Walker budget deficit not special, but right-to-wreck law is extraordinary | WisCommunity

Walker budget deficit not special, but right-to-wreck law is extraordinary

Wisconsin Republicans all the way up to Scott Walker are quickly re-establishing themselves as liars, hypocrites and opportunists of the first rank in their contrary approaches to the state’s current budget deficit and their rush toward a so-called “right to work” law (it’s more like a “right to wreck” law).

Consider just a few facts:

1. Republicans from Walker on down seem unconcerned about the state’s constitutional requirement that a projected deficit obliges the governor to call a special session of the legislature to make fixes to the state budget. That, apparently, would be too embarassing for the nationally ambitious Walker, who paints himself as a fiscal conservative. Republicans in charge of both houses of the legislature have sat silently while the Walker administration insist the budget will magically fix itself without legislative action -- even while Team Walker is busy off camera freezing state employee merit raises, skipping payments on state debt and otherwise racing around in apparent panic trying to close a quarter-billion-dollar gap before July.

2. But all those Republicans right on up to Walker are down good with calling an EXTRAORDINARY SESSION (that’s it’s official name) of the legislature in order to do exactly one thing: Push the onerous “right to wreck” law through to quick passage.

3. Repubs are so intent on jamming their right-to-wreck measure into law as soon as possible that they’re using the highly unusual step of calling the extraordinary session to speed the process. Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald actually said out loud that the maneuver would limit minority Democrats from using delaying tactics available to them in a regular session. God forbid our GOP lawmakers would actually champion having a serious, two-sided debate on this or any other issue. Let’s git’r done, before people have time to realize what it really is that we’re gittin’ done.

4. In the course of his nearly lifelong adult career as an elected public official, Walker has now gone from a back-bencher in the ‘90s legislature introducing a right-to-work bill; to 2010 when he assured major campaign contributor Diane Hendricks (a billionaire who is the richest woman in Wisconsin) that his then-as-yet-unannounced move to gut collective bargaining for public employees would be a first step in a planned “divide and conquer” campaign to make Wisconsin a “right to work” state; to saying in later campaign debates that “right to work” legislation would never reach his desk; to saying last fall that such legislation was “not on my agenda”; to suddenly announcing this week that he’ll sign such a bill after GOP lawmakers vote to enact it. Clear as mud from our state’s passive-aggressive, shifty-winds governor.

Apparently, if the legislature enacts the measure, Walker feels compelled to sign it because the representatives of the people have spoken, even though it’s “not my agenda.” Right. And if the Democratic Party regained control of the legislature and enacted measures Walker didn’t like, he wouldn’t try to use his veto? Fat chance. All of this twisting and gyrating is obviously nothing more than protective camouflage designed to convince national voters in the 2016 presidential campaign that Walker is more moderate than he really is, and not that right-wing aggressor against private labor unions, a move which led to some of the largest public demonstrations in state history, spawning the “occupy” movement and similar protests in other countries, and created lasting enmity and polarization here back home.

And just where, exactly, is the home-grown impetus demanding such drastic, blitzkrieg action? Is there a highly visible, grass-roots uprising in Wisconsin demanding another legislative assault on labor unions? No. Rather, Walker and the state GOP again are taking their cues from big business and national conservative outfits like the Koch brothers and ALEC, the American Legislative Exchange Council, a politically correct outfit that pushes one-size-fits-all, poorly crafted and self-serving legislative drafts on lazy, under-informed and special-interest-minded state Republicans. Indeed, the lingo in the pending right-to-work legislation comes largely unaltered from ALEC boilerplate. Who’s running this state, anyway? And which other states do they come from?

So, if you need deep, wise and thoughtful thinking on public policy issues, don’t look to Wisconsin Republicans. On the other hand, if you need a ton of eager volunteers wielding cookie cutters to stamp out tons of confections, call up those guys. But give them hefty amounts of your dough, or they simply won’t show.

What else could any thoughtful voter make of this entire GOP bamboozle-palooza other than that you simply can’t trust anything Republicans say, or their posturing toward inclusiveness? Especially if it’s Walker making patently bogus pledges and promises.

The nation’s greatest Republican politician needed just a few plain-talk phrases 150 years ago to make mincemeat of the kind of politician represented by Walker and the current crop of Wisconsin GOP connivers. Said Abe Lincoln: "If a man tells you he loves America but he hates labor, he is a liar."  Sounds like Scott Walker, all right.

What’s happening today in Wisconsin and other states is a corporate assault on worker rights, contrived as a “let’s you and him fight” game in which compliant Republicans rig the rules and let workers have at it among themselves while wages and workplace rights continue to decline. It’s certainly one way an ethically and even legally corrupt political party might remain in power, but as history instructs, it will not be a lasting victory.


February 21, 2015 - 8:34pm