Republicans shouldn’t take their victory in last Tuesday’s Wisconsin recall election as a sign that their party has the upper hand heading toward November’s presidential election, Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels (R) said Sunday.
“It would be a huge mistake for Republicans to misread Wisconsin as some kind of great harbinger,” Daniels said in an interview on “Fox News Sunday.” He cautioned that it’s “not even clear that Governor Romney will be that strong in Wisconsin” in the fall.
Gov. Scott Walker (R) bested Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett (D) by seven points in Tuesday’s recall. But exit polls showed Walker winning 18 percent of Obama supporters – a figure that suggests the state will be competitive in the fall.
Some have interpreted the Wisconsin results as giving the green light for other GOP governors to go after public worker unions. Asked by host Chris Wallace whether he believes that’s the case, Daniels – who during has tenure as governor has pursued his own aggressive labor reforms -- responded, “I hope nobody thinks of it that way, but I hope that it means some kind of turning point in trying to redress the balance.”
“I think the message is that, first of all, voters are seeing the fundamental unfairness of government becoming its own special interest group sitting on both sides of the table. ... Money is being devoured by very high salaries, almost bulletproof job protection and huge pensions,” he said.
Asked whether he believes that there should be no public worker unions, Daniels said yes.
“I really think government works better without them. I really do,” he said, adding later that “absolutely there’s a place in the private sector.”
When it comes to the fall, Daniels said that he agrees with Walker that Romney must present “an affirmative, constructive message, and one of hope” if he is to best Obama.
“The American people will rightly demand to know something more than he’s not President Obama,” he said, adding that Romney’s task is to build consensus “to make the big changes we need.”
Daniels also needled Obama for his statement last week that the private sector is “doing fine.”
“He does not understand where wealth and jobs come from,” he said. “They come from a successful private sector or not at all. ... Government does not create wealth or income; it just shuffles it around and it charges a price or cost.”