Wednesday, November 2, 2011

The Case For Recalling Scott Walker, Restoring Wisconsin Democracy

With recall petitions eligible for signing later this week - - and certainly in full swing statewide by the 15th - - (information, here and here) - - let's begin to refine the case for cutting Gov. Walker's term to time served.

[Friday update: And if the GOP is any way behind this early filing that gives Walker a jump-start to unlimited fund-raising, add it to my case below.]

I've limited my argument to key actions by Walker that he also abetted and made worse with the heavy-handed use of state power, or through false statements or spin concocted to confuse the public and evade responsibility for his words and deeds, and their consequences.

Recall by the electorate - - a State Constitutional right and duty in perilous times - - should present little fear of the unknown to Walker, as it is the very procedure that paved his path to the Governor's Mansion after succeeding the recalled and discredited Milwaukee County Executive Tom Ament into that office in 2002.

But is Walker, the Eagle Scout, up to the challenge and willing to play fair and square?

Nope: Walker and his lieutenants are trying at this very moment to put in place laws, like petition notarization, designed to delay and gum up the recall procedure just as the game reaches the crucial inning.

So add manipulating the recall process itself for his personal advantage and political survival to the case for Walker's retirement.

Let's start at the beginning:

* He imperiously stripped away in the early days of his Governorship - - with only a 52% electoral, first-term 'mandate' - - a half-century of public employee collective bargaining and threw the state and tens of thousands of middle-class working families into turmoil.
Worse, he had hidden his intention from voters, camouflaged it in a "budget repair" bill, lied about it and got caught, refused to negotiate with unions that immediately acceded to his financial demands, falsely claimed he had openly campaigned on eliminating collective bargaining for public employees and conceded he had not so campaigned only when questioned about it under oath at a Congressional hearing (video, here).
That was The Big Lie - - a classically-deceptive move from a person ill-equipped and undeserving to govern - - that framed his national reputation as lead union-basher, and continues to frame the case for his removal.
* Add this question to the recall case against Walker:
If he is comfortable with his performance and agenda, why is Walker so often unable or unwilling to discuss them honestly?

"PolitiFact" has given Walker "mostly false" ratings. or worse, in 66%, or 24 of 36 statements vetted - - an ugly track record and the most such negatives for a Wisconsin figure this year.
[12/16/11 update: 27 of 39.]
He even earned a "false" rating twice in three days about that claim to have openly campaigned on his plan to go after collective bargaining - - here and here.
How is that possible?
Would you go to a lawyer, doctor, pastor, banker, auto mechanic or local pizza carryout joint with that history?

How can the Chief Executive of any operation be so unfamiliar with straight talk and true facts, or be trusted with substantial responsibilities for a state's credibility, its public resources and other people's lives?

It's evidence of a fundamental lack of moral authority, and illustrates why Walker should not hold the highest office in our state.

And there's more since:
[4/16/2012 update: A fresh "false" brings the ratio to 29-16 false-true. Here's the record:
The frame for Walker's recall is wider:
* He promoted and signed a power-grabbing Voter ID law allegedly to fight [non-existent] voting fraud, when, in fact,  the law - - a basic tool of democracy - - is being turned against the people and their electoral process by restricting registration and voting in areas where he and his Republican legislative allies are weak - - cities and college campuses.

* Walker moved, again through legislation to severely cripple 224 years of public trust management of rivers, lakes, streams and wetlands in Wisconsin in favor of private ownership, intrusion and controls - - again (remember his "modest proposal" in the "budget repair bill" that wiped out nearly all public sector collective bargaining) distorting the intent of the legislation by mislabeling it - - this time as a job-creating measure.
Look at the unfolding mess in Oak Creek, where the DNR in 2008 allowed We Energies to build on a bluff where coal ash had been buried, and now the bluff, vehicles, debris and coal ash are in Lake Michigan. Do we want even less regulation in the public interest where public waters are concerned?
* Even as unemployment rises in Wisconsin, the unimaginative and special-interest driven Walker killed job-creation in clean, green industries.
He served real estate and fossil-fuel business interests' with outlandish rules and restrictions on siting wind turbines, thus blocking hundreds of millions of dollars of wind farm projects in this emerging industry that were ready for installation, yet claiming repeatedly that the state is open for business.

And he forfeited the paid-for $810 million-Milwaukee-Madison Amtrak line. and future connections to a regional high-speed system, thus wiping out years of railroad construction and related employment...then turned around and asked for a big piece of the funding to be returned...then blasted the Obama administration for not sending back the money - - big money, tens of millions and more  - which Walker had had in hand mere weeks earlier. This was an amazing shift of responsibility and a patently duplicitous effort to have it both ways.

* Walker claimed he submitted a no-tax-increase budget, though it raised taxes on some lower-income working households by changing the fine print defining a tax credit for the working poor.

* His budget and subsequent actions heightened class disparities among residents, which is hardly the way a democracy is supposed to work. Walker has given high-earners and businesses in our "broke" state fresh tax breaks...and special services by a revamped Cabinet-level Commerce Department with substantial private-sector involvement...and plans to operate the Department of Natural Resources as a "chamber of commerce"-type agency, too - - but cut programs for lower-income citizens in areas as varied as medical care to school lunches to alcohol-and-drug counseling for students.
* Walker promoted and signed a pointless bill that endangers public safety by allowing the carrying of concealed weapons - - even in the politically-overheated State Capitol. It's a law that panders to the gun lobby, and with rising unemployment, is little more than government by distraction - - 'solving' a problem that doesn't exist while others fester, often through Walker's inattention or sole-proprietorship.
To sum it up: Walker has squandered a year expending considerable amounts of Wisconsin's credibility, quality of life, legal authority, and taxpayer dollars to reward himself with political protections and lavish fresh benefits on the most privileged residents and powerful lobbies in the state, thereby embedding his party power running the Big Government they claim to hate.

And while penalizing everyday families with lesser means and influence.

Three more years of Walker will disable the state. We can't afford it.

Case closed.


Anonymous said...

Your excellent post omits some of this governor's greatest sins against Wisconsin. First, he chose to govern solely on behalf of the slim majority who voted for him -- the rest be damned.

Second, he has badly divided the populace, pitting private sector against public, union against union, rich against poor -- and has done so deliberately.

Third, he took away union bargaining rights not with regret and compassion due to an untenable fiscal situation, but with utter malice and, as the fake David Koch interview shows beyond question, with absolute glee.

Fourth, he has made public employees into scapegoats for the state's fiscal situation, allowing them to be called thugs, scumbags, pigs at the trough leeches, and worse -- never perhaps uttering these words himself, but never
raising a single word of protest when such words were used by others. His utter contempt for public servants could not be more obvious.

Finally, he and his cronies have taken it upon themselves to turn back many decades of Wisconsin heritage and culture. The Wisconsin Idea, they arrogantly decided, was wrong for all these years. Wisconsin simply must
become a sort of low-tax utopia where the wealthy can work their will with our people and our natural resources.

Start early, work hard. Recall Walker.

Ted J. Rulseh
Manitowoc, WI

Anonymous said...

His "outline" consists of more unfounded liberal blather.
1.)Voter rights? Yes if you are registered and have ID to prove it is indeed you casting the vote and which the majority of WI residents support. 2.)Collective bargaining by public employess taken away, supported by 52% of all voters and affecting only 40K union members. Yes,majority rules. 3.)Killed "job creation" in Green Industries? Name one and Solydra and Beacon Power don't count. 4)Increased taxes on the "poor"? Oh really, only taxes I have seen increase are my property taxes to cover Dole's and Madcity bills. 5) Concealed carry endangers public safety? Sources please and feel free to use examples form the 48 other states that have allowed it for years.
Must be a very different world in liberal land where facts don't count for anything and if somethingcan be repeated often enough it MUST be true. Go Gov. Walker! 4 more years!

James Rowen said...

Thanks for the thoughtful comment. I think we're on the same page, particularly on the issue of what I called his heightening of class disparities through the budget and elsewhere.

Bill Sell said...

Thanks, James. Very helpful. Keeping our focus.

Anonymous said...

Excellent post! He has no defense. Recall the political moster now!

Anonymous said...

Anonymous 2 complaining about blathering has made some rather serious and inaccurate assumptions about the voters of Wisconsin. Another falshood spewed from the Walker unrecognized eagle scout camp.

nonquixote said...

Thanks James and commenters, I am making a list into a poster for office volunteers at my county Democratic Party's office.

Anything to enumerate and clarify talking points is most welcome.

I've volunteered to do 12 days as office coordinator during the signature gathering phase. Now is the time for action, don't wish later that you had not sat this one out. Be a part of shaping Wisconsin history.

Post a yard sign, get a bumper sticker, talk up these points that relate most closely to your understanding and circumstances and comfort level.

James Rowen said...

To NQ, and others: Thanks for the feedback.

Even the conservative "Anonymous" who copied his comment verbatim from his comment on a posting, hence the odd beginning with "His "outline"..."

nonquixote said...

To Anon @ 10:54 AM

Talk to the parents of two students in their fourth year in college, (dean's list scholars) who thought they had covered the final year expenses for their children only to each be hit with a demand for an additional $3K for their young adult students to finish school this spring with a degree with highly sought after skills.

Walker calls it cutting spending for higher education and balancing the budget, these low income families know what it is, A TAX INCREASE focused soley on families with children seeking higher education in this state. Please STFU.

Jake formerly of the LP said...

Scott Walker, one year ago tonight- "But to all those others who may not have voted for me, let me be clear, I intend to be governor of the entire state of Wisconsin. No matter where you live, no matter what your background, no matter who you voted for, we all live in Wisconsin together, and we're going to move this state forward together."

This is the biggest lie of them all. Walker has never governed with the well-being of Wisconsinites in mind, but instead only cares for helping the out-of-state corporate interests that pays his bills.

And it's the biggest reason this will be his LAST birthday as Wisconsin's governor.

Reagan's Disciple said...

Fourth, he has made public employees into scapegoats for the state's fiscal situation, allowing them to be called thugs, scumbags, pigs at the trough leeches, and worse -- never perhaps uttering these words himself, but never
raising a single word of protest when such words were used by others. His utter contempt for public servants could not be more obvious.

They earned those titles by their own despicable actions. If you do not want to be called a thug, scumbag etc... then don't behave in that manner. Or, at least come down on your fellow associates who behave that way.

Dawn said...

excellent! but many more are missing. his testimony in front of Congress that union busting (collective bargaining) has nothing to do with a budget. that there was no budget crisis when he took office. that A.L.E.C. wrote the budget - SW doesn't think for himself. SW cares NOTHING about the people, state, or environment. Health care cuts, school cuts, stopping of all ways to cut clean air resources (including cutting jobs where clean air business moved out of state), trying to stop recycling, the lies about jobs being generated (in session now for jobs yet NOTHING is being done about jobs - only ridiculous crap). The tax cuts he promised during his campaign were only for the wealthy and big corps. not people. The unethical, ruthless, brainless, thoughtless tactics hes used since in office. He's not for the people, he's for greed and power.

James Rowen said...

Dawn; Thanks for your additions. Certainly my approach is hardly exclusive. I think the ALEC connections are important, too, and I mentioned the congressional testimony in the context of the true facts about the so-called budget repair bill and his campaign deceit.

Thanks, again, and feel free to peruse the many Walker posts at this blog that go into greater detail.


Brian I said...

I can't believe all union ass kissers and all their whining. Most of the people in this state would prefer that our state employees not be unionized. This amounts to organized crime running our states employees. Unions need to be outlawed for public workers...period. Again the will of the people is about to be hijacked by the unions, and their Democrat minions who cowtow to them and wait for the money, errr the bribes to come down. This countries economy is going to hell. Why? One word, unions. They are making us uncompetitive in this worlds economy. This country needs to be a "right to work" country before we can start our way back to prosperity.

Conor Mccartney said...

If Walker has his way, it won't cost the school district of Middleton $300,000 to fire a teacher who was looking at pornography at school. How Dare Walker!!

Anonymous said...

If Walker has his way, state employees will collect child pornography on their computers while defrauding veterans.... after all, that's what Walker's buddies did in Milwaukee.

Republicans should really pay attention to the John Doe probe, before supporting Walker.