Friday, November 29, 2013

Magazine Columnist Missed Walker's Sucker Punch

The "Lexington" columnist David Rennie, writing in The Economist this week, profiled Scott Walker and assessed his presidential bona fides.

Rennie is the magazine's DC bureau chief, has been writing the column since September, 2012, but misreads Wisconsin and American history if he really believes Walker "has a knack for economic populism."

Here is a link to the piece - -  and I will organize my objections around this line from the piece:

After Mr Walker announced plans to curb collective bargaining for state workers, the state capitol was besieged for months by thousands of protesters." 
"Announced plans" omits what really happened - - and why Walker has more of a knack for opaque scheming that democratic, populist practice. 

*  Walker did more than 'announce plans.' He sprung a set of unexpected and unprecedented bills (now state law) and said their revelation was when he "dropped the bomb." (See Walker's remarks in the transcript of Ian Murphy's infamous taped phone call.)

Even The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, a paper that endorsed Walker for Governor in 2010 and in the 2012 gubernatorial recall election, said Walker was wrong to have withheld the bomb from voters:

Walker never campaigned on disenfranchising public-employee unions. If he had, he would not have been elected. He got a spare 52% of the vote - hardly a mandate for what he is trying to do.
No wonder PolitiFact rated Walker's claim "False" that he had campaigned on a platform to wipeout collective bargaining.

* Note also Walker disclosed to his largest donor his a "divide-and-conquer" labor strategy.

Does that indicate "A knack for economic populism?" 


*  And the column's description of describing Walker's approach as "plans to curb collective bargaining" also sanitizes the extent of the measures.

Under the news labor laws, only proposed salary raises locked that do not exceed 1% annually remain as the allowable vestige of 50 years of economic and workplace bargaining, with union elections impossibly hamstring by procedural impossibilities embedded into state law,too.

* No wonder PolitiFact rated Walker's claim "Pants on Fire" that Wisconsin's collective bargaining protections were somehow "fully Intact" under his measures.

*  And the measures were extended to local public employees, too - - teachers, snow plow operators, file clerks, nurses, et al - - not just state employees, as The Economist column states.

Walker kept his intentions under wraps throughout a 2010 statewide campaign during which he had the gall to brag about a dedication to transparency (See "Transparency" section in this Lakeland Times interview transcript, here).

Wisconsinites were as upset with Walker's guile as they were with his goals.

It would be a mistake to allow recent Wisconsin history to be recast or forgotten altogether.


Anonymous said...

One of the triggering factors was also his remarks about calling out the National Guard BEFORE the public had even had time to react to his stink bomb. He was telling us, "Here's what I'm going to do and the National Guard will crack down on you if you get upset about it." What a misuse of power!

LINDA from Each Little World said...

Thanks for clarifying the Economist article for anyone not in the know. Started reading the article and got so furious I had to stop.