Mitt Romney didn’t get the endorsement of David Walker easily. In fact, earlier this year Walker, the former head of the Government Accountability Office under Presidents Clinton and George W. Bush, was openly flirting with running for president as an independent candidate, sounding a Paul Revere–like alarm about the federal debt. He might even have had significant resources from the likes of New York mayor Michael Bloomberg and financier Pete Peterson.
But Walker now says the dismal fiscal record of the Obama administration — especially his refusal to take seriously the report of the Simpson-Bowles Commission — has compelled him to support Romney.
“I believe that Governor Mitt Romney is the clear choice for president,” Walker wrote in today’s Washington Times. “He has proven leadership ability in all sectors of our economy.” In the spring, Walker had been equally critical of both candidates telling MSNBC that neither man has “a credible plan to restore fiscal sanity.”
Walker has always been a difficult figure for conservatives to fully embrace. He thrills them with warnings such as “America now owes more than Americans are worth — and the gap is growing!” At the same time, he warns that conservatives will have to accept significantly higher taxes to close the debt chasm — something supply-siders view as akin to applying leeches to cure a patient.
Walker is not well known, but in business circles he has a sterling reputation as a truth-teller. A former global managing director of Arthur Andersen, he has bipartisan policy cred. He was assistant secretary of labor for pensions and benefits during the Reagan administration, and in 1998 he was appointed to head the Government Accountability Office, where he spent the next decade issuing reports trying to stem waste, fraud, and abuse in government.
President Obama has tried to claim that Romney’s economic program “doesn’t add up . . . it’s basic math.” For someone of Walker’s stature and credibility to endorse Romney is a sign to independent — and serious — voters that it’s the president who needs some remedial instruction in math.