Thursday, January 27, 2011

In Obama's Shadow, Walker's Extreme Politics Revealed

What a contradiction: an upbeat, eminently reasonable President Barack Obama speaks to the Congress and the nation Tuesday night about creating jobs through modern train construction and clean energy innovation - - then within hours, finds himself in a Wisconsin political time warp, where new Gov. Scott Walker has canceled both a federally-funded train between the state's two largest cities and a proposed, biomass generating station in downtown Madison, too.

Additionally, Obama then tours a wind turbine plant in Manitowoc, yet Walker is proposing what has been called the most restrictive wind turbine construction law in the country: Illinois would like to have Wisconsin's new wind turbine businesses, as it got a portion of Wisconsin's rail funding and could get the train maker that had set up an assembly factory in Milwaukee in just the last few months.

Green jobs? Not in Wisconsin.

Jobs for political and industry insiders?

Now you're talking: Walker has installed people at the helm of the state Department of Natural Resources who have close ties to the very businesses that have fought the agency over regulations designed to balance private property ownership with the public interest and trust.

Wetlands are also now eligible for filling in a new, Walker deregulated scheme, with more rule-making headed for a simpler Walker check-off: independent reviewers need not be consulted.

Walker's assault on rule-making and the DNR are outside the mainstream of Wisconsin history and principles, and erase the separation of powers, too.

His attack on new, green businesses, the cleaner air and water they would create and the jobs they will add is motivated by pure special interest obesiance.  It's dense and small-minded, a petty sop to road-builders, fossil fuels and real estate interests that donated to his campaign.

He's handed a powerful, old-boys network the keys to the castle, and with the President in town, what an embarrassment for the state where Gaylord Nelson and John Muir and Aldo Leopold made their marks.

So Obama leaves with a Packers jersey presented by our Governor: Oh, the fun and games and photo ops for Walker - - paling around with the President whom Walker wants to defeat, but what an contrast in substance, maturity and sheer heft arises when their attitudes and achievements are seen side-by-side, with Walker getting what he deserves, but what we don't: the short end of the stick.

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