I view it as both a pity and a personal failing that I did not get around to publishing something like this earlier; with the recall election less than a month away, I fear this information will be far too late for many. However, any documentation of the worst and most dangerous Governor of my home state of Wisconsin is surely a good thing.
For this particular article, I won’t go into documenting all of the many, many, many, many, many shortcomings and outright failings of Scott Walker; I’ll take another tack and ask “What good has Walker done?”, an obvious rhetorical question if ever there was one.
I’ve yet to hear – and it’s not from lack of listening – even one reason to support Governor Walker that is both a) articulate, and b) based in reality. No, more often than ought to be tolerated in a representative democracy, Walker-backers will recite with disconcerting word-for-word precision a litany of talking points, unable to be bothered to alter the verbiage even a little bit, at least to give the illusion that they’ve given any serious thought to the matter.
The two most common “reasons” (kind of sullies the root meaning of the word, no?) I’ve heard put forth are: ‘Walker balanced the budget’ and ‘Walker took on the greedy unions’. I’ll take these on in order.
‘Walker balanced the budget’:
This claim is usually, in fact, in my personal experience, always, stated as a self-obvious fact, no evidence to back up the claim need be given. As is usually the case when evidentiary requests are scornfully dismissed, this claim is patently false. In other words, this claim is articulate – it is clear and concise in terms of Walker actually doing something – but it is not based in fact: http://thewheelerreport.com/releases/January12/0118/0118richardslfb.pdf
Yes, in spite of the fact that Walker supposedly “balanced the budget”, surprise, surprise: maths is hard for the WI GOP. He keeps needing to move money around and redirect funds meant for other things (usually those bothersome and whiny poors, see 3rd ‘many’ above) to plug up holes as his budget continues to be chipped away at by the rigors of reality.
‘Walker took on the unions’:
This claim is sort of the opposite of the first claim: it is based in fact, no one can question the fact that he initiated and conducted a planned attack on collective bargaining rights. But here the claim is not articulate. Ask a supporter to clarify what it means to “take on the unions” and you receive, through much teeth-gnashing and foot-shuffling, little more than the results of a sort of Rorschach test for the conservative individual’s personality – often a rich tapestry of persecution complex, fear of ridicule, anxiety regarding the unknown and/or unfamiliar, and the like. Generally variations of the theme of fear – what a shock, who would have thought it? That, and the odd certainty that if only employees were willing to settle for much less compensation, their employers would be so touched as to reward them with more. What a beguiling notion.
A third claim, the talking point all the rage among Wisconsin teabaggers at the moment has to do with Wisconsin adding 20,000 jobs over the past twelve months rather than losing 30,000, as standard metrics indicate. Even if Walker’s numbers hold true, they are statistics in a vacuum – how do these numbers compare to the numbers from other states? Who knows; no other state has released these numbers yet. And that’s point, really; just throwing out a number that can be parroted ad nauseam, context be damned. Because if most other states added 40 – 60,000 jobs or more in the same time period – and the country seems to be heading in the direction that this is a likelihood – once again Wisconsin’s job numbers don’t look so hot and Walker appears less than competent. To say nothing of the fact that the numbers Walker is flouting are a measly 10% of the quarter of a million he was promising while being one-fourth of the way through his term; judge him by the economy, he has been rumored to remark (although I prefer to judge him based on his contempt for rules and the company he keeps). I could also go on about the quality of jobs being “created” under his suspect environmental, pay scale, and giving-away-taxpayer-money-to-corporations-like-it’s-penny-candy policies, but I’ll save that for another day, lest I be accused of ‘moving the goalposts’, as I recently was, for having the gall to desire not only quantity but also quality in the growth of our economy, for insisting upon a solid foundation of sound economic policy upon which the much vaunted “job creators” – these apparently very meek and timid titans of industry, our economic saviors – might construct these jobs, less the edifice crumble and scatter to the shifting economic winds.