Scott Walker knocks divided government

November 22, 2013

Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker (R) on Friday morning swiped at the idea that a government with branches controlled by different political parties is a good thing.

The "conventional wisdom," Walker said at a breakfast in Washington sponsored by the Christian Science Monitor, has long been that Americans want divided government. But, he added, "I think they've seen the last few years that that's not necessarily a good thing. Instead of sufficient checks and balances, what that's gotten is a lot of gridlock."

Walker was referring to divided government in Washington, which contrasts with the situation in Wisconsin. Republicans have controlled both chambers of the state legislature there since 2010. The unified structure has allowed Walker to spearhead an ambitious GOP agenda, including his most controversial law, a  measure that curbed collective bargaining for most public employees.

"If you want to get big bold reform done ... you need a team to help you do that," said Walker.

Walker has been a fixture in the national media in recent weeks. He's been making the rounds to promote his new book, "Unintimidated," which chronicles his first term in office.

The governor faces a potentially competitive reelection battle in 2014. He's also seen as a possible candidate for president in 2016. Walker on Friday repeated his refrain that he believes governors make the best presidential candidates.

Walker said he is focused on 2014 not just because of his own election, but also because what happens in 2016 won't "matter as much" if there isn't a likelihood that a Republican president would have control of both chambers in Congress.

Walker said that he wants to see the Republican Party adopt "a more aggressive focus" on an alternative to the federal health-care law known as Obamacare. And he suggested that the GOP should focus most of their attention on the economy, which he believes is more important to voters than social issues.

Sean Sullivan has covered national politics for The Washington Post since 2012.
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