Walker: Republicans in Washington need a plan

Governor Scott Walker offered Republican leaders in Washington some free advice this morning on MSNBC’s Morning Joe. It’s not enough to talk tough and to obstruct — Republicans have to offer a real alternative to the administration’s agenda and a clear path to achieving it. But first, Walker invited the GOP to come to the states and learn a lesson about communications, too:


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Gov. Scott Walker (R-Wis.) on Monday said Republicans in Washington need to lay out specific alternatives to the Democratic agenda rather than just seeking to block it at every turn.

“As governors, as state leaders, we’re more optimistic than our friends in Washington,” Walker said on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe.” “We’re not just against something. We’re laying out a plan, laying out a vision. You don’t just sit back and nick the other guy — you have to lay out a plan.” …

Walker also criticized Washington Republicans for framing arguments in terms that he says are a turnoff to voters. The governor said lawmakers should look to the states where the GOP has the majority of governorships and state legislatures to learn how to speak to voters.

“We talk in terms that are more relevant,” he said. “Sequester, for most people, it just goes right over their head. Debt ceilings, fiscal cliffs — we talk about making our kids’ schools better; we talk about balancing our budgets so we can live within our means; we talk about helping our neighbor get a job again.”

As The Hill points out, Walker’s criticism echoes the more abrasive comment last week from Newt Gingrich that Republicans on Capitol Hill have “zero” alternatives to ObamaCare.  Some in the GOP balked at that comment, pointing to a number of proposals Republicans on Capitol Hill have floated over the last four years to the ACA.  Walker gets closer to the mark in noting that while Capitol Hill Republicans know this, they haven’t done a very good job in communicating either the specifics of the plans, or the principles of the party.


Walker also criticized the call for a budget showdown, saying that voters want responsible government that works:

Walker on Monday also criticized Republicans who are threatening a government shutdown in an attempt to defund the president’s healthcare law.

“I have real problems obviously with ObamaCare,” he said.

“But I think most Americans, even if they don’t like the size or growth of government, they still want something to work, something very fundamentally to work, and that’s a difference again between Washington and the state level,” he continued.

Walker’s advice might be worth a listen.  Glenn Reynolds links an RCP article on Republican down-ballot successes at the state and local levels, and says Republicans do connect with voters — but have a problem doing so at the national level.  That’s due in part to the media coverage, as Glenn suggests, but perhaps also because the GOP isn’t taking lessons from its state and local successes.

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John Sexton 7:00 PM on December 09, 2023