The Romney camp has been uncertain as to whether to associate its man with, or distance him from, the sometimes controversial and divisive, Tea Party-infused, anti-establishment Republicanism of 2010. Walker’s victory—and his ability to increase his margin from 2010—might well have tipped the balance in the Romney camp toward running at the head of a phalanx of bold conservative reformers, who have after all been pretty successful at governing, rather than running away from them. Or, to put it differently: The Romney camp may conclude that Scott Walker, his message and his spirit, are not part of the problem but rather part of the solution to Romney’s electoral task (especially with working-class voters, including private-sector union members). After all, if Romney could hold 94 percent of Walker’s vote from last night in November, he’d win Wisconsin, and the presidency.
So I’d expect to see more of the spirit of Scott Walker—and of Chris Christie, Bobby Jindal, Susana Martinez, Bob McDonnell, Mitch Daniels, or, if you want to go back a bit, Tim Pawlenty and Jeb Bush—in Romney’s message over the next weeks. I’d expect to see Romney calling attention to successful Republican governance at the state level. I’d expect him to show up more with such figures in swing states.
And I’d expect one of them to be on the ticket.