I don’t think Mitt Romney’s choice to be his Vice-President will make a significant difference in the outcome of the Presidential election. As I’ve argued since April, this November we’re going to see a conservative landslide. Mitt Romney will be elected President, Republicans will take the Senate and keep control of the House of Representatives.
Governor Romney isn’t asking for my advice on who he should pick. He may select a boring candidate that makes conservative grassroots activists grimace in frustration. Alternatively, he may pick an energizing candidate more aligned with the Tea Party’s core values of constitutionally limited government, fiscal responsibility, and free markets. Governor Romney will make that decision on his own, with input from a very tight knit inner circle. I’m not in that inner circle, nor is anyone else in the Tea Party movement.
Whether he picks a boring candidate tied to the Bush Administration, like Senator Rob Portman of Ohio, a less boring candidate with a wonderful biography also tied to the Bush Administration, like Condi Rice, or a boring candidate not tied to the Bush Administration, like former Governor Tim Pawlenty of Minnesota, local Tea Party groups and activists around the country will still work hard to get-out-the-vote for Romney. The stakes are just too high. In every state, grassroots activists will work to win the top of the ticket and every spot down the ballot.
There will be more energy in our camp if he picks a running mate who is more closely aligned with our values, like a Senator Marco Rubio from Florida, or Congressman Paul Ryan from Wisconsin.
My own view is the candidate who will give him the biggest energy boost among the grassroots activists is the same candidate who will be able to appeal to middle class Democrats and Independents. This is the guy who has not only talked the talk, he’s walked the walk. I’m speaking of Governor Scott Walker of Wisconsin.
Walker has something no other potential Vice Presidential candidate has: a stunning 2012 political victory that rewarded his courage and steadfast commitment to critical fiscal reforms. As chief executive officer of the state of Wisconsin, the buck stopped at his desk, and he was up to the task. He has been steeled by the test of fire, and his proven reliability and common sense approach won over many middle class union members. Those of us who are limited government enthusiasts are already on his side.
Walker has proven he can do what is absolutely necessary in the 2012 November election: make the case for fiscal reform and vigorously oppose the motley cast of re-distributionists, crony capitalists, union thugs, and Occupy Wall Street left wing free market opponents who have collectively created the fiscal catastrophe our nation now finds itself in.
Walker will be an especially effective advocate for those reforms in debates and on the campaign trail because his policies have already been vindicated. Wisconsin’s budget, once spiralling out of control, is now virtually balanced. And the economy there has picked up very nicely, a marked contrast to blue state disasters like California, New York, and Maryland.
The most compelling reason Tea Party activists will be heartened by the selection of Governor Walker as Governor Romney’s running mate, however, is not how much he can do to help Romney win. We like what Walker will help Governor Romney do after he wins. He will continually steer President Romney to align more closely with the Tea Party’s core values of fiscal responsibility, free markets, and constitutionally limited government.
What are Walker’s weaknesses?
He promised the voters of Wisconsin in June he would finish the job of reform in that state. While that’s true, his very capable Lt. Governor Rebecca Kleefisch also won her recall election, and she’s got the skills to finish the job.
The left has tried to pin him with some financial scandals that took place on his watch as Milwaukee County Executive, but those claims appear to be more wishful thinking by partisan politicos than anything that has teeth.
His final potential weakness–that he doesn’t have a college degree–may actually be more strength than weakness. It may bother some Democrats who like their political leaders to have Ivy League pedigrees, but for most of us–even those of us with those same Ivy League pedigrees–what matters more these days than “credentialism” is effective leadership that can get the job done. In my book, Walker’s record of executive leadership will make the professional record of lifetime legislator, sometimes plagiarist, and always hot air purveyor Joe Biden look irrelevant to the task at hand by comparison.
Michael Patrick Leahy is a Breitbart News contributor, Editor of Broadside Books’ Voices of the Tea Party e-book series, and author of Covenant of Liberty: The Ideological Origins of the Tea Party Movement.