Scott Walker 2013: Past Is Prologue?

Share

On January 3rd 2011, Scott Walker turned his gubernatorial inauguration into a shockingly unseemly fundraiser for his own campaign and the state Republican Party. That was just the start.

The cash grabs, pursuit of partisan political power and crony capitalism of his administration and campaign have continued, unashamedly and unabated, since that day.

In rapid succession, Gov. Walker led a looting of the public treasury to dole out favors to big business with the creation of the unaccountable, scandal plagued and woefully ineffective Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation (WEDC).

He thrust the state into chaos and turmoil as he stripped workers of their rights. To pay for tax cuts for the wealthy and corporations, his budget enacted record cuts to public education and slashed investments in health care for children, families and seniors. He exploited loopholes in state law to fill his campaign coffers with previously unseen campaign cash from out-of-state millionaires and billionaires.

And he undermined free and fair elections by signing bills rigging legislative districts and shamefully seeking to suppress the electoral participation of hundreds of thousands of legal voters.

In the background, a lingering political scandal in which Gov. Walker incredulously denies any knowledge of the inappropriate campaigning of close aides and associates, literally, in his office, under his supervision and dismisses as standard operating procedure the interference of his top campaign staff in public business like the timely production records requested under the state open records law.

All along the way, blaming everything from the Greek debt crisis to efforts to provide more affordable health care for Americans for his colossal failure to come anywhere close to his promise to create 250,000 jobs in Wisconsin.

This list of historic lowlights was managed in just two years, and now with Gov. Walker having an even more partisan and intractable legislative majority, we, as the saying goes, ain’t seen nothing, yet.

Now, as Gov. Walker pursues national political ambitions, he is poised to inflict even more of his poisonous agenda on the people of Wisconsin. Along with lapdog legislative majorities, Gov. Walker is promising less protection from polluters, more attacks on voting, more privatization of education and more favors for the special interests and wealthy in service of his own political ambitions.

The people of Wisconsin deserve results — and after two years of the failure, division and corruption that embodies this governor — they’ve shown they won’t sit back and take this governor’s excuses and diversions as he and his party try to sell us off, piece by piece.

Or we can believe every way in which Gov. Walker has governed in the past, will now be jettisoned for an inclusive and effective style of leadership.

And I’ll go into selling bridges.

# # #

Scot Ross served as Executive Director of One Wisconsin Now & the Institute from 2007 to 2019.