Scott Walker has denied that he or anyone in his administration is working on a law like the one recently approved in neighboring Michigan by a like-minded, newly-elected conservative Republican Governor that allows the state to take over a financially-failed municipality, end union contracts and kick out the elected officials.
Walker says the story is false, but that won't make it go away.
In fact, that the more Walker denies it, the more people will believe the opposite, and that conundrum is entirely his fault because he has demonstrated for months that he lacks the moral authority to lead and persuade.
These are four main reasons Walker can't be convincing on this issue:
1. He said job creation was his number-one goal, but that took a back seat to his union-busing bill that set off a political revolution in the state. Whether he wants or needs a Michigan-style takeover bill, it dovetails with and echoes much of what Walker has done in his first 100 days and why he has become a national figure.
2. He has quickly racked up a stunning list of demonstrably false statements on major positions and proposals:
That the state is broke.
That cutting children from Medicaid was a valid budget alternative should public employees refuse to make concessions.
That Wisconsin employers repeatedly said they needed tort reform as a job-creator.
That 98% of small businesses in Wisconsin would qualify for a tax break plan.
That he campaigned on ending collective bargaining.
That his plan kept bargaining rights intact.
That most of the Capitol protesters against his anti-collective bargaining bill were out-of-staters.
That he hadn't told the fake David Koch in the taped prank call anything he hadn't said publicly.
So it's going to take more than a Tweet like the one below to turn public opinion:
3. When he says one thing, he means another:
Walker on more than one occasion tried to sugar-coat his radical and nationally-consequential union-busting bill as a "modest proposal," and, in fact, included in his so-called "budget repair bill" items like mandatory union re-certification elections that had zero impact on the state budget deficit - - a deceit so blatant that Walker was forced, under oath - - video here - - to admit to it during an appearance at a US House of Representatives subcommittee hearing.
These rhetorical examples are piling up and now constitute a separate series on this blog.
4. The administration and office Walker assures us are not working on the Michigan-style law - - and that doesn't rule out think tanks or consultants readily available to do the work outside the scope of his statement and the Open Records law - - has demonstrated an ability to bend the truth and play with facts and data when it sees fit to do so.
Exhibit A: Issuing a news release and holding a photo op about creating 125 jobs through a state grant already announced by former Gov. Jim Doyle five months ago.
So the Michigan story will continue to have legs.
A nice accounting of the controversy is over at Erik Gunn's blog in a very meaty column.