Blakeman: Wisconsin Is ‘Lesson in Leadership and Loyalty’ for Obama

Wednesday, 06 Jun 2012 03:23 AM

By Paul Scicchitano and Jake Miller

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GOP political strategist Bradley Blakeman tells Newsmax that Tuesday’s resounding victory for Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker represents a “lesson in leadership and loyalty” for President Obama.

“The president failed miserably in both those tests,” Blakeman charged in an exclusive interview following Tuesday’s recall election between Walker and Democratic Mayor Tom Barrett of Milwaukee.

Gov. Walker flashes a smile after Tuesday's victory.
(AP Photo)
Walker became only the third governor in U.S. history to face a recall vote — and the first to emerge victorious.

The effort to remove him from office began last year after the state divided over the governor's push to effectively end collective bargaining for most public workers in an attempt to control the state budget.

Blakeman, a professor of public policy, politics and international affairs at Georgetown University who appears regularly on Fox News, said that Obama was “disloyal to a fellow Democrat” by choosing not to openly campaign for Barrett, opting instead to tweet his support on the eve of the election.

“In leadership, he failed because he failed to do for the American people what Walker has done for the people of Wisconsin — and that’s tough love,” Blakeman explained, noting that Walker earned the respect of voters.

“He understands that in order to get the budget back in balance and to have a state that can survive that he has to make tough decisions — and at the end of the day he showed great leadership, and he wasn’t worried about his own job,” said Blakeman, who was a senior member in the last Bush administration. “He was worried about delivering for the people. At the end of the day, those tough decisions paid off because the people stood with him.”

Blakeman also believes that the election was a referendum on public contracts. “Public contracts in many instances for union members are way out of whack with the private sector. It’s the tail wagging the dog,” he insisted. “You can’t have public employees making more than the very people who pay their salary. These contracts have been overly generous; they haven’t been able to be maintained in good times and bad times. And, in bad times, everybody has to cut back, including public employees.”

While Walker enjoyed a significant advantage in his ability to draw funding from outside the state, his Democratic challenger benefitted from manpower, according to Blakeman.

“The Democrats had tremendous ability to bus union people in and have boots on the ground, something that if you had to pay for would have an enormous price tag,” he said. “The unions basically just tell people to show up, give them assignments, and they do the work.”

He added that the Obama re-election campaign has reason to be concerned by Tuesday’s outcome in the Badger State.

“The president did not lift a finger to help his party. And the president did not take any risk for himself,” said Blakeman. “Remember the promise he made to the unions? ‘I will stand shoulder to shoulder with you.’ And he didn’t. And if the Unions continue to support this president based on the support he gave them, then, they’ve been duped.”

Blakeman also believes that Walker is now a Republican “all-star” based on the national spotlight that has been focused on the recall election.

“He is the first governor who ever survived. And it wasn’t as if it was a two-month challenge. He’s had this hanging over his head for a year. And he didn’t waver at all,” said Blakeman. “I can see him speaking at the (Republican) convention and showing what’s possible with a little bit of leadership and principled determination.”

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