Wisconsin voters voted with their pocketbook in determining who should be PresidentWisconsin News
-- It’s the economy, stupid.
It’s the economy, stupid. Bill Clinton’s famous words from the 1990’s still ring true in Wisconsin, as the economy was by far the Number-One issue among state voters yesterday. The Badger State carried President Obama as he won re-election to his second term. According to exit polling for the A-P and the T-V networks, a majority of Wisconsin voters thought the economy was the top issue. And 54-percent blamed George W. Bush more than Obama for today’s struggling economy. Wisconsin saw its last auto plant disappear under Obama’s watch – the Chrysler plant in Kenosha – but half the state’s voters still approved of Washington’s bailout to U-S automakers. Only one in five voters thought health reform was the top issue. And they were split on what should happen to Obama’s reform package – which will presumably remain intact. 40-percent said unemployment was the biggest economic problem among Americans. Thirty-percent cited rising prices, and 22-percent cited taxes.
Governor Scott Walker may be in a pickle over health care this morning. The Republican governor has done very little to tailor the federal health care law to Wisconsin, saying the law could be thrown out if voters choose Mitt Romney as president. Well, that didn’t happen. And now, Bobby Peterson of the A-B-C-for-Health group says Wisconsin has only nine days to adopt a health care purchasing exchange which is tailored to the state’s needs – or else Wisconsin will have to accept a one-size-fits-all federal package at the start of 2014. When the Supreme Court upheld the package in June, Walker said he didn’t think it would be hard to get Washington to grant an extension of the deadline. But Milwaukee Assembly Democrat Jon Richards says the Obama White House might not have any power under the health law to extend the deadlines. And he and other Democrats have been pleading with Walker to do something in recent weeks. Assembly Republican Robin Vos, who’s in line to become the next speaker, says he’ll need to discuss the matter with his fellow G-O-P lawmakers and the governor, and decide how to move forward. Peterson said the state should have come up with a plan and shared it with consumers, doctors, and others affected. But he tells the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel an agreement is still possible and quote, “Hopefully the grown-ups come out on both sides and say, ‘Let’s get this done.’”
Some observers say Janesville’s Paul Ryan may be the front-runner for the Republican presidential nomination in 2016, despite his loss yesterday as Mitt Romney’s running mate. Saint Louis University professor Joel Goldstein is an expert on the vice presidency. He tells the Wisconsin State Journal that even a defeated V-P candidate tends to be elevated to ranks of White House contenders. Goldstein said Ryan’s controversial plan to reform Medicare might have dampened Romney’s support – but not nearly as much as some had expected. Ryan will stay in Congress, after being re-elected to his eighth term in the House yesterday. And with Republicans still in control, he’s expected to keep his high-profile chairmanship of the House Budget Committee. Former U-S Senate Republican Bob Kasten said Ryan’s influence has grown over the last four months – and he’s now the most important lawmaker in Washington on budget-and-fiscal decisions. Governor Scott Walker said Ryan’s credibility is as strong, if not stronger, than when he was named the V-P nominee back in August. There are not many House members who gain the national stature that Ryan did. And as the State Journal pointed, no House member has been elected president since James Garfield in 1880.