Sunday, January 19, 2014

For Scott Walker, False Speaking - - Repeatedly

Or call it "inveterate."

It's a good word, a really accurate label, because, more often that not, Walker cannot give a reliably factual account of facts, polices and issues - - even about events in which he is the subject but others observed and reported differently, data show.

I'd noted last Friday that Scott Walker had last week claimed to have voted for his political idol Ronald Reagan, but Walker achieved the legal voting age of 18 a year after Reagan's second election in 1984; casting a ballot for The Gipper would have been impossible and illegal - - Voter Fraud 101 if he really did it.

And there is a demonstrable pattern to Walker's false speaking. After reviewing 85 of Walker's statements, PolitiFact has awarded them ratings more often in its "false" categories than "true."

In fact, only nine of those 85 Walker statements are rated "True" without qualification, while 25 are fated "False" without qualification.

And another seven get the worst rating of all: "Pants on Fire," bringing "false" and 'Liar,'Liar...' to 32 and a troubling false-to-true ratio of more than 3.5:1

Now I know that political-speak is full of exaggeration. "My esteemed colleague from the Great State of..." can also mean, "That thieving adulterer from the hick state next door..."

And "This bill is the worst piece of legislation in history" really means, "Our party has a different approach."

But how can Walker get things so wrong, and is there anyone around him who knows differently or cares enough to prepare Walker before he starts talking? Consider, for example: 

A 10-year state program that created 202 jobs at a cost of $247,000 per job was approved by former Gov. Jim Doyle.

Pants on Fire!

Or, why would Walker repeat claims in his book that were already labeled "false" by PolitFact, giving PolitiFact another opportunity to note them, in this fashion, for readers as well as other reporters building their Walker-for-President 2016 files:
Collective bargaining and unions 
The most controversial legislation during Walker’s tenure has been Act 10, which took healthcare and pensions out of collective bargaining for most public employees. That allowed local governments and schools to impose cost-sharing for those benefits instead of negotiating with labor leaders. 
Claim: "Without our reforms, property taxes would have risen by an average of $700 over the course of the biennium for the average taxpayer. Instead, thanks to Act 10, they declined on a median-valued home." 
In July 2011, we rated False an abbreviated version of this claim when Walker said that "under our budget, the average property taxpayer will save $700." The figure was based on a flawed hypothetical scenario. The second part of the book’s claim, about taxes falling on a median home, is accurate. They went down $20 over Walker’s first two years. 
Walker made a similar claim in October 2013, saying that a property tax relief bill meant taxpayers would save $680 over four years. We rated that Pants on Fire because the bill had nowhere near that impact and Walker used a hypothetical scenario to get his number while portraying it as real cash savings.
I find it all baffling. 

Walker had a book co-author, and, presumably publishing house fact-checkers, to get such blatant misstatements and data errors out of the text. 

A helpful Google is there for free to anyone in Walker's orbit with a smart phone. Editing is as easy as backspace, delete.

And Walker continues to have a personal staff, a campaign staff and an administration of appointees and civil servants to check facts before statements are made - - if the boss were to make it a priority.

Which is part of his job, since the buck stops with him and, as Governor, he sets the moral, leadership tone for the state.

Walker's official biography underscores right at the top that he is a pastor's son and an Eagle Scout - - Scott Walker grew up in a small Wisconsin town called Delavan. The son of a pastor, Scott had the spirit of service instilled in him at an early age. He was involved in sports, band, church, and achieved the rank of Eagle Scout - -  but where in his statements as a Governor and candidate, that are so easy to evaluate is the follow-through?


enoughalready said...

Amen, James. Perhaps young Mr. Walker is "unintimidated" by the truth?

And yes, where is the accountability -- from his staff, yes, or in the press? I can only guess that Walker voters outside of Milwaukee -- say in Green Bay -- just assumed that the Milwaukee media had done, or were doing, due diligence in the recent elections. Surely they would have heard if there was a problem here, or a disturbing pattern of this sort.

Well, at least prospective voters should know now. Maybe things will be different this next time around? Let's hope.

Also, maybe young Mr. Walker can be pressed into doing more public press conferences?

Max B. said...

My fav falsehood so far is the one wherein he conjures up a victim self whose "modest proposals" make him the target of violent protests as the police car in which he is sitting is surrounded, then rocked by protesters.

As long as he was in Making Shit UP mode, he could have made himself into some hero, say, rescuing a little old lady from the protesters. Oh, wait . . . a lot of the protesters WERE little old ladies! Anyway, he envisioned himself as a victim for gosh's sake (I thought that in his lexicon, all victims are Democrats, but whatever. That's pathetic.

Anonymous said...

Outstanding James

Anonymous said...

Please cross post ...

Anonymous said...

Max B.

Walker doesn't just make himself the victim; he claims to be the BIGGER victim. In a recent WPT interview, a couple of Walker's opponents claim to have received death threats (in connection with their opposition to the Penokee Hills mine). So Walker compared himself to Gabby Giffords saying that opposition to Giffords and to himself occurred about the same time and intimating that he was therefore in the same kind of danger that she experienced when she was the target of an assassination attempt.

The women said they were concerned that anyone, Walker included, would be receiving death threats in our state. Walker, instead of expressing any concern or sympathy for the women getting death threats, switched the topic to Giffords and claimed that Gabby Giffords' danger was his own. So there!

Betsey said...

Amen, Anonymous 8:13. This post is outstanding among a field of outstanding posts.

nonquixote said...

Morning James,

I'm of the feeling that the Reagan voting story is more likely to be a deliberate lead-up/set up, by Walker, as an excuse covering the reason for his current lies about the budget and jobs, and covering for his past claims and eventual defense, of having had no knowledge of activity concerning John Doe 1 and 2, were the result of numerous traumatic head injuries he suffered while playing linebacker and running back for the school while attending Marquette.

Anonymous said...

nonquixote: Thanks for the laugh. Who knows? You may be giving a certain someone ideas!

nonquixote said...

You are welcome, I was hoping someone would know the school has no football team.


Jake formerly of the LP said...

This really is top-notch James. It's the pattern of dishonesty that's most disgusting about this guy. You can be wrong, but no one is unintentionally wrong and misleading so consistently. And Politifact has been nice to Walker, refusing to consider context and impression-making when analyzing his statements.

As enoughalready asks- Where's the accountability from outside the Capitol? And what do we have to do to make the media and other watchers hold this guy accountable?

affinis said...

Wisconsin Transparency Force (W.T.F.) delivered fireproof pants to the guv, addressing the health & safety issue posed by his recurrent trouser immolation.
"Pants Delivery!" video
Response from Walker's staff - "Awesome! We really appreciate it."
Fireproof pants fundraising post

Anonymous said...

Another Scott Walker re-election might be the longest 4 years ever for some!

Anonymous said...

I see Mary Burke got here first pants on fire award in the Journal Sentinel. I wonder how the parents of children in the Madison school district feel about that?

Gareth said...

I don't know why people even bother to watch "State Of The State" or "State Of The Union" speeches. They aren't even good political theater. Do Americans really have an insatiable appetite for BS and political back-slapping. Even worse is the nausea inducing panel of officially certified journalists and two-party apparatchicks chewing-the-cud afterwards. You can scream but no one will hear you.