Walker's formula for governing and campaigning seems to center on lying more often and more loudly than ever before.
Lie. Shout. Repeat.
There is an old saying among lawyers: “If you don’t have the facts, argue the law; if you don’t have the law, argue the facts; if you have neither, shout!”
Gov. Scott Walker modified the lawyers’ advice and adapted the sentiment to his campaigns: “If you don’t have a program, and the truth gets in your way, make up something that will gain attention. It doesn’t have to be true — just loud.”
For example, that promise to create 250,000 jobs in four years. Walker knew it was impossible, but it had a nice ring. True or false, it kept the spotlight on job creation. Not just any jobs, but good, family-supporting jobs with benefits.
As it turned out, Wisconsin lost jobs. Ah, don’t admit that! Jumble the figures, compare apples and oranges, look into the camera and shout: We created jobs — we didn’t lose them!
That was too much even for the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. Their "PolitiFact" analysis gave Walker’s numbers game a “mostly false” rating. How the Journal Sentinel could endorse Walker in light of his reckless approach to governance and his lack of candor, I will never understand.
Walker will do just about anything to divert attention from this issue and others. Right-to-work on the horizon? You better believe it. No, this is not just focused on collective bargaining. It is for all the marbles. Strip mines that could wreak havoc on our state’s environment are also on his agenda.
Walker’s other advice, apparently, is get out of town quickly. When he was Milwaukee County executive, he brought the county to the brink of economic collapse.
So he ran for governor and hit the reset button. Promised more jobs, better schools. Raised lots of money from special interests. Walker says he will not be corrupted by the special interests but that his opponent will have union bosses on his front porch. If someone points out that there are very few “union bosses,” he just repeats the charge.
What’s next? Maybe implement the desires of his deer “expert” and turn hunting in Wisconsin into a huge game farm where hunters from around the world pay a big fee and can shoot anything that moves faster than a cow. (There are too many cranes around anyway!)
And I predict Walker will travel with Wisconsin Manufacturers & Commerce to Benton Harbor, Mich., to see how nice the new country club on Lake Michigan is. And all because Michigan’s governor took this struggling community under his wing, eviscerated the city council, and ruled that no elections could be held until the czar — oops, governor —says so. Why can’t Walker “save” Milwaukee the same way? Privatize the Lincoln Memorial Drive area on the lake. They already have the yacht club.
Education is costly? Virtual schools will save a bundle. Fewer teachers every year will save a lot of money that could go to corporations. Sell the UW-Madison? C’mon, folks — get with it! Living in a corporate state might be just the ticket.
The recall is the right way to go. Citizens must be allowed to protect themselves — the recall is a perfectly legitimate tool to be used when necessary. Those who say recall is dangerous probably don’t trust the people. I do. And so do the 1 million who signed petitions. They will prevail. A new chapter in the progressive book begins June 5. Get ready to celebrate.
(A version of this article originally appeared in the opinion section of the Capital Times.)
May 29, 2012
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Ed Garvey is editor and publisher of FightingBob.com.