Walker agrees with those who believe the results last week make Wisconsin a potential Republican pickup in November. But in order to win the state, Mitt Romney will have to campaign in a way that’s consistent with what Wisconsin voters approved with their retention of Walker. He wants Romney to run as a reformer, to campaign on bold policy proposals, and to resist the temptation to run safe. “It’s not enough to just be the other guy,” says Walker. “He has to offer a plan, he has to show a willingness to take on the big challenges facing the country. I think he can win here if he does that.”

Walker says he hopes Romney will propose deeper tax cuts than he has laid out thus far. “I’d like to see him slash marginal tax rates so that we could see the kind of growth that we saw under Ronald Reagan after the recession in 1981 and 1982,” Walker says.

Walker rejects the advice Romney is getting from many Republican strategists to make the election a simple referendum on Obama and the economy. “The consultants will tell you that​—​hands down. But I think he’s got to run on a bold plan and on big ideas.” Romney needs to win “on a mandate, if you will, to govern. Romney has that background. He’s capable of doing big, bold things. .  .  . He can’t say I’m a Republican like Scott Walker and hope to win. He has to say that I’m a reformer like Scott Walker. The ‘R’ after his name has to stand for ‘reformer,’ not just ‘Republican.’ ”

Romney might want to listen. There is no doubt Walker is in a much stronger position having survived the recall than he would have been without it. Even before the election he was a huge draw for Republican and conservative groups. When he headlined a Heritage Foundation dinner in Des Moines last October, the organization raised more money than it had at any event outside of Washington, D.C.