In a Rare interview, the Wisconsin Republican governor recalls Ronald Reagan’s first inaugural address: “We should all remember that the federal government did not create the states, that the states created the federal government.”
Kurt Wallace: Governor Walker, it’s a pleasure to have you with us today on Rare.
Gov. Scott Walker: My pleasure. Glad to be with you.
K: As a governor, you’re dealing with your own state. But you’re also dealing with the child of the states, which is the federal government. And the federal government, as a child, should respect their elders being the states – the states that created them. A lot of people don’t realized that the structure of government is this: Your job is to interpose and also deal with this Washington, DC monster. What are your thoughts on this? We have a lot of things happening. We have the Real ID ACt of 2005 which keeps cropping up. People on the left who want to interpose on the marijuana laws. Obamacare is another situation where maybe the state legislators could also help and try to nullify, or maybe the NDAA. Your thoughts?
S: Well, I couple of things. First off, one of my favorite quotes of one of my favorite presidents, President Ronald Reagan, is one that – while there are many great quotes often mentioned – this one’s rarely mentioned. I love pointing it out. His first inaugural address – appropriately said for a former governor – he said, “We should all remember that the federal government did not create the states. The states created the federal government.” That left a message that far too often – not only in our nation’s capital, but too many of our state houses – state leaders even forget. And it’s one where I keep trying to stress – not only to former Republican governors, but to governors in general – that whether it’s No Child Left Behind, whether it’s Obamacare. As you can imagine over the last few years we’ve had some interesting debates at the National Governor’s Association. I remember once we were talking a few years back about No Child Left Behind and talking about how it was really an infringement on the rights of the people of the state and of the local level. I wrote down a number of comments from Democrat governors, because later it came back that I used those same quotes to make the same argument on why we should be against Obamacare and the so-called Affordable Care Act for exactly the same sorts of reasons. There was a reason why the founders set things up this way. They understood that government closest to the people, in many ways, is the most effective. And again, as I point out in the book, it’s one thing if you don’t like the city that you live in. You can move if you don’t like the people who are elected to run the state or the commonwealth. You can move. It’s awfully hard to move out of the country that you love, and we shouldn’t have to! Because we should be on limited focus. Federalism should be alive today. It should be something that isn’t necessarily pushed by one party or another. It’s a set of principles that were the founding base of this country, and we’d be a lot better off if more of the decisions whether it’s – one, I don’t think healthcare should be mandated by the federal or the state government – but even things like education and other things of that nature really are not appropriately addressed at the federal level, they should be pushed onto the states. But that’s a focus I think we need to continue to fight for. One of the things I talk about in the book Unintimidated as well is that I learned early on, though I’m not an attorney, I would get the lawyers to help me out and say, “Don’t accept the false choices from the federal government. It’s too often, because they control the money, they can tell you what you can and can’t do.” Many times we challenge them successfully. There’s obviously plenty more opportunities now, not only in Wisconsin, but in other state to do the same.
K: Governor Walker, thank you very much for spending some time with us today on Rare.
S: My pleasure. Great to be with you.