wisconsin capitol
Column
January 10, 2013

State of the State? More like State of Gov. Scott Walker’s Presidential Campaign.

It Is No Coincidence That the First Post-November Election Comments on His Policy Agenda for the Coming Year Were Made by Gov. Scott Walker at the Reagan Library in California

It is no coincidence that the first post-November election comments on his policy agenda for the coming year were made by Gov. Walker, at the Reagan library in California, with his single largest donor, Beloit billionaire Diane Hendricks, in tow.

This is a man running for President. Along the way he is advancing policies to pass conservative litmus tests and win the race to the extreme right, otherwise known as the Republican primary, not to help Wisconsin families

Will back loaded income tax cuts that benefit the wealthiest in Wisconsin help create good jobs, educate our children or provide more affordable health care?  Nope

The trickle-down economic policies of Gov. Walker’s administration have led to one of the worst rankings for job creation in the nation and the biggest cuts to public education in state history. But his latest proposed tax giveaway provides a nifty contrast with a certain Congressman from Wisconsin who recently ran for Vice-President and, as part of the fiscal cliff deal, voted to ask the wealthiest 2% of Americans to come a little closer to paying their fair share of taxes.

Will an expansion of the unaccountable private school voucher program really help boost student achievement and deliver a better education for all children in Wisconsin? Doubtful

Academic studies have shown voucher students show no measurable gains in academic achievement versus their peers in public schools. But the vouchers are a pet project of an ultra-wealthy, national, right-wing political donor network and the Milwaukee-based, bigger-than-the-Koch-brothers Bradley Foundation, run by Gov. Walker’s campaign chair Michael Grebe

Gov. Walker has sought to secure his right wing bona fides in his first two years attacking workplace rights and opposing the implementation of health insurance reform in Wisconsin

He used his recall campaign to court right wing billionaires across the country, snagging six figure contributions from Gingrich and Romney super-PAC sugar daddy Shel Adelson and Foster Friess, the man behind failed GOP Presidential candidate Rick Santorum’s super-PAC. Homegrown billionaire and recent California travel buddy, Diane Hendricks of Beloit, wrote the largest check to a Governor’s campaign in Wisconsin history

And before the last of the Romney-Ryan campaign yard signs reached the dumpster, Gov. Walker announced he beefed up his campaign staff

In recent media appearances, Gov. Walker talks of “moderation”, not because he has changed his politics but out of tactical necessity

While many believe his greatest political vulnerability is his abject failure to deliver on his promise to create 250,000 new jobs as Governor, they miss the point.

His true objective is not re-election in Wisconsin but ascension to the national stage. And to do that, he must prove, as he has failed to do thus far, that he can run a state without the unprecedented chaos and discord he has sown for the first two years of his administration.

His public support for even more attacks on worker rights and voting rights are on the back burner not because the policies are misguided but because the visuals they could create are wrong.

No doubt Gov. Walker’s speech on Tuesday will focus on the future, but not because of his dismal record, but because this is round one in his fight for the 2016 Republican Presidential nomination.

# # #

Scot Ross, One Wisconsin Now and One Wisconsin Institute Executive Director since 2007, has served as a senior communications director and research strategist for numerous statewide campaigns and elected officials.

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