Sunday, August 21, 2011

Don't go for the Walker head fake

Scott Walker is one of the least popular governors in the nation and he recently lost two of his rubber stamps in the state senate. In fact he could lose even more in the coming year. But most importantly, Scott Walker will face a recall next year and he knows it. So it shouldn't be a surprise to anyone that the words "bipartisan" and "cooperation" are being overused by him so much lately. His use of words like this are completely hollow and as always it is more about his own political future.

State Representative Mark Pocan took some of the words right out of my mouth in his recent column for The Progressive. In it he advises us, "Don't Buy Walker's 'Bipartisanship' ". Representative Pocan accurately describes Walker's new rhetoric as doublespeak. He reminds us of just a few things that Walker has actually done that totally betrays the new vocabulary.
Back in February, he divulged a ploy to try to trick Democrats into returning to Wisconsin to vote on his bill. In March he described Democratic calls to negotiate as “ridiculous.” When he testified under oath before Congress, he even said bipartisanship at times was “not so good.”
There is a painfully long list of ways that Scott Walker has acted like a dictator since his regime took over the state. But we can and should look even further back at his long pattern of nasty, destructive and self serving actions often accompanied by happy sounding words.
  • Remember the time when he vetoed the entire Milwaukee County Budget? He certainly wasn't concerned about "cooperation" when he took that drastic action. It was all a gimmick to boost his right wing cred. It was not about the betterment of Milwaukee County, it was not about the budget, it certainly was not an example of cooperation or bipartisanship. As usual it was all about Scott.
  • For his entire time as Milwaukee County Executive he refused to "cooperate" on $91.5 million in long idle federal transit funds. He may have repeatedly talked about reaching an agreement for the use of the funds but his actual unwillingness allowed no real movement. In fact the money sat unused even as the Milwaukee County Transit system fell apart on his watch. His politically motivated stalling also blocked the City of Milwaukee from being able to move forward on its own transit agenda. Eventually Mayor Barrett and others (not including Walker) helped broker a deal. After the deal was made the Milwaukee County Board Chairman said that he was disappointed that Walker's "...inability to negotiate a compromise reduced the county's share by more than $9 million..."
I'm convinced that it is simply in Scott Walker's political DNA to wear a happy face just long enough to stab you in the back. He has consistently shown that it is all about him and he will do anything to achieve his own political ambition. In fact you can even trace this kind of dirty dealing back as far as his college days.
  • As he was running for student government president at Marquette University he declared that he would "rather take the high road and see where that leads me" while at the very same time he was found to have violated campaign rules. [Marquette Tribune, "Walker admits violating campaign rules at YMCA", 2/24/88]
  • During the same campaign the campus paper described Scott Walker as being "unfit" for office. During his interview with the paper he refused to smear his opponent but behind the scenes his campaign was busy circulating materials filled with what the paper described as "character assassination". While Walker smiled in the paper's face his campaign was busy throwing away armfuls of their publication. [Marquette Tribune, "Revision - Walker unfit", 2/24/88]
The bottom line here is that Scott Walker is still the same deceptive self interested person that he was back then. He may smile in your face and use happy words but you can never trust him. Hopefully legislators and others will not be taken in by Walker's new vocabulary. He certainly hasn't earned the bipartisan "merit badge" so why in the world would you loan him yours?

Don't go for the Walker head fake.

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