Maybe the voters just wanted an adult. In a span of less than two years, Wisconsin voters have twice elected Scott Walker to the office of Governor.
When he first won in November 2010, many voters were still getting to know Mr. Walker. Despite having held office, and sought higher office, Walker was not well known outside his home county. In that election Walker bested Tom Barrett with 52.2 percent of the vote. Barrett took 46.6 percent.
About eighteen months later, and some $60 million in campaign spending by both sides, all of America knows Scott Walker. Living in the turmoil, Wisconsin knows him very well – he is the man who balanced the budgets, cut spending, reduced taxes, and improved Wisconsin’s dire debt situation.
Last night Walker again bested Tom Barrett, capping a vindictive recall effort, with about 53.5 percent of the vote.
That’s right. Walker did better the second time – despite national media cheerleading for the public employee unions aligned against him. Walker did this in a state that gave 56.3 percent of their vote to Barack Obama.
Choking on sour grapes, much of the punditry and all of MSNBC, are sputtering drivel in a vain attempt to blame someone – anyone – for their inability to oust Walker. But his victory does not result from the failure of the attackers, but rather the support of the average cheesehead.
Support for Scott Walker is based on two very simple things. Walker did what he said he would. He promised to fix the budgetary mess. He did, and it worked. Contrast this with the sweeping illusions painted by our President and his failure to deliver on any of them, especially his promise that unemployment would remain below 8 percent.
Second, Walker acted like an adult. He told people about the problem, and told them what to do to fix it. Discipline is never as fun as spending sprees, but Walker spoke and behaved like an adult. The voters responded positively. Naturally, this contrasts wildly with the temper tantrums of big spenders from Athens, Greece to Menomenee, Wisconsin.
People have long hoped that their leaders would just do the right thing, without dispensing political goodies, or blaming vague conspirators. In America’s dairyland they found such a man, and rewarded him with increased support.
Today, Wisconsin has lower unemployment than the nation, and an overwhelming majority of its residents say it is on the right track. There are a lot of lessons to be learned from Wisconsin, the main one is this, leaders need to act like adults, take responsibility, and fix problems. The voters will follow.