Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker is no fan of President Barack Obama’s Affordable Care Act. He didn’t accept an expansion of Medicaid or set up a federal healthcare exchange. But he has a message for other Republicans who may be looking to exploit the White House’s political misfortunes: “Don’t spike the ball.”
Speaking to reporters at a meeting hosted by National Review, Walker, a potential 2016 GOP presidential candidate, cautioned his party against being seen as rooting for the law’s failure.
“One of the things I caution Republicans against is don’t run out and spike the ball,” he said. “Don’t relish the fact that Obamacare is not working.”
Walker, the vice chair of the Republican Governors Association who faces a tough race for reelection next year, said GOP lawmakers on Capitol Hill should take a page from governors with a focus on outcomes.
“In the end, it gives me no comfort that there are people in my state who will fall through the cracks because of the failure of the federal government kind of puts them in no-mans land,” Walker said, “I think as Republicans, people across America are going to expect us to be as disappointed as they are.”
“I think Republicans need to be careful so that in no way do we look like we’re piling on,” he continued. “Because if you do, my guess is the next move on the left will be to try and seize on it if that were to happen, look, somehow we sabotaged this, that we’re the ones to blame. It’s a ridiculous intellectual argument, but from an emotional standpoint, you can see how it could happen. “
Walker added a criticism of the shutdown strategy advocated by Sen. Ted Cruz last month. “Most of us governors, we’re all for principled fights and things, but we like outcomes,” he said. “We want to see an endgame. We want to see some way to get something done.”
But Walker said Obamacare will be a potent weapon for the GOP in next year’s midterm elections and in the 2016 presidential race. “It’s so important to let the public see first hand what is happening, to make it an issue in the 2014 election, and then presumably two years thereafter,” he said.