Barb Caffrey's Blog

Writing the Elfyverse . . . and beyond

Why Scott Walker is Still Bad For WI

with 3 comments

It’s two days before the June 5, 2012, recall election against sitting Governor Scott Walker, sitting Lieutenant Governor Rebecca Kleefisch, and against four Republican state Senators (three sitting, one who has already resigned), including my own Republican state Senator, Van Wanggaard.  Basically, everything that can be said about the recalls — why I favor them, why I believe they are necessary and are a form of democracy in action — has been said.

But one thing I realized when reading over my previous blog, “Scott Walker: Bad for Wisconsin” is this — for whatever reason, I didn’t define why I felt Walker was bad for Wisconsin.  Instead, I reflected upon all of the divisive things Walker did early in 2011 which caused a great deal of harm to public discourse and civility in Wisconsin, and hoped my views would be clear.

But in case it wasn’t, let’s try again.  

Since Scott Walker was elected in November of 2010, he has divided this state in harmful, self-aggrandizing ways.  He has not used his “bully pulpit” to good effect, as he could’ve explained why he wanted the so-called reforms as propagated by Act 10 (which repealed collective bargaining for public employee unions, something Wisconsin had since the late 1950s) rather than just do it by fiat.  After Walker used his power to make such a drastic change, he proceeded to get upset because the 14 Democratic Wisconsin Senators left the state in an effort to delay Act 10 by any means necessary as the Wisconsin Assembly had already shown indications of passing Act 10.  The “Wisconsin 14” did this to promote civic — and civil — discourse, because if they hadn’t left the state, Act 10 would’ve been approved within days of Walker “dropping the bomb” on the state’s voters; by leaving the state, every single voter in the state was able to become informed.

At this point, Scott Walker and his Lt. Gov., Rebecca Kleefisch, went on various right-wing talk shows, including many at the Fox News Channel, to discuss these “modest reforms” — things that were no such thing — and to say that the “Wisconsin 14” were a bunch of low-lifes who refused to “compromise” with Walker, the Republican Senate Majority Leader, Scott Fitzgerald, or the Republican Speaker of the Assembly, Jeff Fitzgerald (brother of Scott).  This was classic Orwellian doublespeak on the part of Walker and Kleefisch; while Kleefisch, to a degree, could be excused for this because her position as Lt. Gov. has very little power, there was no excuse for what Walker said, nor for how he said it.

As we all know now, the Wisconsin Republican Senators eventually passed SB 10 by the vote of 18-1 in order to make Act 10 the law in Wisconsin.  (The lone dissenting vote was Dale Schultz of Richland Center.)  Some of the Republican Senators, including my own Van Wanggaard, had strong ties to unions — Wanggaard being a former policeman and past union representative — yet apparently had no qualms about stripping other union members of their rights, probably because police and firefighters had been exempted from Act 10’s “union-stripping” provisions.

After the Senate Rs did this, the Wisconsin 14 came home to a deeply divided state, where Scott Walker, Rebecca Kleefisch, the Fitzgerald brothers, etc., still said one thing and did something else.  But the people on the ground (like me) who at that time weren’t affiliated with either party were outraged.  Nine Senators — six Republicans and three Democrats — faced recall elections.  Of those, four Rs and all three Ds were retained, while two Rs were tossed from office and officially recalled.

That, of course, was far from the end of the story, as in November of 2011 four more Senate recalls and the recall of Walker and Kleefisch started.  Recall petitioners were told that we’d “never get” enough signatures, but we proved the naysayers wrong; ultimately, Walker, Kleefisch, Wanggaard, Scott Fitzgerald, and two other state Senators were recalled.

If you’ve read my blogs thus far, you know all this.  You probably also know that Scott Walker has gone to more out-of-state functions than any other one-year Governor in the history of Wisconsin.  He’s raised 60 to 70% of his campaign donations from out-of-state donors, some from extremely wealthy men and women.  You probably even know that in some quarters, Walker is viewed as a hero, of all things, because he “refused to back down” when the unions “told (him) where to go.”

The only part of those beliefs that’s true is that Walker refused to back down about anything.  But what people who insist on “standing with Walker” fail to realize is that Walker set this whole thing into motion himself — it’s not just the way he did things, which was execrable, but what he did that caused this whole mess.

All of this leads me to only one conclusion: Scott Walker is still very bad for Wisconsin.  Because Walker has shown that he cannot and will not compromise with anyone, he’s shown he’s incapable of being Governor — a job where compromise is a must.  And if Walker is retained on Tuesday, we in Wisconsin will be looking at more pain, more problems, and more frustration, as Walker will view this election as yet another mandate to do whatever he likes, even if he wins by .0001% of the vote.

That’s why I urge my fellow Wisconsinites to vote for Tom Barrett on Tuesday, June 5.  Vote for Mahlon Mitchell as your next Lieutenant Governor, and for those of you in Racine County’s District 21, vote for John Lehman as your next Senator.  All three men are moderates who will work to restore civility to Madison, which is why we need all three of them to be elected on June 5.

*****************

Edited to add:  John Nichols explains very clearly why Scott Walker should be recalled and replaced here Here’s a few words from his compelling and cogent blog:

Elected officials weren’t supposed to campaign on one set of themes and govern on another. They weren’t supposed to “divide and conquer” the state. They weren’t supposed to collect $500,000 checks from billionaires, and gather most of their campaign money in other states. They weren’t supposed to have criminal defense funds.

Amen, brother!

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3 Responses

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  1. I think Mahlon Mitchell is a very handsome man. I also love the fact that he’s a firefighter and a family guy.

    likamarie

    June 4, 2012 at 12:57 am

    • I like Mitchell, too. His campaign commercials were honest, succinct, and refreshing during a time of consistently negative ads. Hope he wins.

      Barb Caffrey

      June 4, 2012 at 8:38 pm

  2. […] I don’t think Scott Walker is the answer, […]


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