income taxes while reducing the national debt. Coolidge’s policies are certainly a model that Walker, intentionally or not, has followed in Wisconsin.

Will Walker follow Coolidge’s path into the White House?

Of course, there is an election campaign going on right now that Walker must win first.

The polls are trending in the right direction for Walker to win re-election as governor. In addition to leading in the head-to-head comparison with Mary Burke, a majority of likely voters believe the state is moving in the right direction. Among likely voters, a majority approve of the job Walker is doing as governor.

It’s a clichthat “the whole world is watching,” but this November’s election in Wisconsin will have the whole country watching. Will Walker survive everything that the unions can throw at him, and what will it mean for the rest of the country?

A victory by Walker will be more than a validation of his policies. It will be a statement that even in a blue-leaning state like Wisconsin that the voters will support elected leaders when they make hard choices to bring state spending under control.

The public employee unions are doing what they can to stop Walker from winning. AFSCME President Lee Saunders told the Washington Post, “We have a score to settle with Scott Walker.”

The public employee unions don’t want other governors, or the next president, to know they can be beaten. Other governors will want to emulate what we did in Wisconsin, and the country needs the next president to bring federal spending under control, too.

With all of this attention on Wisconsin, a win by Walker will make him a national leader and provide a successful contrast to President Barack Obama.

The city website tells us Cuba City got its name from the Yuba River in California. One of the city’s founders made his fortune there. But there was another Yuba in Wisconsin, so the city was renamed Cuba.

What fortune was made by Walker there on Monday, and what fortune did he dream of?

Cuba City is only a short drive to Dubuque, Iowa. Iowa is home to the first presidential contest in 2016, the Iowa Caucus.

So close but still so far away. The election in November comes first.

(James Wigderson is a blogger publishing at and a Waukesha resident. His column runs Thursdays in The Freeman.)

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