Outgoing WMC head decries ‘polarized politics,’ apparently suffers from severe memory loss

If you ever need proof that conservatives are the masters of self-delusion, look no further than Sunday’s Wisconsin State Journal interview with outgoing Wisconsin Manufacturers and Commerce CEO and President Jim Haney.

When asked if there was anything he regretted about his tenure of leadership at WMC, Haney said “I’ve seen this extraordinary polarization of the political system, and it didn’t used to be that way. And I worry whether we’ve contributed to that in any way.”

Is he serious? Or has he just been totally absent from Wisconsin during the entirety of his 20+ year tenure as the head of WMC?

Mr. Haney, let me put your worries to rest. WMC has been the leader in denigrating Wisconsin’s political process, and has contributed more than any other organization to the polarization of politics here.

Since it seems Haney has forgotten, let’s take a trip down memory lane to the 2008 Supreme Court race. Remember this gem?

WMC’s ads were described as “false” and “misleading” and even a “deceptive attack upon Wisconsin’s tradition of fair and impartial courts.” One watchdog suggested WMC’s lawyers may have violated the Wisconsin Rules of Professional Conduct and the Attorney’s Oath for “epithets” directed at Butler. WMC spent $2 million in support of corporate-friendly justice Mike Gableman, critical support that propelled the ethically-challenged and altogether unimpressive circuit court judge to the state’s highest court.

WMC’s ‘Willie Horton-style hit’ even garnered national attention for its lies and distortions.

In 2007, WMC spent $2 million in support of another ethically-challenged and corporate-friendly judge Annette Ziegler. To accomplish this, WMC attacked Ziegler’s opponent, Attorney Linda Clifford, for not having served as a judge. WMC emphasized Ziegler’s “credentials” as a prosecutor, creating the false impression the Supreme Court’s sole responsibility is in putting criminals behind bars – a strategy successfully deployed the following year to put Gableman on the high court.

Of course, WMC’s degradation of Wisconsin’s political climate doesn’t stop at the Supreme Court. For an organization who should be concerned with attracting businesses to Wisconsin, it sure does spend a lot of time trashing Wisconsin as a “tax hell,” a claim that has been debunked numerous times.

And WMC turns its guns on any legislators who even THINKS about supporting the rights of workers to organize for fair pay and benefits (see: WMC’s Anti-Employee Free Choice Act ads below), with the same kind of distortions, lies and scare-tactics it ALWAYS uses in an attempt to scare the people of Wisconsin into believing that more tax breaks for corporations, less rights for workers and less environmental and safety regulations are somehow GOOD for Wisconsin.

So what exactly is Haney talking about? Does he honestly not know the true extent of WMC’s poisoning of the well in Wisconsin? And if he’s “so worried whether they’ve contributed to [the polarization] in any way,” where was he in the run up to WMC’s launching of these campaigns? All of these worst-of moments came during Haney tenure at the head of WMC. He can’t actually be that thick, can he?

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