The Washington Post

Scott Walker’s GOP vision: ‘No’ is not good enough

If Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker (R) runs for president in 2016, his theme will likely be some version of this: "No" is not enough for the GOP.

"You don't just sit back and nick the other side -- you've got to lay out a plan," Walker said Monday on MSNBC’s "Morning Joe."

Walker added: “As governors, as state leaders, we’re more optimistic than our friends in Washington. We’re not just against something. We’re laying out a plan. We're laying out a vision."

Walker is rejecting two things. One is Washington, which is not surprising at all, considering how unpopular Congress is right now and how unpopular the Democratic-controlled White House is to the Republican primary voters whom Walker wants to win over.

Secondly -- and more notably -- Walker is pleading for a Republican Party that stands for something.

Consider that House Speaker John A. Boehner (R-Ohio) recently told CBS News, “We should not be judged by how many new laws we create," but rather: "We ought to be judged on how many laws we repeal. We’ve got more laws than the administration could ever enforce."

Walker seems to be saying the Republican resume needs to read more than that. For his part, Walker, who had the benefit of having a GOP legislature when he entered office, signed a law that curbed collective bargaining for public employees. That act would probably be a big asset in a Republican primary. If he runs, look for it to be a centerpiece of his pitch.

In recent days, we've seen a pair of other potential Republican presidential candidates offer previews of what their 2016 bids could look like, too. New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie's approach is all about winning, prioritizing pragmatism over ideology.

“I am in this business to win,” Christie told a crowd of Republicans last week. "I don’t know why you are in it. I am in this to win."

Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.), on the other hand, has advocated a big-tent vision of the Republican Party in which those with clashing ideologies can coexist. Paul's hope is that young people, minorities and other demographic groups Republicans have struggled to win over will migrate to the party if it welcomes them.

"They need to be looking to people with new and different ideas who will attract the youth, independents and even Democrats to our party. So, saying there is no room for us was a big mistake on their part," he said on "Fox News Sunday."

For Walker, who like Christie must get reelected before he can think seriously about a play for the White House, the move seems to be running against Washington and obstructionism.

Taken together, it's all a reminder that even though 2016 seems far away, the battle lines are already being gradually sketched out.

Fixbits: 

Vice President Biden traveled to Houston with his son, Delaware Attorney General Beau Biden, so the younger Biden can undergo medical testing.

Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Tex.) will renounce his Canadian citizenship.

Texas Gov. Rick Perry (R) will headline the California Republican Convention.

Maine Gov. Paul LePage (R) reportedly told Republicans last week that President Obama "hates white people."

A majority of Americans want aid to Egypt to be cut off, a new poll shows.

Louisiana Republican Gov. Bobby Jindal's own polling puts his approval rating at 50 percent.

The Obamas have a new dog named Sunny.

Must-reads:

"Filner, city attorney, Allred in talks" -- Trent Seibert, U-T San Diego

"Fed fight: Will Rand Paul make a stand?" -- MJ Lee and Alexander Burns, Politico

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

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