Many of our friends in the conservative media have picked-up on Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker’s comment over the weekend that he wants to see more "fire in the belly" from Mitt Romney.
Of course we agree that more enthusiasm from the candidate and his campaign would give Gov. Romney a boost — but we think most of our friends missed the most important thing Scott Walker said in that interview.
“I’ve said all along to Mitt Romney — if he wants to win Wisconsin he’s going to show people that the ‘R’ next to his name doesn’t just stand for Republican. It stands for reformer,” Walker told Newsmax.
This is advice that Romney must take to get his campaign back on track.
The tea party wave that swept the Republicans back into the majority in the House and elected huge numbers of Republicans from Congress to City Hall was all about reform.
While many see the rise of the tea party as a reaction against President Obama, and the culture of bailouts and dependency he has created, tea party outrage is hardly limited to Obama’s policies alone.
The rise of the tea party was as much as anything an outcry against the leadership of the Republican Party, especially on Capitol Hill, for failing to deliver on their promises to reform Washington’s culture of spending, deficits, and debt.
It was also against the tendency of big-government establishment Republicans to join Democrats in trampling the constitutional limits on the size and scope of the federal government.
As a governor not tied to the Washington Republican failures that led to the defeats in the 2006 and 2008 elections, Romney should have no difficulty campaigning on reform, as he did in the lead-up to the Republican primary elections.
Over a year ago, as the 2011 debt ceiling fight was looming and the primary season was just beginning, Romney came out strongly for the tea party-backed "Cut, Cap, and Balance" legislation. He said, according to Politico, “For me that's the line in the sand. Come on Mr. President, you can by yourself cut spending, agree to cut spending, cap the spending, and put in place a balanced budget amendment. And that for me is the course.”
Gov. Romney even signed the Cut, Cap and Balance Pledge, which says in part, that he would oppose any debt limit increase unless certain conditions were met. Those conditions included making substantial cuts in spending that will reduce the deficit next year and thereafter, enacting enforceable spending caps that will put federal spending on a path to a balanced budget, and then actually working for passage of a Balanced Budget Amendment to the U.S. Constitution (that includes both a spending limitation and a super-majority for raising taxes, in addition to balancing revenues and expenses).
The reforms contemplated by the Cut, Cap and Balance Plan are not something new or out of the mainstream — unless you are a big government Capitol Hill establishment Republican or an inside-the-Beltway political consultant intent on running a content-free campaign.
A year ago Mitt Romney said he was a reformer who would draw “a line in the sand” on spending, deficits, and debt. Since then we’ve hardly heard a word from him about these and the rest of the reforms that sparked the tea party rebellion and created the enthusiasm that drove turnout for the 2010 tea party wave election.
Were Gov. Romney to campaign on these reform elements of the tea party agenda, it would go a long way toward solving the problem Scott Walker identified and help close Mitt’s perceived “enthusiasm gap” with President Obama.
Richard A. Viguerie pioneered the use of direct mail in politics. He made it possible for candidates and causes to raise money from millions of small contributors rather than from a few “fat cats.” Read more reports from Richard Viguerie — Click Here Now.
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