Polar opposites: Walker on thin ice once again | Wis.Community

Polar opposites: Walker on thin ice once again

[img_assist|nid=55543|title=The real truth hurts|desc=|link=none|align=left|width=183|height=86]You've got to hand it to Republicans for staying on message even when the message is demonstrably, factually wrong. In his session with the editorial board of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, Scott Walker wondered aloud about the big, statewide spring protests that attracted worldwide notice, and the continuing battle of wills between Republicans and everyone else. Gov. Scott-free:

"Where has the polarization come from? Where have the attacks come from? They haven't come from what we said. People may not agree with it. But when you look at the tone of the debate, it's largely been driven by the groups from the outside. I said to the teachers, 'I never attacked."

This is utterly wrong on so many levels, you have no choice but to believe the man is either the least self-aware politician in America or a totally crafty if clumsy ideologue. His rhetoric belies these facts:

1. Polls show Walker's favorability ratings way down in the state often conclude that HE has become the single most polarizing figure in the state. That polarization didn't emerge without discernible cause from a naked black hole; it emerged from Walker's own proposals and the way he shoved them down everyone's throats without warning. Moreover, he foresaw that coming polarization (see below).

2. Walker continues to echo the GOP red herring that most of the protesters were imported union people and that the protests were somehow controlled and organized by "big union bosses" and that well-known socialist svengali, Barack Obama. Well, I am just one of many people who attended the protests who can tell you that those huge croweds represented an amazing cross-section of Wisconsin residents, and that union members from in or out of state were only at best a plurality of everyone in sight.

Sorry, Scotty: Students, little old ladies and babies are not rank-and-file labor. Another reason you continue to talk through your hat: Unlike Richard Nixon in D.C.'s Vietnam-era protests, you didn't leave the comfy confines of your limo, mansion or well-appointed office to sit down outdoors and chat up the demonstrators in the vain but honorable hope of understanding where you went wrong. Nope, you studiously avoided them, and ignored them whenever they caught up with you. Nothing to be learned from 100,000 people marching circles around you, apparently.

Beyond that, did Republicans like Walker ever similarly stipulate that imported tea party protesters -- egged on and subsidized by outfits like former GOP congressman Dick Armey's political front group -- de-legitimized earlier, ultraconservative protests in Wisconsin and elsewhere? Nope. And beyond that, we once again had those public opinion polls, which showed a large disaffection for Walker, Republicans and their policies among Wisconsin voters, the vast majority of whom are not members of public or private labor unions. You can't have it both ways, unless you're Scott Walker.

3. As for Walker's casual reference to the tone of the debate being set by (insert ominous music cue and lift pinky finger to upper lip) "the groups from the outside": Well, okay, but only if Walker means "outside the Capitol," where the self-delusion and crafty rhetoric of the GOP bosses continue to this very moment. Furthermore, most of the fiery tone emanated from Republicans, who constantly referred to violent, pushy, unkempt "mobs," when any rational observer could observe almost none of that, except in the GOP's own press utterances, caucuses and "open" meetings -- little of which offered (ahem!) any debate whatsoever.

Indeed, in his session with the editors, Walker again stipulated that well before he issued a single budget measure, he expected trouble. Yet he decided not to clue the public in earlier on his plans, lest he give opponents -- including swing voters last November -- advance notice of his draconian intent. Indeed, this expectation, coupled with the way Walker secretly pursued his agenda, bespeaks a reckless disregard for public safety and reasoned debate. Walker admits he knew beforehand that his agenda and tactics would be unpopular and would polarize the state. But he pursued them anyway and now blames the other side for "polarizing" the "debate." That, and earlier revelations that he had made contingency plans to call out the National Guard, forces reasonable observers to conclude that he was on some level trying to make trouble.

4. Walker "never attacked"? Well, maybe not verbally, but he didn't have to. His proposed legislation to gut public employee bargaining rights and strip hundreds of millions in compensation from public employees was attack enough. Anyone who read the words of his measure could easily see his "attack." As Nixon's attorney general John Mitchell once famously said, "Don't watch what we say, watch what we do." The state and nation listened in after the fact as Walker told a fake Koch brother on the phone how he "dropped the bomb" on an unsuspecting public.

Now, Walker tells the Journal Sentinel editors (who, by the way, don't seem to have offered a similar invitation to anyone on the side of organized labor, or even just anyone in the elected political opposition) that lawmakers can "start getting back to things people really care about."

As if gutting municipal and public school aids by a ten-figure sum, or running a Humvee through the state's environmental regulations, or giving away millions in tax breaks to corporations while cutting medical assistance to the poor are all thing people really don't care about. People like Walker, yeah.

Published

June 28, 2011 - 1:05pm

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