Walker’s road to his candidacy announcement has been rocky. An early favorite in 2010 during the Tea Party midterm sweep, he spearheaded the Koch brothers anti-union agenda. The middle-class, pro-labor voters recalled him but failed to evict him, and he survived his re-election in 2014 in a heated race while he sounded less regressive until he got elected. The Koch brothers marked him as a favorite last April until he declared himself anti-immigrant against the people who the Koch brothers depend on for cheap labor. That’s when the Koch brothers said they would “audition” for a candidate. Walker, however, is forging ahead, going so far as to announce that he would select South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley for his vice-presidential candidate.
Walker is a long way away from the general election after Wisconsin’s economy failed to cooperate with the governor’s austerity measures. A comparison with neighboring state, governed by the progressive Mark Dayton, underlines Walker’s failure. In his state of the Union speech a few months ago, Walker told his audience that “Wisconsin is more free and prosperous” after his first four years in office and claimed that “the Wisconsin Comeback is working.” Facts belie Walker’s bragging. Both Dayton and Walker were elected in 2010 during the Great Recession. Walker’s $3.6 billion deficit has decreased to $2 billion, and his 9.8-percent unemployment moved to 4.6 percent. Dayton’s $4.7 billion deficit changed to a $1.3 billion surplus, and his 7-percent joblessness was almost halved to 3.8 percent, the fifth lowest rate in the nation.
In May, the Washington Post reported that the state’s rate of private-sector job growth “is one of the worst in the nation” and Wisconsin’s middle class “has shrunk at a faster rate than any other state in the country,” ranking 44th among state for growth from 2011 to 2013. Wisconsin ends this fiscal year with less reserve money than another state in the country, and Walker’s 2011 tax cuts will lose the state at least $275 million in the next two years—twice as much as predicted. Leading the nation in unemployment for blacks, Walker failed to deliver the 250,000 private sector jobs he promised during his first gubernatorial term. His “tough on crime” policies increased prison spending to a level higher than on public universities.
Dayton’s successes in Minnesota came from raising the minimum wage and significantly increasing taxes on the top 2 percent of wage earners to close a budget shortfall and raise money for investments in infrastructure and education. More than three-quarters of the new Minnesota spending is on education, compared to Wisconsin’s draconian cuts. Minnesota has also passed the state’s version of the Affordable Care Act (MNsure), and Dayton’s approval rating in the latest Minneapolis Star Tribune poll is 54 percent compared to Walker’s 41 percent . According to the nonpartisan Wisconsin Budget Project, Walker gave tax breaks that disproportionately favored upper-income earners while cutting $56 million in tax credits for working families. Dayton campaigned on his changes while Walker’s campaign lies hid his personal agenda.
Being outdone by a neighboring Democratic state is bad enough, but Walker’s current squabbles with Republicans does not bode well for his candidacy. Budget talks were delayed by arguments about road funding, high education spending cuts, and a $250-million expenditure for the Milwaukee Bucks’ new arena which Walker finally had to scrap. Republican lawmakers wanted to increase taxes and fees for transportation projects, but Walker refused because he wants to borrow the necessary $1.3 billion. Incensed by Walker’s original proposal to cut the university budget by $300 million, later dropped to $250 million, GOP state Sen. Luther Olsen, said, “The university doesn’t deserve this cut. We are fools if we go around bashing one of the best things in the state of Wisconsin.” The final budget passed by a tight margin of 52-46 in a chamber with 63 Republicans.
Walker will be facing a lawsuit after the GOP held secret meetings to draw new congressional districts instead of following the law by giving that job to nonpartisan judges. In 2012, judges made the GOP redraw boundaries for two districts, the 12 plaintiffs claim that the entire map should be scrapped. Two of the three senators in the group are Republicans.
Walker’s fervent opposition to marriage equality also caused a rift within his family after he was the most strident of the GOP presidential candidates in his opposition. Both his sons and his wife disagree with his position. Tonette Walker said, “I have a cousin who I love dearly–she is like a sister to me–who is married to a woman, her partner of 18 years.” At this time, 60 percent of people in the United States support marriage equality, but Walker wants to amend the U.S. Constitution to eliminate same-gender marriage. Now he’s trying to figure how to fence-sit, saying that he plans to find “a different way of explaining [his opposition], so they can appreciate where I am coming from.” He added, “It doesn’t mean I change my position.”
Today Walker took a lot of heat after he disagreed with the pending Boy Scouts change in policy to accept adult gay leadership. His statement that the existing ban was necessary to “protect children” implied that he buys into the myth that gay men are pedophiles. His back-pedalling claim that he meant protecting children from the debate doesn’t hold water.
Wisconsinites are unhappy with Walker’s proposals: 78 percent of the residents oppose the $127 million in K-12 cuts especially after Walker gave corporations $2.3 billion between 2011 and 2020 in tax cuts. The $250 million cut from the University of Wisconsin is opposed by 70 percent of his constituents. Walker ignored the failure of tax and education cuts in another GOP state where Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback had to institute a regressive sales tax after his tax cuts to corporations.
Middle-class income shrank by 14.7% since 2000, twice the average national loss of 7.2%, and Wisconsin ranks 35th in job creation. Almost all net job growth is in low-wage jobs, and the state is “dead last” in business start-up activity. Pay growth and GDP are also below the national average since Walker became governor.
After he presented his logo, all “eyes” are on Walker because the image is identical to the one used by America’s Best Contacts & Eyeglasses in Lawrenceville (GA). The campaign has not commented on the gaffe, but America Best’s CEO, Reade Fahs, said, “We don’t endorse presidential candidates, but we’re never surprised when they choose to endorse us.” The business has sent such tweets as “We think Walker’s logo is HILLARYous” and “We aren’t the types to hide our logo under a BUSH.” In response to a question about suing Walker, the company tweeted, “We’re not CRUZin for legal battle.”Other people have pointed out the similarity between Walker’s logo and the Confederate “stars and bars” flag.
Walker is still trying to find the person who mistakenly declared his candidacy last Friday, three days early, after a tweet on his official Twitter, “SCOTT WALKER IS RUNNING FOR PRESIDENT.” Maybe Walker was right when he said he was “crazy to want to be president.”
The Walker campaign has also not commented about why a Wisconsin legislator, Mandela Barnes, being asked to leave the audience when Walker announced his candidacy. At first, the black state representative was asked to sit on the stage. When he declined the invitation, Barnes was asked to leave.
The passive-aggressive Scott Walker may look like a laidback politician, but he’s a match for bulldog candidate Chris Christie in lying, corruption, and revenge. Whenever he’s caught in a problem, such as the change in the university system’s mission, he says he had nothing to do with it. He lied about Wisconsin having a budget surplus and his planting agent provocateurs among demonstrators. Lying is so second nature to him that he lied about the date of his son’s births and the reason for his bald spot. His self-aggrandizing fantasies make Brian Wilson’s bragging lies look like minor league. Walker’s lack of moral restraint comes from his belief on steroids that “the ends justify the means” starting in the political career with his failure at Marquette University.
Walker uses his power to punish opponents, ordering unconstitutional mass arrests of peaceful political dissidents and the introduction of laws to eliminate government oversight panels to block his donors’ industrial projects. He got rid of opponent Douglas La Follette by getting rid of his position as Secretary of State and dumped the Chief Justice of the state Supreme Court after she sided against him. Petition signers against Walker and mine opponents have suffered from Walker’s power, sometimes losing their jobs. Walker owns the state as he takes over independent agencies through administrative orders and replaces scientists and professionals with ignorant political cronies.
At the same time, the Wisconsin press gives Walker a walk for any law violations. Despite hundreds of suspicious irregularities and evidence of ballot tampering, the mysterious “discovery” of 14,000 votes that gave a state Supreme Court election to Walker’s conservative supporter was never adequately investigated, either by the press of by the Government Accountability Board. Wisconsin is as close to a totalitarian dictatorship as any state in the union. Walker is only limited by the limit of his power, a limit that would vastly shrink to expand his power if he becomes president of the United States.