Recent public opinion polls show former President George W. Bush's approval ratings improving with the American public. But is there a case to be made that Bush was the worst two-term President ever?
Consider the following:
*Security. More American citizens were killed on US soil (9/11) than under any other president.
*Debt. Bush tax cuts left the country in greater debt than under any previous President.
*Peace. 2 Bush wars, started under false pretenses, resulted in thousands of American soldiers dead.
*International Reputation. The Bush pre-emptive wars left the US reputation around the world in tatters.
*Supreme Court Reputation. The dubious manner in which Bush was handed the Presidency by a Supreme Court partially picked by his father struck a serious blow toward the legitimacy of the court that has not recovered.
While Bush had a strong Republican Party apparatus supporting him during his campaigns and time in office, during the last four years top GOP officials and candidates have remained largely silent about Bush accomplishments during his term of office, perhaps because none come to mind. Bush has become a non-entity in the Republican party.
For more information go to www.tjwalker.com
Sources: alternet.org and nytimes.com
So, how crazy is the GOP Scheme to re-jigger the electoral college a la gerrymandered congressional districts? It's like Rupert Murdoch buying People Magazine and ordering his editors to select the sexist man of year by considering only the pool of men who are over 50 years old, weigh more than 250 pounds, live in Palm Beach, make more than $30 million a year, and have names that rhyme with Lush Rimbaugh. It might be legal, it would make some people happy, but it's clearly insane.
Given how awful Mitt Romney's messages were during this campaign, it's amazing he came as close as he did in this election. Campaigns ultimately come down to who has the more compelling message to voters. Here is a distillation of the ten worst messages intentionally put out by the Romney Campaign (and I am mercifully leaving out all of his unintended gaffes like "people are corporations my friend" "I like to fire people" and the whole 47% disaster):
1. Vote for me because I was a businessman, even though I won't tell you anything about how I ran my business.
2. My biggest accomplishment as governor was creating socialized medicine for all of my constituents, which is a very bad thing.
3. Obamacare is the worst piece of public policy in the history of the world and I will abolish it, even though it is an exact replica of my healthcare plan in Massachusetts.
4. Big government socialized medicine is the worst thing in the world. And that's why I will spend $750 billion MORE on Medicare, a form of socialized medicine, than Barack Obama would.
5. Barrack Obama is sending all of Chrysler's auto manufacturing to China because he...believes in big government and pandering to US unions.
6. Obama is weak on defense and terrorists, which is why Obama killed Bin Laden and I opposed going after Bin Laden.
7. Obama is a dangerous radical which is why he spends way too much time...playing golf.
8. Obama is a European socialist and that's bad, which is why I want to impose all of the economic policies of austerity used by...European socialists.
9. I want to cut all top marginal tax rates by 20%, including for the very wealthy, which, of course, will not lower taxes for the wealthy.
10. I will reduce the deficit and balance the budget by maintaining all popular social programs and tax deductions like the mortgage interest deduction AND by increasing defense spending by $2 trillion spending.
When the history of the Mitt Romney Campaign is written, even when it is written by conservatives, it will go down as the most illogical, insulting, fact-free campaign ever. If you were a smart voter, the Romney messages were insulting to your intelligence. if you were an ill--informed voter, the messages were highly confusing.
Many fair-minded observers have asked "what is the difference between Romney's 47% secret video gaffe and Obama's clinging to 'guns and religion' gaffe of 2008?" That's a fair question. First it's important to know what a gaffe is. There is the classic definition from Michael Kinsley 30 years ago describing a gaffe as when a politician says something true that he really believes, but is offensive to certain voter groups, i.e. a Democratic politician in the 1980s saying that Japanese cars were better than American cars. But there are other gaffes as well. A gaffe can be something a politician says that may or may not be true, that he/she may or may not believe, but is still considered wildly offensive to certain voter groups and perceived as having a harmful effect on a candidacy.
If you use the broader standard of "gaffe" Mitt Romney committed at least 46 gaffes in the secret video speech. This is truly unprecedented. With roughly 46 days left to go in the campaign, the sheer width and breath of gaffes is likely to provide daily fodder for news debate and analysis till election day.
In the video above, I chronicle all 46 gaffes. Thoughtful observes may disagree with some of the analysis, but no one can doubt that this was an extraordinary event in the history of presidential gaffe-making.
If Romney accomplishes one thing in his campaign it will be that no serious presidential candidate in the future will ever say anything in a campaign fundraiser that he/she doesn't want the whole world to see on YouTube.
Mitt Romney has taken a public relations beating for the last two weeks regarding his decision to release only one year of his Federal Income taxes. Romney's efforts so far at damage control and changing topics have been unsuccessful.
Romney does have a temporary reprieve, given the suspension of campaigning due to the Colorado massacre and several long-planned foreign trips by the Romney campaign. However, the IRS tax return PR nightmare for Romney has not gone away; it has merely been put on hold for a week or two.
Romney's answers might not ever satisfy the Obama Campaign, the Democrats or members of the media. But now, Romney is facing increased pressure from leading Republican politicians, conservative media outlets and the entire GOP establishment.
Thus far, Romney's response that he is simply not going to give more than one or two years of tax returns to the public because he is not legally required to do so is not satisfying anyone. The essence of good damage control is that people feel like the big questions have been answered and that there is nothing very interesting left to discuss. Unfortunately for Romney, every time he talks about his taxes it arouses more and more curiosity and questions from political observers and even his supporters
If Romney wants to contain the issue of his personal tax returns in order to move on to other issues, he is going to have to answer all or most of the following questions: *****
Questions for Mitt Romney
BUSINESS DISCLOSURE YOU REQUIRE
1. As a businessman, did you ever acquire a business that was an ongoing concern that refused to divulge its profit and loss statements for more than one year, even though it had been in business for more than a quarter of a century?
2. If you did wanted to look at the profits and losses of a mature company for more than one year before investing Bain Capital's money or your own money, how many years did you ask for and why did you want that many years?
3. Is the decision to invest in a company a more important decision than who will be a leader of the free world?
VICE PRESIDENT DISCLOSURE
4. How many years of tax returns will you be asking for from your vice presidential nominee?
6. What sorts of things are you looking in the tax returns of your prospective VP candidates?
7. What is the sort of thing a prospective running mate might have on a personal income tax form that might make you remove that person from consideration as your running mate?
8. What if a potential running mate paid zero in taxes one year?
9. Would that be a reason for not selecting him or her?
10. What would you do if a potential running mate failed to file a tax return one year?
11. How would you judge a potential running mate who used extraordinarily aggressive techniques in creating tax deductions and was later fined by the IRS, but never found guilty of any criminal wrongdoing?
12. Why did you give John McCain 22 years of your tax returns?
13. Was it inappropriate for McCain to ask for so many tax returns?
14. Why didn't you tell McCain that is was none of his business what your tax returns were?
15. Why should John McCain get to know 22 years worth of tax information about you when considering you as a vice-presidential selection, but American voters only get to know one year's worth of tax information?
16. You suggest that because you do not legally have to make your tax returns public, then you should not have to do so. Aren’t there many things American voters expect from serious presidential candidates that are not legally required?
17. If your opponent refused to disclose whether he believed in God or practiced any religion, would that be unacceptable to the American people?
18. Would you criticize such a candidate?
19. You only paid 13.9% of your income in taxes in 2010, a year that was two years after your last run for President and during a time in which you were again planning on running for president and when you knew your tax records would become public record. This leads many political observers to conclude you had every incentive to make your tax bill higher than normal in order to avoid criticism from the media and your political enemies. But, if 13.9% was your high mark, it makes many people wonder if perhaps your average tax rate was more like 10%, 5% or even lower. Isn't that fair?
20. Conservatives once ridiculed Bill Clinton for writing off his own underwear as a charitable tax deduction to the IRS. Are there any deductions you could have taken on your taxes but you didn’t because you feel they would be inappropriate or unseemly, even thought they might be legal?
21. How much of a business loss on your dressage horse ballet ventures have you put on your tax returns over the years?
22. Can you think of an example when you said to yourself, "I know I could claim that as a tax deduction, but it just would not look right?"
23. If so, when was that?
24. Can you think of times when you said, "I know I could legally claim this as a deduction, but it would not be the morally right thing to do?"
25. If so, when was that?
LIFE IS UNFAIR
26. A fundamental tenet among conservatives is that life is unfair. Is it possible that while it is unfair that you should have to release all your tax returns, you are simply going to have to do so before your campaign can focus on other issues?
27. They may be judging you unfairly, but more and more political observers are surmising that you do not wish to make your tax returns public because you are guilty of exploiting every possible loophole, offshore account and accounting gimmick to pay almost zero percent in taxes. Why are they wrong for surmising this?
28. If it isn't zero, why don't you want people to know this?
29. If you paid a tax rate as low as 1%, isn't that better than 0%?
30. Life and politics can often be unfair. You seem to suggest that you do not want to release your taxes because Democrats will be mean to you. Is that really a good reason not to do something?
31. Aren't they already being mean to you already?
32. You claim that you do not want to release your taxes because your opponents will distort and lie about them. Isn't that what is already happening?
33. How exactly would releasing your tax returns give greater license to your enemies to attack your tax records than what they are already doing?
34. Your wife says so many more things would be open to criticism. Why?
35. Does your rationale for not releasing your tax records because your enemies could criticize you for elements within also justify hiding heart disease or a criminal record?
36. You have paid tens of millions of dollars in taxes over your lifetime, far in excess of most people but people just are not focusing on the amount of taxes you pay. Should the amount be what people focus on, not the fact that you paid 14% of your income in taxes and the middle class paid more than twice that percentage?
37. Conservatives believe that policy makers must accept human nature for what it is, not what we want it to be. A corollary is that humans can be greedy and resentful. Can you understand why a married couple of schoolteachers with a combined income of $87,000 who pays 35% of their income in income taxes might resent that you paid only 13.9% of your income in taxes in 2010?
38. Would you support a cap on personal income taxes of, say, $1 million?
39. What is wrong with saying no one should have to pay more than a million dollars a year in federal taxes, even if they make $100 million or a billion?
40. Do you resent paying taxes?
41. Your father released all of his tax returns for 12 years when he ran for president. Was he wrong?
42. Did your father feel an obligation to pay many taxes and to avoid tax shelters?
43. Was he moral or just naive?
44. Why did your father release 12 years of tax returns?
45. Did he set a bad precedent?
46. Was he stupid?
47. Why do you want to be less transparent than your father?
48. Isn't there a chance your father would have wanted you to follow in his footsteps regarding disclosure?
49. Do you remember talking to him about that?
LIBERALS, MEDIA & REPUBLICANS
50. You have taken a brutal pounding for more than a week over your refusal to release your tax returns, not only from the Obama campaign and the mainstream media, but also from conservative commentators and leading Republicans. Can you understand why many political observers conclude you must have horrible skeletons and political landmines hidden within your tax returns that are much more politically damaging than the pounding you are receiving for not releasing your tax returns?
51. Do you understand why this scares your supporters?
52. And do you understand why this is fomenting even more interest in your tax returns?
53. George Will, Ron Paul and the editors of National Review have all called on you to release your tax returns. Are they all simply liberal media establishment types carrying water for Obama?
54. Are liberals and their allies in the media focusing on the wrong thing?
55. Why are increasing numbers of prominent conservatives demanding that you release your tax records?
56. People are curious as to how you could have absolutely “no role whatsoever” in running Bain capital from 2000-2002 and yet still get an income each year in excess of $100,000 that is not connected to profits or dividends. Can you understand why people might want to know how much you received for not doing any work?
57. Even though you "had no role whatsoever" in running Bain Capital in 2000 what salary did you receive for doing no work?
58. If the wealthiest of Americans are "job creators," why tax them at all?
59. Wouldn't it be a net gain to the economy if we reduced income taxes to zero for successful business people who have proven track records as "job creators?"
60. Is there anything in your tax returns that will tell us more about your Bain retirement IRA?
61. How did it get to be worth $100 million?
62. You are known as a brilliant investor and yet you were reported to have a net worth of around a quarter of a billion dollars when you were running for president four years ago and you are still rumored to be worth a quarter of a billion dollars today. How is it possible that you did not have a major increase in your net worth during the last four years?
63. Your campaign is largely premised on your competency as a successful businessman. As a bottom line businessman, and not a community organizer, can you respect people’s desires to want to measure you, at least partially, by what you generated for your own personal bottom line during the last decade or so?
64. Some critics have suggested that Obama clearly has not had much experience in the private sector and that it shows. However, some of those same critics suggest that you really do not have much relevant experience in the public sector and your inability to understand the need to be transparent on issues like your personal tax returns is a clear sign of this. Why do you agree with the first observation and not the second?
65. You are rich and successful, why are you seemingly ashamed to show people how successful you been in managing your own personal economy via your income tax returns from the last decade?
66. Isn’t your reluctance to show your income over the last ten years a de facto concession to the idea that making money and generating wealth are bad things?
67. Why are you ashamed of the money you have made?
68. Are you worried that you are sending a message to American schoolchildren that they should be ashamed of being successful in business?
69. Unlike other past Presidential candidates, you have Swiss bank accounts and other financial instruments in various offshore islands known for legal and even illegal tax shelters, like the Cayman Islands. Can you understand why this has heighted people’s interest in your own personal tax history?
70. Why have you used so many financial institutions better known for their secrecy than for their financial acumen?
71. Do you find most American banks lacking the level of sophistication you require?
72. Some theorize that you are actually a billionaire many times over and that you have created an elaborate network of generation-skipping trust funds to shield your wealth. Why can't you show the entirety of the wealth you have created over your lifetime, even if you have already given it to your wife, children and grandchildren?
73. Kennedy, Roosevelt and John Kerry were all personally very wealthy when they ran for president, but none of them ran on a platform to reduce income taxes on the wealthiest of Americans, including themselves and their extended families. Given that your public policy goals for taxation would personally benefit you immensely, can you see why people are more interested in your taxes, than, say, John Kerry's tax returns?
PERCENT OF INCOME
74. You were one of the most brilliant students of your generation, earning a spot in Harvard's prestigious joint degree program in its law and business schools. Did you fully exploit, in a legal way, your knowledge of both business and law to figure out a way of paying very low taxes, say in the single digits, during the last 10 years?
75. What is wrong with making lots of money and paying 15 percent tax?
76. When your enemies guess that you paid nothing in taxes in some years, is it a fair guess that this just might be accurate?
TAX ACCOUNTABLY IN POLITICS
77. Are you disappointed that only you family and your staff are satisfied with your level of public tax disclosure?
78. Are you afraid someone at the McCain campaign or the IRS could leak your returns to a reporter?
79. If so, do you have a crisis management plan in place?
80. If a candidate for high public office were found to be a tax cheat, would that be a reasonable issue for voters to take into consideration?
81. Have you ever taken part in any form of an amnesty program with the IRS?
82. Do you think that if a candidate for high public office took advantage of a tax amnesty program, that you and other voters might find that information relevant in deciding for whom to vote?
83. People can certainly understand why you would not want to release your personal tax records because no one enjoys that. But, why have you seemingly raised this to an issue of paramount moral principle when it is clearly a tactical or procedural issue?
84. You demanded that Sen. Ted Kennedy disclose his taxes to show he has "nothing to hide." Why?
85. What do you think you would have learned from him releasing more tax records?
86. Were you disappointed that Kennedy did not release tax records?
87. Why did you ask Kennedy to release his tax records when you ran against him and then decided not to release your own tax records when you ran against him?
88. Did you figure that if Kennedy did not have to release his tax records, then you should not have to either?
89. Does that mean if one candidate does release tax records, than the other should too?
90. If so, why does that not apply to the 2012 presidential campaign?
91. In terms of politics, how do you change the dynamic whereby the more you refuse to release you'd taxes, the more your enemies and the media increase the intensity of their demands for your income taxes?
92. Why is your commitment to limiting public tax returns seemingly more resolute than your commitment to your positions on abortion, gay rights, government run healthcare, global warming, and mandate issues?
93. You are known as a prudent, mature and responsible planner. You knew, since at least 2007, that you were running for president. How is it possible that you do not have returns for the last 5 years ready for public consumption?
94. Specifically, if a leader knows that most citizens who make above a modest middle class income pay at least a quarter of their income in taxes, does a leader have any moral imperative to pay a fair share that is similar, even if he might have tax deductions that could get his taxes to 5% or even zero?
95. Nobody likes to pay taxes and everyone likes to pay the lowest possible tax rate, but is there some rate of taxation where it is just unseemly for a wealthy person with a huge income to pay below?
96. Do you understand that middle class Americans feel like the tax deck is stacked against them?
97. Do you understand that they believe that they have to pay all of their taxes or they go to jail or have a lien put on their house, but if you are super wealthy, you can hire fancy lawyers and shift monies to offshore accounts to avoid most of your taxes?
98. If this common belief is wrong, can you tell people why they are wrong?
99. Is there the chance that, even though you do not legally have to release your tax returns, it would still be the right thing to do?
100. Do leaders have any moral obligation to lead by example regarding taxation?
101. What happens if at every single press conference and town hall meeting you have for the rest of the campaign, the only question anyone ever asks you is "Why won't you release your tax returns?"
BY TJ Walker www.tjwalker.com and Virginia Grant www.VAGrantwriter.com or VirginiaAnnGrant.Com
Mayor Mike Bloomberg is right. Our national political leaders are acting like cowards after the Colorado massacre. Sympathy and moments of silence are not enough. We need solutions. And the number one solution is ending this country's addiction to and fetish for guns, guns, guns. It's time to ban all guns!
Mitt Romney conducted numerous TV and other media interviews yesterday in order to minimize the damage his campaign has received regarding discrepancies surrounding his tenure at Bain.
During times of crisis it is often a smart strategy to give virtually unlimited access to the media in order to push out your message aggressively and satisfy reporter curiosity so that the issue can be pushed of the front burner. John McCain famously did this well earlier in his career when dealing with his own Keating five controversies.
Unfortunately for the Romney Campaign, The slew of TV interviews did little to satisfy the media. In times of crisis, a strong candidate will come up with answers that satisfy the basic questions surround the controversy and will make people want to move on to another subject. Romney, however, could not seem to come up with basic messages that resolved the controversies. Many of his answers seemed evasive or overly legalistic. The biggest problem for Romney is that all of his interviews have only increased the questions that political observers, voters and the media have regarding he subject of Bain Capital.
Specifically, Romney is going to have to answer the following 35 questions before this issue subsides:
1. Are you contending that an individual can simultaneously be the CEO, president, managing director of a company, and its sole stockholder and somehow be "disassociated" from the company or accurately classified as someone not having "any" formal involvement with a company?
2. You have stated that in "Feb. 1999 I left Bain capital and all management responsibility" and "I had no ongoing activity or involvement." It depends on what the definition of "involvement" is, doesn't it? Clearly you were involved with Bain to the extent that you owned it. Are you defining "involvement" in a uniquely specific way that only means "full-time, active, 60-hours-a-week, hands-on manager?"
3. How exactly are you defining "involvement?"
4. Surely someone from Bain occasionally called you up and asked your opinion about something work related from 1999 to 2002. Wouldn't that qualify as "involvement," if only on a minor level?
5. You earned at least $100,000 as an executive from Bain in 2001 and 2002, separate from investment earnings according to filings with State of Massachusetts. Can you give an example of anyone else you personally know getting a six figure income, not divided or investment return, but actual income, from a company they had nothing to do with?
6. What did you do for this $100,000+ salary you earned from Bain in both 2000 and 2001?
7. If you did nothing to earn this salary, did the Bain managers violate their fiduciary duty by paying you a salary for no discernible reason?
8. Are there other companies that pay you six figures a year as earned income, not investment income, for which you have no involvement?
9. In 2002, you are listed as one of two managing members of Bain Capital Investors LLC in its annual report. What does this mean?
10. On the very day after you took over the Winter Olympics, the Boston Herald reported that “Romney said he will stay on as a part-timer with Bain, providing input on investment and key personnel decisions.” Do you now contend this was factually inaccurate?
11. Do you have records of having written to the Boston Herald asking them to make a correction on this story?
12. On July 19, 1999, a news release about the resignation of two Bain Capital managing directors describes you as CEO and “currently on a part-time leave of absence to head the Salt Lake City Olympic Committee.” Was this wrong?
13. Did you ask for a retraction?
14. Why would Bain say this if you had severed all ties in Feb 1999?
15. Isn't it possible that if Bain had made an investment during 1999 to 2002 that you felt was truly odious, for example ownership of a legal Nevada brothel, that you could have and would have used your authority to veto such a decision?
16. If, in fact, you did not veto any major investment decision during your 1999 though 2002 ownership, doesn't that imply your broad consent of management's decisions?
17. According to the Boston Globe, "In a November 2000 interview with the Globe, Romney’s wife, Ann, said he had been forced to lessen, but not end entirely, his involvement with Bain Capital." Did your wife misspeak?
18. Did you correct her?
19. According to the Boston Globe, "Romney also testified that 'there were a number of social trips and business trips that brought [him] back to Massachusetts, board meetings' while he was running the Olympics. He added that he remained on the boards of several companies, including the Lifelike Co., in which Bain Capital held a stake until 2001." You testified that while running the Olympics you took a number of business trips to Massachusetts and for board meetings for companies including Lifelike Co. Bain had a stake in this company until 2001. Are you contending that you could attend board meetings for Lifelike Co at the same time Bain Capital had a stake in Lifelike Co and at the same time you owned the stock of Bain Capital, but that somehow your attending a board meeting for a company partially owned by Bain had nothing to do with Bain because you were on the board as Mitt Romney the individual, not as the representative of Bain?
20. If yes to the previous question, do you understand that anyone who did not graduate in the top 5% of his class from Harvard Law School, as you did, may have a hard time understanding this?
21. You seem to be suggesting that once you stepped down from full-time, 7 day a week, 18 hour a day management, that you were no longer "involved." You claim you had "no role whatsoever in the management." Assume for the moment that everyone, even in the Obama campaign concedes that after Feb 1999 you were no longer the 100% full-time, hands-on manager of Bain. Isn't it fair to suggest that an individual could still have a role in managing a company through the occasional phone call, meeting and email, even if they didn't involve monumental decisions, such as hiring and firing?
22. When you demanded an apology from the Obama Campaign you seem to suggest that they have stated that you deserve blame for outsourcing done at Bain from 1999 to 2001 because they stated that you were the full-time active manger of Bain during that time. Can you cite a single ad, press release or statement from the Obama Campaign where they specify that you were the full-time manager of Bain from 1999 to 2001?
23. Every time a reporter asks you "why were you listed by Bain in sec documents as the CEO in 2002" You respond that everyone knows you were no longer the active manger after Feb. 1999 and that you owed stock in Bain but did not manage anything. That may well be, but that doesn't answer the question as to why Bain listed you as ceo, president and managing director. Why won't you answer a simple question that involves basic facts that are undisputed?
24. Why do SEC documents claim you were Chief Executive Officer, President, and Managing Director of Bain Capital 2000 and 2001 if you were merely the sole owner?
25. Did you sign this SEC document?
26. Is this accurate or not?
27. If you didn't sign it, is someone guilty of lying to the SEC?
28. True or false, it is a felony to lie on SEC filings?
29. When asked "did you attend board meetings for Bain after 1999" you responded by saying "I did not manage Bain after 1999," or that you didn't attend any meetings involving things like firing people. This seems to suggest the possibility that you did attend Bain meetings in 2000 and 2001 that did not involve hiring or firing people or where you made the final decisions on investments. Is that possible?
30. If not, why not just give a blanket statement that you never attended a single board meeting for Bain after Feb. 1999?
31. If Obama owned slum apartments in Chicago that horribly mistreated poor people and didn't provide them heat or running water, but Obama hired a real estate management firm to manage the building and collect rent, do you think it would be fair to criticize him for being a hypocritical slum lord who showed no compassion for poor people?
32. You seem to stress the word "management" a great deal. You had no role in active "management" of Bain after Feb 1999. You then seem to suggest that the only other role for a person to be involved with a company is as an investor. Isn't there a third role?
33. Couldn't you have been an active adviser or consultant, the way many chairmen of the board are?
34. You are obviously bright, hard working and energetic. Isn't is possible that you put in 60 hours a week on the Olympics but still put in 5 hours a week as an active consultant or adviser by phone, email and the occasional meeting with the full time managers of Bain?
35. In general, don't full-time hired managers often seek the "advice" of absentee owners and then do everything they can to implement that "advice?"
Whether you like Scott Walker or not, there is no denying he is a leader and has joined the ranks of Republican superstars. What leadership lessons does he have that would benefit Obama and liberals?
1. Spend zero time trying to make your opponents love, like or even respect you. Walker realized from the beginning that winning opponents over was a waste of time. Obama continues to act like Washington is the same as the editorial board of the Harvard Law Review (if he just shows up, dresses well, studies hard, and asks respectful questions, surely they will like him and give him what he wants).
2. Don't endorse a solution that originated from the opposition camp. Walker's idea was simple from the beginning: crush government unions. He didn't ask government unions for their idea on a watered down version of this ideal. He simply started with the purest form of the ideal as it had been fantasized about by anti-union, conservative ideologues for the last 60 years. Democrats, for the most part, all wanted single-payer health care. Meanwhile, the Republican Heritage Foundation came up with the mandate-insurance company plan, since endorsed by most GOP politicians, that was ultimately embraced by Obama. Obama continues to play Charlie Brown to the Republicans' Lucy holding the football.
3. Don't ever compromise. See above.
4. Don't be deterred by initial polls showing the public doesn't like your policy. Keep hammering away until you change public opinion. Polls showed Walker's policies on taking away union power were unpopular. He hammered away at his message and turned some public opinion in his favor. Polls also showed, in 2009, that single-payer universal health care did not have a popular mandate (it certainly didn't in Congress). Little PR effort was spent trying to turn public opinion in favor of single-payer healthcare.
5. Put a stake in the ground that is considered outside the realm of the possible, but that is closer to the ideals of your supporters than what others have attempted. Walker went further than all other GOP governors in his attempt to destroy unions. Obama went almost as far as...Richard Nixon's health care plan.
6. Never express doubts about your position and never back down. Walker didn't go wobbly. Obama?
7. Never concede that your opponents have an intellectual or moral valid point. In Walker's worldview, all unions are corrupt and evil. Period. In Obama's worldview, all Republicans seem to be people of genuine good will who simply have a different vision of the country. When Obama isn't prattling on and on about how much he respects and admires his adversaries, he's actually mouthing their rhetoric on such things as the need for the government to act like a family and tighten its belt to cut spending, thus destroying his entire argument for his stimulus, unemployment benefits, etc.
8. Nationalize your cause. Cultivate a strong working relationship with everyone in the country who shares your ideological viewpoint. Every right-wing pundit, ideologue, gas bag, think tank, and PAC is totally, madly in love with Scott Walker. Does anyone know of a single prominent liberal or left winger who is particularly excited about Obama?
9. Position yourself as the purest and most forceful national leader on a particular policy area in order to generate enthusiasm and raise massive amounts of money and political support from interest groups across the country. By willing to lose everything, even the office itself, for a cause, Walker won big.
10. Heavily outspend your opponents on advertising. Make sure to demonize your opponents to make them seem as beyond the pale in the eyes of voters. OK, this last point is not as relevant for most Democrats--they simply aren't going to outspend Republican opponents. But Walker's win should be a healthy reminder to liberals who like to prattle on about "people power" and "grassroots support." If you can't outspend your opponent, you need to get fairly close to matching your opponent in ad dollars or you should prepare to lose.