Why Scott Walker thinks governors make better presidents

Alex Pappas Political Reporter
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Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker won’t say whether he is contemplating his own run for president in 2016 but is arguing the GOP must nominate a governor and not a senator or congressman.

The Republican said in an interview with The Daily Caller on Tuesday that lawmakers simply don’t have the sort of experience that governors can boast.

Asked to describe how he views the role of being governor — compared to being a senator — Walker responded: “Makes decisions. Gets things done. Held accountable. The buck stops with you.”

“They can’t hide behind their vote,” Walker said of governors. “They can’t just talk about things. We’re ultimately held accountable every single day. We have to present budgets. Many of us — like myself — not only have vetoes but line-item vetoes. We put together cabinets. Those are all important things when it comes to leadership.”

Walker likened this to a company hiring a CEO. “If you have a business, you hire someone to lead your business who hopefully has successfully led a smaller business — and it showed they could handle that,” Walker said. “That’s the difference.”

Won’t confirm interest in a 2016 run

Walker’s call for Republicans to nominate a governor for president might seem like self-serving statement from a potential presidential aspirant. But the governor says Republicans should be focused on the elections in 2014, when he is up for re-election in Wisconsin, and not the 2016 race yet.

Asked what it would take for him to run in 2016, Walker responded: “I honestly believe that Republicans — any of us talking about anything other than ’14 — are doing a big disservice to the country, not just to our party,” he told TheDC.

The Republican governor is promoting his new book “Unintimidated: A Governor’s Story and a Nation’s Challenge.” While releasing a book is a time-honored tradition for presidential hopefuls, Walker denies that’s why he wrote it.

“Unlike a lot of times when elected officials write books, there isn’t some alternative purpose,” he said. “It’s pretty straightforward.”

Walker said he wrote the book because so many people had asked him about the story of his battles with unions over collective bargaining and organized labor’s subsequent failed attempt to oust him from office during a recall in 2012.

Asked on Tuesday about the most difficult part of that experience, Walker recalled a series of death threats against his family.

“The death threats were real,” he said. “I talk about in the book, one of the most vivid ones that was directed at my wife, where they talked to her about me being assassinated or maybe doing something to one of our sons.”

Diagnosing Romney’s loss

In his book, Walker devotes pages to why he thinks 2012 Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney lost to President Obama. On Tuesday, the governor explained that Romney failed to “show that the “R” next to his name doesn’t just stand for Republican but stands for reformer.”

“I write almost a whole chapter about this in the book. That the frustrating thing for me and a lot of other folks, particularly a lot of other governors, was for whatever reason, his campaign gave him bad advice. They tried to make the campaign all about the failures of the federal government, all about Barack Obama, a referendum on the president,” Walker said.

That singular focus was a mistake, he said. “They never gave people an optimistic vision of what reform would be like under a President Romney.”

Walker said that because of this, President Obama’s campaign successfully defined Romney as a “rich guy who only cares about rich guys.”

“That’s unfortunate because that’s not who he is and that’s not what kind of president he would be,” Walker said. “But when there was a vacuum, when there was a void there, that’s exactly what happened. My point in the book was you got to give people a reason to be for you.”

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