Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker bears striking similarities to former President Calvin Coolidge, making him a strong GOP candidate for president in 2016, says political operative Grover Norquist.
In an opinion piece for Reuters
, Norquist and Patrick Gleason, both of Americans for Tax Reform, say Walker's fight against public unions and advocacy for lower taxes mirror Coolidge's own background.
Coolidge, who was president from 1923 to 1929, would be "a smart model for the party," the two wrote. "He reined in spending and reduced tax rates at a time when it was as needed as it is today. President Ronald Reagan admired Coolidge so much that he hung a portrait of the 30th president in his Cabinet Room."
When Coolidge was governor of Massachusetts in 1919, he stood up to the police unions and ended a police strike in Boston.
"He offered a sharp contrast to then-President Woodrow Wilson, silent and timid on an issue of national importance," Norquist and Gleason write.
Similarly, Walker came onto the national scene in 2011 when he took on the state's government-employee unions. He limited collective-bargaining for the unions as part of his budget-repair plan, sparking riots at the state Capitol and a recall election, which he won.
Coolidge and Walker also share a belief in limited government. Norquist and Gleason write that it was Coolidge's limited government that sparked the prosperity of the 1920s.
America's gross national product rose 4.2 percent a year from 1920 to 1929, the duo writes. "This is impressive growth by 19th-, 20th-and 21st-century standards."
Coolidge cut federal tax rates during his presidential term, and Walker has done the same in Wisconsin.
The top tax rate was cut from 73 percent to 46 percent n 1924 and was reduced to 24 percent before Coolidge left office, the op-ed points out. Walker has said he wants to cut state income tax rates even further in his second term.
"Coolidge’s record and how it compares to what Walker has done in Wisconsin make a strong case for his name to be on the short list of GOP contenders," Norquist and Gleason write.
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