Why Scott Walker for veep is a very bad idea

Matt K. Lewis Senior Contributor
Font Size:

Scott Walker seems to be doing a fine job as governor, and could some day make an excellent candidate for national office.

But this piece in the Washington Post by Marc Thiessen is off the mark:

Putting Walker on the GOP ticket would make Romney instantly competitive in Wisconsin. And it would force President Obama to spend time and resources defending a state he expected to be an easy win in November. Even if Obama succeeded in narrowly holding Wisconsin, the fight for the Badger State would divert precious resources from other battleground states. And if the Republican ticket did pull an upset in Wisconsin, Obama’s chances for a second term would be slim to none.

Look, I get it. Columnists and bloggers — myself included — have to produce content even during slow times. This leads to a lot of speculation. Just last week, for example, Thiessen’s colleague Michael Gerson (another Bush speechwriter, turned Washington Post columnist) argued that Chris Christie should be veep. We’re going to see a lot of names floated for VP over the next few months. Some of this will be the result of the Romney campaign floating some trial balloons — but most will simply be columnists needing to write something before deadline. This is natural.

Thiessen’s a smart columnist, but he’s wrong on this one.

Wisconsin citizens — who pride themselves on their Mid-Western civility — have been subjected to bitter election after bitter election since 2010. Voter fatigue is a very real thing, and voters seem willing to punish those who are causing them to be embroiled in these divisive elections. (Sure, Wisconsin citizens will vote in the general election anyway, but having Walker on the ticket would once again thrust them into the story, and make the race even more divisive.)

Walker has intentionally called this a “senseless recall” — language explicitly meant to remind voters that this ordeal was thrust on them by Walker’s partisan opponents. But putting Walker on the national ticket would guarantee that the recall was, in fact, senseless — senseless because the man who just expended all this effort to remain governor turned around and abandoned the state to run for national office.

Walker wouldn’t be the first governor to become an absentee while serving as the running mate, of course, but the timing would be horrible.

He would immediately be cast as the villain — the man who wasted their time defending his seat — and the man who has ensured the controversy will remain for another five months.

And then again, this is all presuming Walker survives the recall. Let’s not count the chickens before they hatch.

Matt K. Lewis