Regardless of who is president, it is hard to imagine Scott Walker leaving office for a position in diplomacy, as one of his predecessors did. If the new guv has made any conciliatory gestures towards those who aren't on his team, they've taken place behind firmly closed doors.
Supported by large Republican majorities in the legislature, Walker's message has become even more aggressive since the election. For instance, his suggestion to do away with state union bargaining rights was entirely absent from his gubernatorial campaign.
Some speculate that Walker's ambitious push is risky. Maybe, but he has yet to propose anything that is radically unpopular with the public. And unlike President Obama, who entered office with similarly comfortable legislative majorities, Walker's party will likely follow their leader in lockstep, preventing the type of disunity that wrought havoc on the Democrats during debate over health care.
Nevertheless, Walker has big enemies. But who are the ones who count most? The Chippewa Herald lists a few groups he's angered:
Rail proponents, who believe the rail project would have been an economic boon for the state.
Public employee union members, who have been told their bargaining rights might be severely curtailed unless workers agree to greater financial concessions in their next contracts.
Commerce employees, who will have to reapply for their jobs if the public-private partnership is approved.
Local government officials, who are worried that they will be footing the bill for services when Walker and the Legislature cut state taxes.
While the public opinion may not be on their side now, unions have the money and are willing to spend whatever necessary to try to shift the public perception as Walker and the GOP begin their anti-union push. AFSCME and other state unions will be getting help from the national chapter of the AFL-CIO to prevent Wisconsin from barring state unions and/or making it a right-to-work state.
Behind-the-scenes, local governments will be putting pressure on Republican legislators to oppose some of Walker's inevitable cuts to shared revenue. Many of the freshman Republicans, knowing they are vulnerable, may bend to it and pose a problem for Walker and the GOP leadership when it comes time to write the budget.
And of course, liberal issue advocates will be energized in their effort to bring down the new governor. If Walker's killing of the train weren't bad enough, the smugness he exhibited in the aftermath made the blood of every Madison environmental activist boil.
However, Walker's biggest enemy will ultimately be the slow economic recovery. Wisconsin's unemployment rate is already better than the national average, and hiring will most likely steadily increase over the next year. But road back to pre-2009 levels is a long one, and the longer it persists, the less likely it is Walker will be able to implement the vast array of tax cuts he promised, and the more likely he will be forced to make politically damaging cuts to state services.