In every discipline, whether the sectors are private or public, work experience is a considerable factor in determining who can do the job most effectively. This is not a matter of ideology, but empirical fact. However, voters don't always see it that way. If they did, John McCain would be President today. So whether right or wrong, determining the best candidate for office will involve more than just work experience.
Between the two candidates, Scott Walker has the most experience managing government; and this is not just any experience, it's executive experience. Another thing to note is that Walker is the only candidate in the Republican primary who has managed a larger government (something comparable to governing a state). This may help him hit the ground running if elected governor.
True, a savvy businessman like Neumann could bring effective management to the table, but not all businessmen make good politicians. If Neumann were running for the CEO of a private sector business, he would be the most qualified for the job hands down, but this isn't a private sector job application. Running a government involves dealing with unions, liberal boards, and the liberal media, something Walker understands well.
And while Walker's work experience is noteworthy, Neumann's record in Congress is rather forgettable. Come to think of it, I don't know of one remarkable thing he did in Congress. Well, I take that back, Neumann voted for an 8 billion dollar bill in pork spending.
Walker's public sector record is different. He has reduced the county workforce by 20%, reduced government debt by 10%, increased the county's bond rating, and produced annual county surpluses for 8 years. Walker's budgetary record, his management of the Mitchell International Airport, and his recent award-winning County Parks are all pluses when considering a vote onTuesday.
Some may say that this is what we should expect of a conservative politician, that Walker did what any conservative would do in his shoes. Well, it's easier said than done in Milwaukee County - a county mind you that has never elected a Republican County Executive in its history.
The liberal machine in Milwaukee runs on all 8 cylinders, which includes an overwhelming liberal majority on the county board, a union body with a propensity to oppose conservatives, and a liberal paper that often takes up the Democrat cause. If you doubt this, just take a look at the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel's recent editorials, which include support for high speed rail, early inmate release, an apologia of Governor Doyle's legacy in office, attacks on both Republican gubernatorial candidates, and a recent endorsement of JoCasta Zamarripa who is pro-choice, pro-gay marriage, and anti-school choice.
Another thing to take into consideration is the political viability of a candidate. Yes, a recent Rasmussen poll showed that Mark Neumann would give Tom Barrett as much trouble as Scott Walker in the general election, but this is not a trend. Many political insiders believe that Neumann is still the weaker candidate.
Democrats including Governor Doyle, Tom Barrett, and Mike Tate are on a continuous offensive against Scott Walker while largely ignoring Neumann. Liberal blogs and left-leaning news outlets attack Walker like dogs while propping up Neumann as the candidate to beat. The Rasmussen poll aside, it's hard to rationalize why Democrats would deliberately ignore the better candidate if they were truly interested in winning this November.
Viability also takes form in campaign financing. Neumann has spent $4 million inundating the airwaves with commercials touting his conservatism. Neumann's estimated worth, or so we are told, is $10 million. This means he's invested virtually everything he has in the primary leaving little for the general election against Tom Barrett - this is assuming Neumann doesn't want to spend the majority of his wealth and potentially lose to Barrett anyway. This means that if Neumann wins on Tuesday, his candidacy will be much more financially weak than Walker's.
Probably the most significant factor in terms of political viability involves Milwaukee County. Historically, the liberal base in the Milwaukee and Dane Counties create Democrat governors. Given the fact that Walker is popular in Milwaukee County, it may neutralize Barrett's liberal advantage, thus handing the election over to Republicans. If Neumann wins the primary, he will have no such advantage. But either way, the tide is on the GOP side.
Ultimately, Scott Walker is the better candidate and most capable of beating Tom Barrett in the general election.