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Walker makes case against Doyle third term

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Waukesha Freeman Page A6 Opinion August 14, 2014

Walker makes case against Doyle third term

Burke’s experience is also her weakness

Gov. Scott Walker and company were in Waukesha on Tuesday night. They were not here to partake in any of the state Assembly victory parties but to launch the fall campaign in earnest.

Walker hit on the two themes that will probably be central to his campaign.

The first theme is the progress the state has made under his leadership. Employment is up (although not as much as he hoped). Small-business starts are up. Taxes are down (although not yet to pre-Doyle levels). Wisconsin is moving “Forward” as the state motto implores us.

On the other hand, his opponent is not just the inexperienced Mary Burke. She represents four more years of former Gov. Jim Doyle. She would be his “third term,” complete with higher taxes, higher unemployment, and endless state budget deficits.

Walker is not only running for re-election, he’s running against the state’s bad memories of Doyle.

Burke has only one weapon in her political arsenal, and that’s Walker’s failure to hit a magic jobs number. But when we compare the progress under Walker with the failure of the Doyle administration, Walker wins the comparison easily.

The Democrats are going to try throwing everything at Walker, just as they did during the recall two years ago. The war on women will be refought. The John Doe investigation will be everywhere. Anything they can do to distract from the contrast between the Doyle era and the Walker era.

But two years ago, and four years ago, the Democrats had an experienced politician with no ties to the Doyle administration. They still lost.

I’m not saying Walker’s path to re-election will be easy. As we saw in the Milwaukee County sheriff’s race, national money can easily pour into Wisconsin in support of a political agenda.

The unions will never forgive, nor will they forget, the passage of Act 10. While it played a crucial role in bringing Wisconsin’s fiscal house in order, repealing Act 10 remains a priority of the national unions. You will not hear the Democrats talk about it this fall, but to many of them the election is solely about Act 10.

Republicans will need to remind voters what’s at stake. Do they want more tax cuts in the future, or do they want the current ones repealed? Will the voters continue to support Act 10, which has saved local governments over $3 billion, or will we return to out-of-control deficit spending?

If that’s the choice in the minds of the voters in November, then the chants of Tuesday night’s crowd at the Waukesha Republican offices will be heard on Election Day. Walker will get his “four more years.”

*** It was a rare opportunity for me to see my old friend Tuesday night. Like many people, I can claim to know the governor from “way back when.” In my case, we were both College Republicans. He was at Marquette and I was at UW-Milwaukee.

In the small world of politics, Assembly Speaker Robin Vos was a College Republican, too, from UW-Whitewater.

My wife, the lovely Doreen from Waukesha, asked me if I ever thought back then that Walker would be governor.

No, I didn’t, but I knew that Walker was special back then and that he would rise in Republican ranks. I also remember his first successful race for state Assembly in Wauwatosa, and thought then that we were electing someone special to the Legislature.

Too many years later and I look so much older while Walker’s hair is just a bit thinner. As much as I still see the young man I knew, that something special we all saw so many years ago has grown.

Walker has been tested by the worst the left can throw at him: mass protests, death threats to him and his family, a recall effort. Yet he still has the same optimism, the same energy, the same passion for the campaign.

It’s no wonder Walker has attracted national attention for something even bigger than governor. Maybe, just maybe, I’ll be one of the people who will be able to say, “I can remember the president from way back when.”

me and the guv

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