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Rally showed Walker ready to lead


Publication:Waukesha Freeman (Conley); Date:Oct 28, 2010; Section:Opinion; Page Number:10A    

Rally showed Walker ready to lead

Governor Walker would change state paradigm

Tuesday night, 300 people flocked to the Waukesha Expo Center to see Milwaukee County Executive Scott Walker, the Republican candidate for Wisconsin governor, and former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich. Gingrich was the main bill of the evening. Before the event began, I found myself backstage waiting in line for a photograph with Gingrich.

Someday I’ll write a column on how to get into Republican events without any credentials.

My wife, the lovely Doreen from Waukesha, asked me later about the conversation I had with Gingrich. Here is the entire conversation as best as I can remember it:

Gingrich: “Next?”

Somebody in line: “You can go next.”

Gingrich (to me): “How are you doing?”

Me: “I guess I’m next.”

Gingrich: “Thanks for coming.”

Me: “Thank you.”

But while Gingrich was the main act of the evening’s entertainment, the enthusiastic crowd was there to see Walker. They were not disappointed. I have watched Walker in politics a long time, longer than either of us care to remember. From his days as a College Republican to his current position, Walker has steadily moved up the political ladder.

    Four years ago, he waited his turn as another Republican, former Congressman Mark Green, took the Republican nomination for governor. After a testy primary battle with former Congressman Mark Neumann, it’s now Walker’s turn. I have never seen Walker in better form than he was Tuesday.

    Walker’s speech brought the crowd to its feet when he talked about killing the high-speed train and letting Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen sue the federal government to stop the federal health care mandates.

    What really made the Walker speech great was when Walker talked about “believing in Wisconsin again.” During this part of the speech, Walker reminded me of former Gov. Tommy Thompson in his prime talking about what a great day it was to be from Wisconsin. When Walker mentioned that Wisconsin has more lakes than Minnesota, I thought he was going to finish it with the Thompson line, “… and ours have fish in them!”

    When you read liberal blogs and websites in this state, it’s almost shocking to see how much they really have become unhinged in criticizing Walker. Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett’s campaign, too, has certainly ruined his reputation as a clean campaigner to the point where he may have a tough time defending his current job.

    What is it about Walker that brings out such a reaction from the political left?

    A win by Walker in Tuesday’s election would be a paradigm changer. Instead of big-spending Republicans and bigger-spending Democrats, Walker represents the moral imperative that we must bring the size of government under control and re-prioritize what we expect from government.

    As Walker demonstrated in Milwaukee County, the relationship can change between the government and the citizens. We do not work for the government; it needs to live on what we say it can spend. We can’t afford the government constantly asking for more, more, more.

    We saw it again Tuesday night in Walker’s speech. Underneath all of Walker’s criticisms of the state’s economy and the current governor, Walker still manages to convey optimism about what Wisconsin can be if given a chance.

    To Walker, a chance for Wisconsin’s greatness means getting government out of the way. Less government regulation, less taxes, and less government spending equals more freedom, more opportunity and more economic growth.

    Perhaps Wisconsin wasn’t ready for such a paradigm shift before now. For much of Wisconsin’s political history, the belief was that we could expect Wisconsin government to do more for us. It was just a matter of finding the right people to run the government.

    The political left called it “progressive.” History calls it hubris with a human cost. We are finally beginning to understand the lessons of history and turn our backs on statism.

    The polls indicate a Walker win this coming Tuesday. In Walker’s words, “It’s time to believe in Wisconsin again.” The crowd at the Expo Center was ready to believe, too.

    Wisconsin is ready for Scott Walker to be governor. From what I was saw Tuesday night, Scott Walker is ready to lead.

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

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