Yes, Virginia, There is a Scott Walker
What Virginia and Iowa can teach the governor.
Gov. Walker spent his early childhood in Plainfield, Iowa. Walker frequently cites his Iowa connection when he is there testing a presidential run. So Walker might want to pay attention to last Tuesday’s election results in Coralville, another Iowa small town. Americans for Prosperity, founded by the Koch brothers, decided to make Coralville a takeover target. The New York Times reported: “Americans for Prosperity….jumped into the race to elect Coralville’s next mayor and City Council with an aggressive campaign, mailing fliers, advertising in newspapers, calling voters and knocking on their doors.” The issues were development, taxes and outside control.
But the Koch brothers’ candidates were defeated in a rout. Coralville Mayor-elect John Lundell received a congratulatory call from Vice President Joe Biden. Lundell said that Biden “indicated that he was very proud of (Coralville) that we took on the Koch brothers and successfully beat them by such a huge margin.” Big oil couldn’t buy a small town. Moreover, local voters rejected the idea that Americans for Prosperity’s involvement in local issues results “in good policy outcomes, generally promoting economic freedom…” Memo to Gov. Walker: your less than stellar standing in the polls may indicate that Wisconsinites want an end to outsiders like the Koch brothers trying to run the state.
And, then there was Gov. Walker’s inept campaigning for Virginia Tea Party-GOP gubernatorial candidate Ken Cuccinelli. He lost. The Washington Post said: “The election of a Democrat (Terry McAuliffe) one year after Obama won Virginia…ends a streak of nine governor’s races, going back to 1977, in which Virginians elected the party opposite to the one that won the White House the year before. This also marks the first time since 1885 that any party has lost the governorship after just one term.”
Gov. Walker was also a loser in Virginia. Only a few hundred attended his rallies. Walker seemed stuck in a time warp. He talked of “big government union bosses”. Memo to Walker: only 4.4 percent (159,000) of employed Virginians are members of a union. Moreover, Virginia is a right-to-work state. “Big” labor was not an issue in the Virginia governor’s race. However, Medicaid expansion was. Cuccinelli was opposed, but Gov.-elect McAuliffe campaigned for Medicaid expansion. Note: victorious New Jersey GOP Gov. Chris Christie is implementing Medicaid expansion. But Walker was out of step again in his Virginia campaign criticism of Medicaid expansion.
Kaplan wrote a guest column from Washington, D.C. for the Wisconsin State Journal from 1995 – 2009.