He tells the Journal Sentinel editorial board Monday that he did a poor job of framing and promoting his collective bargaining changes but he is not responsible for the state's political polarization.
"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,'" Walker said.This tells us a great deal about Walker that is troubling for a powerful, chief executive and the once-proud state he runs.
What actually happened - - what was the first domino and by far heaviest event - - was Walker announcing as a surprise his "budget-repair [sic] bill" that stripped away most public employee collective bargaining rights in the state.
No one saw that coming; Walker himself said to the fake David Koch that he "dropped the bomb" on the public.
The Journal Sentinel had editorially supported his candidacy, but had this to say about how he went about ending state employees' bargaining rights:
"Walker never campaigned on disenfranchising public-employee unions. If he had, he would not have been elected."The reality is that his method, and the message created the outrage that roils Wisconsin today.
Does Walker really not grasp that?
If not, that's a flaw - - if he's doing anything more now than making himself look blameless and evade his responsibilities - - a serious flaw.
He "dropped the bomb" - - his words - - then refused to negotiate with public employee unions that quickly agreed to the economic changes he proposed, meaning Walker got the economic changes he wanted on top of the collective bargaining restrictions that permanently weaken, perhaps even wipe out, the state's public employee union.
Walker's methods were secretive, the follow-through authoritarian, and it all led to a one-sided, non-negotiated outcome.
Walker was Polarizer-in-Chief: the protests in Madison, Democratic Senators removal to Illinois, the Senate recalls, the contentious State Supreme Court race and now the sharply divided Court's devolution into a physical confrontation over its rushed ruling to uphold Walker's original bill all stem from Walker's plans, actions and words.
His gratuitous, 'Don't-Look-At-Me' review of the last six months and its politics only continues the Wisconsin polarization.