Talking Points Memo: National Republicans Rally Around Scott Walker

March 16, 2011- Ahead of yesterday's House vote to fund the federal government, Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY) painted the Republicans rebelling against Speaker John Boehner from the right as Scott Walker Republicans — uninterested in compromise, single-minded in pursuit of a right-wing policy agenda.

The statement quickly diffused through the Capitol, and Rep. Mike Pence (R-IN) — an influential conservative and former Republican leader, who voted against the spending measure — took kindly to it. On Twitter, Pence joked, "Sen. Schumer called us 'Scott Walker Republicans?' That's the nicest thing anybody has said about me in a long time!"

Turns out this is a view shared by both the so-called "Scott Walker Republicans" themselves, and Republicans who voted to pass the compromise plan.

Rep. Jack Kingston (R-GA), who supports a grand bargain on spending, and voted with his leadership, put it bluntly. "I understand why Schumer would fear Scott Walker," Kingston said in a brief interview in the Speaker's Lobby, just off the House floor. "That's his — what he doesn't understand is that's a pretty damn good compliment so people will take that."

On the other side of the GOP divide, Rep. Steve King (R-IA), who strongly opposes passing any spending measure unless it's used as leverage to gut the health care law, had a similar view. "If I had to choose, I'd a lot rather be Scott Walker than Schumer," King told me. "I don't take that as an insult, and there are a lot more that are sympathetic and in Scott Walker's favor in our own conference."


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