Friday, November 23, 2018

Walker's demise cemented by his own clumsy hand

Somewhere out there in academia - - though probably not at UW-Stevens Point where the history degree is being axed - - there's a master's or Ph.D thesis in the works to explain how Wisconsin GOP Gov. Scott Walker could go from featured speaker at his party's 2016 national convention to defeated incumbent just two years later.

Here's a workable framework: 

He did it by his own clumsy hand.

To wit:

I noted on this blog Thursday that in back-to-back tweets, Walker had put up a video of himself playing an arcade-style video game, preceded by another stand-alone, context-and-attribution-free tweet that read:

 Nov 21MoreTrue freedom and prosperity come not from the clumsy hand of the government - but from empowering people to control their own destinies through the dignity that is born of work.
Now I made a few remarks about it, focusing on its baseline hypocrisies:
That "clumsy hand" of government has been steady enough to write him a paycheck and cover his and the family's expense for close to 30 years. A hand steady enough to guide his taxpayer-paid SUV caravans and the state airplanes he's gonna miss.
But I confess to being curious about that 'clumsy hand' metaphor, since Walker is less known for rhetorical style - - remember his clunky "Cheaper to keep them" slogan about making sure the Bucks stayed in Milwaukee so he could post more campaign-tainted 'I'm their biggest fan' tweets about them later - - and more for side dishes of, shall we say, clumsy word salad, like this: 

...take a look at the mess he made of a single follow-up question about US relations with Saudi Arabia, with its substantial civil liberties' deficits.

Asked if he believed Saudi Arabia was a free and open country and what he made of the United States' relationship with that country, Walker said: "They're making a few moves right now but those are things that can be easily altered, at least in terms of Cuba. In terms of Saudi Arabia, we haven't — those are things I guess folks at the federal level would ultimately have to comment on in terms of whether it's consistency or not.
And while you're wondering when Walker will be asked if Saudi Arabia's 'right moves' extend to its recent beheading of a nettlesome journalist, note that Walker's steady mental flow does not filter words that go out to the world, like this explanation about the WEDC he had created, funded budgetary and chaired: 
And this new word-salady dodge [from WKOW TV 27] is a keeper:
Governor Scott Walker (R-Wisconsin) struggled Friday to explain why the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation (WEDC) has failed to recover any taxpayer money given out to companies that have outsourced Wisconsin jobs, despite past claims he'd asked them to do that... 
"Again - that's a question you'll have to direct to them," said Gov. Walker. "The bottom line is the expectation, but if it's a company that - for legal reasons or otherwise - they'll have to answer the questions. They're the ones that handle that process.
But, back to "the clumsy hand of the government."

Turns out it's something of a conservative cliche; Google reveals. that President George H. W. Bush, for example, dropped it nearly word-for-word into a speech to a conservative economic forum in 1992:

We know the clumsy hand of government is no match for the uplifting hadn't of the market place.
And we may assume that Walker's speechwriters also had the Google in their nimble hands when preparing Walker's 2016 RNC speech, where he said:
We believe in a country where power is taken back from Washington and returned home to state and local governments where it is more effective, more efficient and more accountable to the people. Why? Because America deserves better. We believe in a country where freedom and personal success do not come from the clumsy hands of government rather from the dignity that comes from hard work. 
Now let's spend a little more time on those sentences, because in them and the rest of Walker's speech I see the seeds of his political collapse. 

I would remind everyone that the Foxconn deal which he foisted on the public that rejected him had its origin in a clumsy political hand that outlined record-setting handouts on a single sheet of paper, as Fortune recently noted:

Walker, the Republican incumbent, lost his bid for a third term yesterday by a 1.1 percentage point margin to Democrat Tony Evers. Health care, taxes, education, and immigration all were key issues in the campaign. But, as widely reported (see these excellent pieces in The Verge and the New Yorker) and discussed in this space last week, Walker’s cocktail napkin agreement with Foxconn, the Taiwanese company that is the world’s largest contract electronics manufacturer, proved a huge political albatross.
And go back again to these lines in Walker's RNC speech:
We believe in a country where power is taken back from Washington and returned home to state and local governments where it is more effective, more efficient and more accountable to the people.
Local officials and taxpayers with even a little information know that is a flat-out lie, as Walker's administration has relentlessly and with donor-driven intention taken away local controls.  

This article from 2016 says 99 times. This one says 128 times. (But wait, there's more, below).

Why do you think all these local funding referenda passed on the same election where Walker got the boot? 

Because voters knew they again had to dig deeper locally to cope with the Walker-inspired funding cuts and restrictions in grassroots authority he and his party had counted on to bring in right-wing corporate money and set up bogus 'small government' campaign ad stock footage.

A Portage County Board supervisor recently put it this way in a letter he wrote to GOP Assembly Speaker Robin Vos. 

I reprinted the letter in a blog post, and if you think this is all wonky, arcane inside-baseball, explain to me why that post with the letter and this key point has been downloaded 1,225 times in nine days:
As a County Board Supervisor in Portage County, I see the effects of these "Legislative Power Grabs" all the time, in our inability to raise local tax levies to cover the starvation of state shared revenues. Or in the DNR's apparent new mandate to approve any and all CAFO siting, hi-cap wells, or frac-sand mine siting that comes before the agency... 
I provide you with a list of Legislative enactments (the first 120 or so, list dated 2016) that illustrate your party's degree of stripping of local power and control from local governments of all levels. This is from my campaign blog for Portage County Board established in 2016. The number of local-control stripping measures has now grown to something like 180, according to Assembly Rep. Shankland. Here is the link:
Please get back to me as soon as possible with some answers with respect to how you and Sen. Fitzgerald intend to address the severe people's pushback against the measures you are scheming to introduce against the Governor-Elect. 
But even more importantly, what do you intend to do to reverse the "Legislative Power Grabs" of the past eight years, and restore the prior balance of powers among levels of government in Wisconsin? 
I would argue that Walker's two-year prostration before Trump cemented in that RNC appearance, all of the phoniness and deception Walker threw out there in a time slot he lobbied reinforced a self-made, unsavory and untrustworthy, slippery identity that Wisconsin voters could no longer stomach.

So, wink-wink: who had the clumsy hand after all?


Anonymous said...

What a bunch of crap. 95% baloney and a little reality. Foxconn is best deal in our histroy as it is agent for hundreds of businesses that will be coming here in next ten years. it has already started.

Thos Doyle said...

Oh . . .gee thanks, “Anonymous “!
Tom Doyle
Shorewood, WI

Unknown said...

I can really tell "Anonymous" is an unafraid, stalwart citizen that really researches hard facts before issuing detailed and fair opinions.