Presidential candidate Gov. Scott Walker (R-WI, picture) and Gov. Greg Abbott (R-TX) are the keynote speakers at the Harris County Republican Party Lincoln – Reagan Dinner. Kevin Price, Publisher and Editor in Chief of US Daily Review, Host of the Price of Business Show on Business Talk 1110 AM, and contributor for Huffington Post will be covering the event for those various media.
Before the event even began I was approached by one of the coordinators and told to not engage with the crowd. I then asked him if that was to protect them or the media. He merely smiled. This should set an interesting tone for the rest of the evening.
Before the governors spoke I chatted with Amelia Chasse with Greg Abbott’s office. I asked her if it was awkward that Abbott was giving Walker this individual attention and what, if anything, should be read into it. She said, Abbott wants every presidential contender to come see the border like Walker has in order to get educated about the situation.
Governor Abbott gave a brief opening (no more than a few minutes), introducing Governor Walker, but the event was entirely about the man aspiring to be president. Walker was excellent, very quick on his feet and strong about the border situation. For the many who have read that Walker has shifted on this issue, the Governor was adamant that he has not. He told reporters that he was one of the governors to co-sign a letter with Abbott taking President Obama’s unilateral immigration policies to task. “For me,” he said, this is an issue of national security. “I have felt this from the beginning and my view has not changed.”
The dealing of the Harris County Republican Party with the media has largely been shabby. In addition to the orders to not engage with the audience above (I have frequently violated this because I know so many people here and they were not honoring the party’s orders), but they relegated us to box lunches. I will not even begin to try to explain what I went through to get a glass of water. This is doing nothing to improve media – GOP relations.
Chance encounter with Rand Paul’s People
Actually it was an encounter with a single person now working as a consultant with the Kentucky Senator’s presidential campaign. The gentleman is an old friend, so I will protect his anonymity… “Kevin, how are you old buddy?” From there he went to, “I spoke to Rand (Paul) this past week and he was asking about you. He said, ‘what’s up with this article Kevin wrote about my campaign.” I consider this a very positive article, but for some reason Rand’s people are treating it as if it is a hit piece. I tried to explain, but my friend said, “what would you think about having Rand on the show.” Okay, I know when to shut up. “That would be great, I consider myself very friendly to Rand Paul.” He said, “I will set it up.” I will keep you posted on when I have this interview. Don’t ask my what Rand is doing at a Scott Walker event. Politics is just strange that way.
Gregg Abbott for President?
This even was ostensibly for Scott Walker, but I had an interesting encounter with one of the governor’s staff. “So are you looking forward to this event?” “Definitely, I have been eager to hear Scott Walker on the stump.” She was a little taken aback by my answer, “will you will love Governor Abbott’s speech.” I have seen Abbott before and told him, I have only been pleasantly surprised by his early performance, but I also told here I was intrigued to hear Walker because of his obvious presidential ambitions. Abbott’s aide didn’t blink, “rumor has it Abbott is going to run for President.” “Excuse me?” I asked. “Will, it is a rumor, but I cannot say definitely or even if it will be for this election cycle,” she replied quickly. The first I have heard of this rumor was from an Abbott staff member. I wonder if that is where they want such to start?
Anyway, Abbott’s performance was really presidential tonight and his record as governor has been excellent (albeit brief). Abbott has made one of his early proposals as governor is reforming the horrible franchise tax, which I have long called “taxation without representation of money you actually make.” That law put a tax on items and services that companies had to pay just in order to stay in business. For example, if a doctor needed a new technology, he would be subject to a tax on it, even though the federal government would treat it as a right off. His staff has said the Governor would do away with it entirely if he had the opportunity, his desire to raise the threshold for participation from $1 million to $4 million is certainly progress. Furthermore, his presentation is solid and he is clearly has the type of leadership that I think would resonate with rank and file Republicans around the country.
However, listening to his introduction of Scott Walker makes it seem unlikely he is interested in the White House any time soon. His passionate introduction of Walker, whom he described as a “man of steel” was impressive. It is about as close to an endorsement as a candidate can receive, in my opinion.
Meanwhile, Walker, had plenty to tout in terms of his record as governor of Wisconsin. The Governor has only held his office since 2011, yet has faced ran for that spot 3 times since 2010 (thanks to an unsuccessful recall campaign by Big Labor). He has shown a personal mettle that most would find attractive in a presidential candidate. Abbott called him a “Texas style” governor and that was heard in Walker’s rhetoric and values.
Walker discussed the profound impact being an Eagle Scout had on him. Oddly, because of the growth of the LGBT movement, talking about the Boy Scouts can be controversial, but Walker did not care and his Texas audience loved it. He believed becoming an Eagle was part of the unique experience that has prepared him for the highest office in the land. He went on to say, “Being an Eagle Scout is one thing you get as a kid that, you are not the past, it’s something you are.”
He talked about the dramatic rise of the quality of the states education system (from the nation’s bottom ten to the top 15 in just four years) and how he has cut unemployment in half over the last few years. It was a well received message and greatly appreciated by this audience.
Walker continued to show his ability to “wow” a crowd and it is no surprise he is considered a potential leading contender for the country’s top job.