Gov. Scott Walker tried to elbow his way into President Obama’s visit Wednesday to the Master Lock plant in Milwaukee. But he thought better of it.
That was one of the smartest political moves the governor has made in a year of political and policy missteps.
Walker, who faces a recall election fight this year, polls miserably with Democrats and independents who lean Democratic. And he’s vulnerable with independents and even some Republicans.
Walker tried initially to attach himself to Obama’s visit to a factory in Democratic Milwaukee. That seemed like smart politics. Then it became clear that the Master Lock event would focus on economic renewal, job growth and manufacturing. That’s not a good storyline for Walker, as a front-page chart in Wednesday’s Milwaukee Journal Sentinel newspaper illustrated.
While other battleground states in the Great Lakes region are experiencing at least a modest recovery, with some significant evidence of job creation, Walker’s Wisconsin is the outlier. Since the governor’s budget was implemented, Wisconsin has lost jobs every month. And in some of those six months of decline, Wisconsin has led the nation in job losses.
A Republican National Committee line holds that the economic upturn of the moment has been created by Republican governors. But Walker can’t make that claim. He’s stuck suggesting that job losses in Wisconsin are the fault of Obama and the Democratic president’s policies.
That is, of course, a fantasy. But Walker can maintain it when Obama is not around, and when the media is not looking at the fact of how Wisconsin trails neighboring states when it comes to actual job creation.
Standing next to Barack Obama at Master Lock would have exposed Scott Walker’s false premises, and his false statements.
So, suddenly, the governor wasn’t feeling well. Yes, he was up for a photo opportunity at the airport. And, yes, he was strong enough to put out a series of “I,” “I,” “I” statements regarding Obama’s visit — including one in which Walker claimed credit for making things happen with the Wisconsin companies Obama mentioned. But Walker avoided the factory floor.
The governor likes the limelight, and he wanted to grab the glory that goes with a presidential visit. But he did not want the scrutiny.