Gov. Walker’s meeting with President Obama at the White House poses challenges and offers opportunities. He can burnish his conservative credentials with tough talk on taxes, or show he’s a practical problem solver, but doing both will require a political high wire act.
“Here’s a situation where Gov. Walker is going to show us what a fabulous politician he is, in the sense that he can tip toe through the minefield. He knows what his ideological beliefs are, but he’s also practical enough that he wants a good economy for when he runs for re-election, so in that respect, it’s sort of like watching Aaron Rodgers — you just sort of admire the skill,” UW-Milwaukee Professor of Governmental Affairs Mordecai Lee said.
Gov. Walker will need to summon all of his political skill when he meets with President Obama at the White House on Tuesday. Gov. Walker is leading a contingent from the National Governor’s Association to discuss the impact of the fiscal cliff on the states. He is among Republicans taking a hard-line — saying no to raising taxes as a possible solution.
“I think it would be devastating to economic growth and prosperity,” Gov. Walker said.
However, Gov. Walker says the country cannot afford a stalemate which would result in across the board spending cuts and tax hikes he is trying to avoid.
“I’m scared to death that people in Washington are going to do something — in either political party — that would slow down the already slow economic recovery we have and make it difficult for us or any other state to have a full recovery,” Gov. Walker said.
“If you’re Gov. Walker, the last thing you want is for the Wisconsin economy to go back into a recession a year before he’s running for re-election. In that sense, Gov. Walker would be torn between what he would want the Republican Party to do,” Lee said.
The fiscal cliff is the nightmare scenario lawmakers came up with after debt reduction talks hit a stalemate last year. The cliff is the metaphor for drastic economic fall off expected if lawmakers can’t reach a deal by the end of the year.
Top state Democrats say Gov. Walker and President Obama need to remember the Average Joe while discussing the impact of the fiscal cliff.
“If they can bring the conversation back home and remember what the real priorities are they’ll come up with a solution that’s good for the country,” state Sen. Chris Larson said.
Gov. Walker will bring the story of how he turned the state budget deficit into a surplus, and he’s also bringing one bit of advice for lawmakers in Washington — act more like lawmakers in Wisconsin.