In less than one term as Governor, Scott Walker has all but changed the entire political landscape nationally, from one state. He did so with leadership; he's governed not out of fear or a need to get re-elected. He's governed based on the platform he ran on. Most important, he understands what's at stake and he is governing, logically, based on that understanding. When the union thugs came into town, Walker's fight or flight response was revealed; he chose to fight and it paid off. His state has now officially set the standard for other states. In essence, Wisconsin - behind a first term Governor - is leading the nation.
Contrast Walker with the most powerful Republican Party member - based on position - in the country right now. Speaker of the House John Boehner has been in Congress ever since being elected to it in 1990. He was there during the 1994 'Contract with America.' He knows what it's like to be swept into power by a conservative movement. Boehner was there when an angry conservative American base put the Republicans in the majority. He was also the Speaker in 2006, when a fiscally irresponsible Republican Congress got the boot.
Comparing the Governor of a state with the Speaker of the House may seem like comparing apples and oranges but it's not when you're comparing the ability to lead.
Whether it's the debt ceiling debate or the Fast and Furious scandal, Boehner has become part of an establishment whose members make decisions based nearly entirely on political calculations instead of on principle; it is an establishment whose members have each others' backs instead of the backs of their bosses - the voters. The result? As Speaker, Boehner has presided over a House of Representatives - which is ultimately responsible for how much taxpayer money is spent - that has watched the national debt increase under the 112th Congress more than in all of the previous 111 Congresses combined.
Meanwhile, Scott Walker is now reaping the benefits - in his very first term - of tough decisions. He is already touting a budget surplus.
Walker has fought the unions... and won.
Boehner too, is faced with an ominous fight that, at least to this point, he seems reticent to engage in. It is a fight against lawlessness, wickedness, and corruption; it is Watergate with murder; it is Fast and Furious; and it implicates the heads of several top agencies and departments. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, DHS Secretary Janet Napolitano, Attorney General Eric Holder, FBI Director Robert Mueller, and perhaps even the White House itself all have their hands in this cookie jar.
Boehner must know how deep the scandal goes but it has become increasingly apparent that he is the one who is holding back Oversight Committee chairman Darrell Issa from issuing the contempt citation to Eric Holder for the Attorney General's refusal to comply with a congressional subpoena. For months, Boehner attempted to portray himself as supportive of Issa's efforts and that rumors the Speaker was inhibiting those efforts were false.
We now know they were not.
During Walker's recall election victory speech, he spoke about future generations. Here is the full quote (begins at the 1:30 mark):
...throughout our history... there have been men and women of courage who stood up and decided it was more important to look out for the future of their children and their grandchildren than their own political futures.Don't just pay attention to what he says but also the way he says it.
Contrast that with John Boehner's most recent victory speech. It came on November 3, 2010. With the gift of hindsight, it's easier to see that the emotion Boehner seemed to be exhibiting most was fear. As Speaker, he has not sufficiently led and on election night, 2010 his fight or flight response was revealed.
About one month after that speech, Boehner spoke with Leslie Stahl of 60 Minutes and again, spoke words similar to those of Walker, excerpted above. He spoke of wanting to preserve the American dream for our children and grandchildren. Again, however, it's how he says it that is most revealing.
Boehner's fight or flight response is shown to be the opposite of Walker's.