Politicians are usually noted for going to the right or to the left. But for Republicans there is a new direction -- north, representing what the GOP's national chairman says is a "cheesehead revolution" in public policy centered in Wisconsin.
Reince Priebus of Kenosha, the former Wisconsin GOP chairman who took over as Republican National Committee chairman in January, said the political debates in Wisconsin are debates "that the American people are ready to have" over government finances.
Priebus, appearing before a City Club of Chicago breakfast this morning, also predicted the defeat of Democratic President Barack Obama given the economic issues the nation faces.
Priebus cited Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker's challenge of public employee union collective bargaining rights and the expensive victory by a Republican incumbent in a Wisconsin Supreme Court race. Those battles framed the question of "what kind of America do we want to have," Priebus said.
"Do we want a country of more people riding the wagon or more people driving the wagon?" Priebus said. "Do we want a country of makers or a country of takers?"
Public employee unions, Priebus said, "talk about this collective bargaining rights (issue) as if Moses brought them down from Mt. Siani."
Priebus frequently invoked the spending plan pushed through the U.S. House by Republicans and authored by Rep. Paul Ryan, a Republican from Janesville, Wisconsin. He also noted that veteran 18-year Democratic U.S. Sen. Russ Feingold was defeated in last fall's mid-term elections by Republican Ron Johnson.
"I think Wisconsin is leading the country in these policy debates and I'm just happy to be part of that cheesehead revolution, you might say," Priebus said.
Noting his downtown Chicago appearance was not far from Obama's re-election campaign headquarters-—or from the federal trial of disgraced former Democratic Gov. Rod Blagojevich-—Priebus said the 2012 election is not about "liking" the city's hometown president.
"I fear that the president is too willing to sacrifice the future for short-term political gain. He's content offering microeconomic solutions to macroeconomic problems that will profoundly inhibit economic growth. Sure, the president can talk about hope all he wants. But here's the problem—-hope isn't hiring in America," Priebus said.
"I feel good about our prospects for winning and Barack Obama will be a one-term president. He didn't follow through on his promises and his whole campaign was about promises and it didn't come to fruition. And so we need to change the course of direction in this country and in the process we'll save our party," he said.
Priebus dismissed statements by businessman and TV celebrity Donald Trump, a potential GOP presidential candidate, contending that Obama needs to produce a birth certificate to show he was born in Hawaii.
"I've said repeatedly I believe he was born in Hawaii," Priebus said. "I think the media picks up on a sentence or two out of hours of cable TV hits and they to make news out of it. My view is that candidates can say what they want.
"It's up to the primary voters to choose a candidate. It's up to me to help that candidate defeat Barack Obama."
(Cross posted from Clout Street).Copyright © 2015, Los Angeles Times