Of all the governors in the Rust Belt, Scott Walker is the only one gearing up for a possible 2016 presidential bid. Walker could potentially put states, like Michigan, Pennsylvania, and his home state of Wisconsin in play, in the general. He has the respect of the establishment, the adoration of the conservative wing of the GOP, and has the foundation for potentially building one of the largest fundraising networks. After all, he ran in 2010 and won, but was forced into a recall effort in 2012 by the political left, only after which he was able to plan for his 2014 re-election bid. The Washington Post’s Dan Balz, who thinks Walker can be a force to be reckoned with when candidates start stumping, mentioned all of this and more in his piece:
Walker is a contradiction, a boring warrior. He will not win the charisma primary, but he has been hardened by his experiences in office. Whatever miscalculations he made that led to the explosion of protests in Madison four years ago, he now wears proudly his subsequent battles with the forces on the left.
His résumé as a second-term governor gives him establishment credentials. His confrontational reform agenda in Wisconsin and his wars with labor unions and the progressive left have made him a well-loved figure among many in the GOP’s tea party wing. His potential fundraising network, thanks to three campaigns in four years — and especially the 2012 recall election — is among the biggest in the GOP, if he can truly tap it.
His message is a work in progress, not yet as tight or crisp as he will want it to be. His RNC speech was less animated but almost twice as long as one that Perry delivered Friday afternoon. While well received, Walker’s speech did not produce the kind of applause Perry got.
Walker presents himself as an outsider to the nation’s capital and a fresh face in contrast to those with bigger names and longer time in the national spotlight (but who, like Romney and Bush, have been out of office for years). The outlines of his message include the assertion that Washington needs what Wisconsin has gotten under Walker — a reform conservative agenda.
Walker has focus and determination. His hope may be that he will be long underestimated — a candidate ready to surprise at the moments it counts most.
I think a lot of Republicans are waiting for Walker, despite what the polls say regarding Mr. Romney.