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The New, Improved Governor

Jan. 22, 2013
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So, is it possible there’s a new, improved, more moderate Gov. Scott Walker who’d like to teach Wisconsin to sing in perfect harmony and wants to buy the world a Coke?

Naaaaah. There’s no reason to think he’s suddenly become the real thing. In the second half of his term, don’t expect Walker to be any more nutritious or to contain half the calories of our regular governor, either.

It’s all about marketing.

Those of us who’ve watched Walker up close had trouble for a while reconciling his pleasant, low-key personality with the vicious, extreme actions he took to destroy decades of individual rights and bipartisan agreements when he became governor.

But that innocuous State of the State speech Walker gave pretending he’ll avoid divisive issues from now on and focus on his failure to create jobs wasn’t really any different from the bland, Eagle Scout facade he’s always adopted in public.

In his campaign for governor, Walker never once said he intended to smash union bargaining rights for public employees.

Neither did Walker ever mention presiding over corrupt redistricting to enable Republicans to win a majority in both houses of the Legislature and in Congress even when more voters in the state vote for Democrats, as they did in November.

Instead, Walker talked about something no one would dispute, the need to create jobs. He even made up an exact number he promised to deliver—250,000 jobs in four years.

It was only behind closed doors in a telephone call with someone he mistakenly thought was a billionaire campaign contributor that Walker ruthlessly described his war on workers. “I dropped the bomb,” Walker boasted.

During the shooting of a documentary film, Walker was caught in another private moment with a billionaire campaign donor—a real one this time. He described his strategy of “divide and conquer” to ultimately turn Wisconsin into a low-wage, right-to-work state by first destroying public unions before moving on to private unions.

Evidently, if you want to know what Walker really plans to do, you have to be a billionaire.


‘We Suck. We’re Bad.’

Walker’s no more believable now than he was the last time he promised to create jobs. Walker already had a special legislative session on jobs, remember?

But what that really meant was handing out more than $2 billion in tax breaks and giveaways to wealthy individuals and corporations supporting his election,

The other right-wing definition of action to create jobs is to destroy environmental protections businesses would prefer not to follow.

So far, those fraudulent jobs measures have created a pathetic 37,000 of those promised 250,000 jobs. Walker’s only concrete jobs plan is trying to pass a bill written by the mining industry to bring environmentally destructive open pit mining to Wisconsin.

Walker paraded out allegedly unemployed miners and pretended he was ready to put them to work.

Those folks shouldn’t hold their breath. Not only wouldn’t a mining law create any jobs in Walker’s first term, but it’s also unlikely to employ anyone in the four years after that.

Wisconsin Manufacturers and Commerce, the state’s powerful business lobby, estimates it would take at least five to seven years for a mining law to create a single job and probably longer when the lawsuits start flying.

In a cruel twist, Walker promises to reduce the number of Wisconsinites on unemployment even if he fails to produce jobs. He’s proposing tightening unemployment rules to make it more difficult for unemployed workers to receive any benefits.

As the national economy recovers elsewhere, Walker’s Wisconsin ranks 47th out of the 50 states in entrepreneurial activity.

In a rare honest moment from the administration, Lisa Johnson, vice president of Walker’s Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation, said of the ranking in an interview with The Capital Times: “We suck. We’re bad.”

The root of Wisconsin’s poor job growth is Walker’s failed right-wing ideology. Everyone else has learned that giving millions to people at the top doesn’t trickle down to help ordinary working people. The rich just get richer and working people get trickled down upon.

Walker never acknowledges the economic consequences of his enormous budget cuts. It’s basic supply and demand. With Walker’s budget taking money out of the pockets of people throughout the state with layoffs, forced retirements and union wage cuts, Wisconsinites have less to spend on goods and services.

Demand is what drives a healthy economy. The more goods and services people can buy, the more people businesses hire to produce even more goods and services, and up and up. Private job growth is slower when it’s offset by laying off teachers and public employees at every level of government. 

Walker’s latest image is just marketing aimed at state or possibly national elections.

That’s too bad. Wisconsin could really use a new Scott Walker right now because we can’t believe a word this one says.


Would white supremacists, neo-Nazis and the Ku Klux Klan pose the same threat they do now if a mainstream Republican were president instead of Donald Trump?

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