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Progressive Politics in Minnesota, the Nation, and the World

Scott Walker And Another Unforced Error

Category: Scott Walker
Posted: 08/18/15 22:07

by Dave Mindeman

Scott Walker is proving to be a pretty lightweight Presidential candidate. In Wisconsin, legislating the way he wants is a little easier because he has majorities in both the Wisconsin House and Senate.

And even with that kind of majority dominance, he still makes dumb mistakes, like offering a budget that cuts education by $250 million while at the same time offering a $250 million state gift to his friends that own the Milwaukee Bucks basketball franchise.

But at the Iowa fair, he offered up another unforced error. Trying to keep up with the Trump information highway, Walker was asked about birthright citizenship. Knowing that Trump is getting his usual attention on this issue, he tried to piggyback on the answer that Trump gave ....

After a reporter asked if birthright citizenship should be ended, Walker said: "I think that's something we should -- yeah, absolutely, going forward."

Alright, so he mimicked Trump. But he made the mistake of following up:

But -- in a sign of how quickly Trump has changed the terms of this race -- Walker had difficulty clearly articulating where exactly he stands on the issue, wanting to steal some of Trump's momentum but not quite sure to what extent. He went on to say that if the United States enforces the laws it already has, that alone might take care of the problem.

If the problem is supposed to be "birthright citizenship", then enforcing the laws already on the books would only mean that birthright citizenship would be guaranteed.

A baby born in the United States is granted automatic citizenship by the 14th amendment to the Constitution. The only way that right can be taken away is to amend the Constitution. It is not about enforcing existing laws, it is about changing the Constitution.

Walker obviously has not given this matter a lot of thought in the past and is also obviously caught off guard by Trump rhetoric.

If Walker was truly presidential material, he would take the lead on this issue and call out Trump for such a ridiculous notion.

Walker can't do that because he is not a leader - he's a grandstander and a lemming.
comments (3) permalink

Speaker Daudt Bets On Scott Walker :Its A Bad Bet

Category: Scott Walker
Posted: 08/08/15 07:16

by Dave Mindeman

Kurt Daudt is said to be a rising Republican star in Minnesota. And so, I have to seriously wonder about his judgment as he chooses to become the state chair of the Walker for President campaign....

"In Minnesota, we've seen how our neighbor, Wisconsin, has been able to turn around under the strong leadership of Gov. Walker," Daudt said.

Seriously, Daudt? You want to go there?

Here's what Daudt will be explaining to Republicans in Minnesota.

Wisconsin leads the nation in African-American unemployment. Currently 19.5%.

Scott Walker is cutting $300 million from Wisconsin universities but spending $500 million for the Bucks' basketball arena.

From Sept 2013 to Sept 2014, Wisconsin ranked 40th in the nation in private sector job growth.

Wisconsin is 50th in the nation for new business start-ups.

I'm sorry, Kurt Daudt, do you really want to point out that record ....especially speaking from Minnesota where the contrast between the two is not the kind of comparison that makes a conservative look good.

While it's tricky to attribute the well-being of a state's economy solely to its political leadership, Minnesota is experiencing much stronger growth than its neighbor. Dayton has also proved responsive to the business community, easing early fears that his liberalism might go unchecked.
Walker, on the other hand, has doubled down to the detriment of his state on policies that are backfiring. And if voters in his home state aren't buying what he's selling anymore, that doesn't bode well for his presidential campaign.


Yes, if Kurt Daudt is looking at the policies of Scott Walker as worthy of his admiration, then Daudt is betting on the wrong horse.

And maybe, it also means that we need a different Speaker of the House.
comments (3) permalink

Walker's Union Busting Will Not Make Him President

Category: Scott Walker
Posted: 07/25/15 05:58

by Dave Mindeman

There is this narrative that persists with Scott Walker. He has made a career of denigrating the trade unions. It has endeared him to the conservative base and gets the attention of the richest 1% who dislike the unions even more.

But Walker's crusade against unions has a deceptive tone to it. When he initially pushed his legislation that limited collective bargaining through a Republican dominated state legislature, he craftily managed to make side deals with government employee unions. The police and firefighters were exempted from the early legislation, neutralizing these more stable unions and dividing the trade unions out of the picture. Walker even received police and firefighter union endorsements for his 2014 election.

With the trade unions weakened and their ranks depleted, Walker turned on his "allies" and signed Right to Work legislation (legislation that he said he wasn't interested in when running for re-election) which gutted the public sector unions ability to keep its members as well.

His initial union busting led to the now famous protests in Madison. But he has used that as a badge of honor for getting a foothold in the GOP Presidential sweepstakes.

He's not afraid to make his union busting a centerpiece of his rhetoric...

"If I can take on 100,000 protesters, I can do the same across the world."

A little too cute for reality, but a good applause line for the right audience.

His demonizing of unions gets more and more pointed....

He denounced the protests against his efforts to undo the unions as "thuggery." He described collective bargaining as a "corrupt system" and diagnosed union leaders as having a "sense of entitlement." After beating public-sector unions and surviving recall, Walker this year signed anti-union Right-to-Work legislation. He has said he doesn't think the minimum wage serves a purpose, and he has opposed prevailing-wage and living-wage requirements.

Walker has set himself apart as the champion of middle class destruction. Because that's what this dismantling of unions really is. A large part of the income gap can be traced to the decline of union participation. Because of Walker, public sector union participation, in Wisconsin, has dropped from 50 to 37%.

Nationwide unions aren't faring much better...

At a time of extreme weakness and vulnerability for the American labor movement, the public sector is a crucial bulwark. As of last year, just 6.6 percent of private employees were union members, as opposed 35.7 percent of government workers, according to the federal Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Walker has gambled that the country is ready for unions to go away. That the 1% which bankroll Walker, will support him to complete the union collapse and end the annoyance of collective bargaining once and for all.

But Walker may be overestimating the national appeal for all of this. As Wisconsin continues to deflate economically, the narrative may change. The middle class in Wisconsin may be willing to take one last stand. And unions may be cornered into a full boar fight for survival.

Also, Walker has too much baggage to carry into a national campaign. The scrutiny of the national press won't miss the "John Doe" investigation, the stacking of the Supreme Court, the voter suppression tactics, the removal of the independent election commission, and his reward of donors via his economic development agency, which is only beginning to come to light.

And beyond all of that, Walker's Wisconsin policies stand in very stark contrast to his western neighbor, Dayton's Minnesota. The two governors were elected at about the same time, but took opposite economic paths. While Walker cut taxes, Dayton raised taxes on the rich. While Walker went after unions, Dayton rejected attacks on unions. While Walker's state has moved to the bottom rankings on economics, Dayton's Minnesota has been a shining light for economic growth. While Walker runs a deficit, Dayton can boast of a large surplus.

The facts are against Walker. His rhetoric is a lie.

Scott Walker may have some success in a party process that allows a Donald Trump to dominate the field. But if he were to actually be the nominee, the trailing baggage he brings to the table would be his undoing.

You can only get away with deception for so long. The truth will always eventually rise to the top.
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