But as he prepares for the possibility of taking his winning record into a campaign for president, Walker is running into trouble from an unexpected source: his own overwhelmingly Republican Legislature.
Walker, who’s trying to polish an image of a governor who gets things done efficiently, is confronting lawmakers who want to flex their increased political power by wading into difficult issues, such as right-to-work legislation, to score major conservative victories.
The governor wants no part of it. He wants a buttoned-down agenda centered on the budget and tax cuts, done on a brisk campaign-friendly schedule, and is skirting big showdowns that could take months and bring hordes of protesters back into the streets in Madison, much like the turmoil of his first months in office. Walker enraged labor unions after taking office in 2011 by passing legislation that effectively ended public employee unions’ bargaining rights, sparking weeks of demonstrations and a recall election that Walker survived.
His message about the new right-to-work efforts hasn’t been getting through.