Barb Caffrey's Blog

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Archive for April 12th, 2011

Scott Walker’s first 100 days — Can We Say, “Fiasco?”

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Those of you who do not live in Wisconsin, be glad.  Because that means Scott Walker is not your Governor.

I lead with that tonight because today was the day Scott Walker, the current Governor of the state of Wisconsin, marked his first 100 days in office.   And he was very proud of his accomplishments in “creating jobs” and his “budget-repair bill,” even though the latter is stalled in the courts right now — I know this because he said so on WTMJ-AM, NewsRadio 620 in Milwaukee, WI, this afternoon.

Now, a more balanced and nuanced way to look at Scott Walker’s first 100 days is this article from the LaCrosse Tribune, where the headline says it all:  “Walker’s First 100 Days a Mixed Bag.”  See this link:

Here’s a good quote from that article:

“Walker has pushed through an unprecedented amount of legislation,” said Mike McCabe of the Wisconsin Democracy Campaign, a nonpartisan government watchdog group. “But the way he has gone about it has divided the state in ways I’ve never seen before. And I am just not sure how we get back from where we are now.”

See, that’s where I’d fall on the spectrum — I really don’t know how we go on from here, except by recalling every single last legislator who voted for the noxious “budget-repair bill” in a possibly-illegal vote.

Here’s another quote from the article which I think is quite relevant:

“Things were running along smoothly for about six weeks and then (Walker) took a hard turn to the right and became this incredibly divisive figure,” said Assembly Minority Leader Peter Barca, D-Kenosha. “The honeymoon ended quickly, but he has no one to blame but himself.”

Amen, brother!

At any rate, this is how I see it: we’ve never had eight sitting Republican Senators targeted for recall before.  (As for the eight Dems also being targeted for recall, only three may be recalled.  All eight Rs will be recalled — that is, have to run in recall elections to hold their seats — and at least five will lose their seats in the election.  So far, two Rs — Dan Kapanke of LaCrosse and Randy Hopper of Fond du Lac — have already had the recall signatures turned in to the Government Accountability Board, and we know they definitely will have recall elections.  Because the GAB is not stupid, they are waiting for the other six Rs to reach the required amount of signatures, so all eight recall elections can be run at the same time.)

Here’s the link to the best site on the Web that’s working to recall the Republican 8:

But getting back to what Wisconsinites feel about Walker, there are some people who believe Walker is doing well — not many, but some.  This article from Eau Claire (WEAU) had locals grade Scott Walker; here’s a link:

Now, here’s what the folks said:

“You know, I’d give him an A-minus, and the reason I’d give him an A-minus is that he’s doing the best he can,” says Regla Garcia, adding people should give all politicians their fair chance to do their work.

“I’d say he’s getting like a B-plus. He’s balancing the budget and he’s evening things out,” says Ken Holm, adding that Walker could work on his negotiation skills a little bit more.

“As a former teacher, I know a little bit about grading, and I would give him an F,” says Paul Hoff, mentioning the funding cuts to education and collective bargaining as reasons for Walker’s failures.

“I’d give him a big fat F. I don’t think he’s done what anybody expected him to do,” says Mary Jurmain, who says she plans on leading recall efforts against the governor when he becomes eligible.

Now, notice the two nice scores?  One said Walker needs to “work on his negotiation skills” and the other basically said Walker hasn’t had enough time yet to prove whether he’ll be any good or not.  While the other two were very blunt — they gave Walker Fs, and one said that not only will she work to recall the Governor, she plans to work very hard to recall him and implied that she is looking forward to doing so.

That, in essence, is what Scott Walker has done to Wisconsin.  He has divided my state like no one else; he currently has about a 40% approval rating, with a strong 30% Republican disapproving of his policies — that is, his own party disapproves of him that much.

And that, exactly, is why I say that Walker’s first 100 days have been a flat-out fiasco.

The Democratic Party of Wisconsin (aka WisDems) had this to say today about Scott Walker’s first 100 days, at this link:

And a relevant quote (all of this is from Mike Tate, Democratic Party Chair):

“We knew it was going to be bad, but nobody could have predicted it would be this bad. Scott Walker’s first 100 days in office have been an unqualified disgrace.”

Then, a bit later, the press release goes on with:

“In his first 100 days, Scott Walker has torn Wisconsin in two in a deliberate plot to drive wages and benefits into the dirt and hasten the concentration of power in the hands of the wealthy few.

The good news is that Wisconsin has seen through Scott Walker and his schemes. The working families of Wisconsin are standing up and taking their state back.

Scott Walker’s first 100 days were a disgrace. Let us hope for Wisconsin’s sake he uses the next 100 to change from his disastrous course.”

In case you’re wondering why Mike Tate took such a hard line, perhaps you missed this story about Scott Walker’s major Republican fundraiser Bill Gardner and his money-laundering, who has a plea agreement pending to save him from jail:

This is a story from John Nichols of the Nation; he points out that while Scott Walker was against high-speed rail, he definitely was for this one donor’s rail system — and no wonder, as Gardner illegally funneled thousands of dollars to Walker.  Gardner is going to plead guilty to two felony counts of money-laundering in order to get a suspended sentence; he also will receive a $166,000 fine, while seven employees — those Gardner coerced, mind you, to give money to Walker — are all fined $250 apiece.  This is the largest fine the Government Accountability Board has ever leveled against any single contributor.

Anyway, this only caps off what I already felt about Scott Walker — and let’s not even start about last week’s Supreme Court race, which is still in doubt (the 14,000 votes the Waukesha County clerk found at the last minute has apparently tipped the race to incumbent Justice David Prosser, but the GAB has refused to certify the election and has called clerk Nickolaus “incompetent” thus far), or I’ll really get mad — and that’s this:

Walker must go.  Recall.  Recall.  Recall.**


** You may have noticed that my tag says “Scott Walker, temporary Governor.”  That’s because I firmly believe Walker will be recalled and will be voted out as soon as the recall election is held (in January or February, 2012).  In Wisconsin, we cannot recall a legislator until he has served one full year — but we can start getting signatures in November of this year.  My own state Senator, Van Wanggaard, can and will be recalled at the same time, as I’ve said before due to his own “yes” vote for the “budget-repair” bill that eliminated collective bargaining for public-employee unions despite Wanggaard being a former policeman and police union member.