Mitch Berg, Shot in the Dark
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Zee, Road Sassy
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"Malignant." Tim Dailey
Fleetwood Mac snob." Mitch Berg, Shot in the Dark
ARE THE NATIVES GETTING RESTLESS? Cracks are beginning to appear in the monolithic wall of Rethuglican solidarity here in Wisconsin, as it becomes increasingly obvious that Scott Walker's "bold reforms" and targeted interventions (i.e. sucking 300 million dollars from the UW system while turning it into a tech school) have hurled the state into the toilet bowl. First up is Pete Kennedy, former editor of the Waukesha Freeman--the newspaper of the queen city of Rethuglican power--who editorializes thusly:
Dear conservatives, your governor has betrayed youBy Pete Kennedy
There comes a time when you have to face reality — when it’s time to say, “My date isn’t late. My date isn’t showing up.”
Wisconsin conservatives have reached that moment of truth. It’s time to accept the fact that Scott Walker is done with you. The man you love is not walking through that door.
Yes, you had some good times. Given recent events, I’m not convinced he ever really loved you, but if believing so makes you feel better, then by all means do so.
I don’t mean to be harsh, but you probably should have seen this coming. During the Act 10 debate people warned you Walker wasn’t to be trusted. “Just liberals talking,” you said.
You stood with the governor during the recall. You proudly displayed your “I stand with Scott Walker” yard sign and bumper sticker.
He won, of course. Scott is a fighter! You are a fighter! He started the bar brawl, but you finished it. You knew he could never forget you — even if he ran for president.
Ah, the presidency. During the most recent gubernatorial campaign, Walker said the right things about running for president — sort of indicated he would run, without coming right out and saying it. You were fine with that.
“I hope he does run,” you told a friend. “Our country could use that kind of leadership.”
You thought something else, too: He won’t harm the state during the presidential process because he loves us.
When did you realize you were wrong?
Was it when he refused to approve the Kenosha casino, and then wouldn’t allow the tribe to help fund the new arena? That was tough to overlook. Your beloved Scott wouldn’t answer the phone to accept a $200-million-plus check to revitalize Southeastern Wisconsin.
And the potential impact — wow! It would have led to BILLIONS of dollars in long-term economic gains and hundreds of millions more dollars during construction. Generations would have benefited.
Did you see Friday’s jobs report — the one that said Wisconsin was 38th in the nation in new job creation? Perhaps you noticed that story came out while Scott was in South Carolina, campaigning on his — ahem — ability to create jobs.
Your moderate friend said, “Think of how many jobs the casino and arena could bring.” You didn’t say much, and didn’t try to give the same inept excuse as the governor. (What was it … that he was afraid the Seminoles didn’t really have the money? I never completely understood.) The truth is hard to believe, but here it is: Walker gave up the economic future of Wisconsin (not to mention our NBA team) to make some GOP fat cats happy and to win a primary in Iowa. God help us if he ever needs to win a swing state in a general election. We’ll all be cleaning toilets in Akron.
Did you see, a few days after turning down the casino money, that Walker’s office released a statement touting the creation of a few dozen jobs that resulted from the relocation of an Illinois business? That seemed a bit brazen, even to you.
There were other signs. The budget wasn’t very well thought out and a few staffers had to be thrown under the bus for the good of the presidency. It seemed unclear who wrote what — sort of like Mary Burke’s economic plan. Boy, did you rip her for that.
Then there was that plan to borrow for transportation. Not the most popular. And you can’t even keep track of that university system proposal. Where does that stand?
Right-to-work, well, you’re OK with that, though it definitely was a flip-flop. But … it’s good for the state, right? Sometimes leaders change their minds.
Walker’s immigration stance evolved — is that a poor word choice? — as did his opposition to ethanol, which is a change you don’t like so much. Scott says one thing to you, and another to the next crowd — which happens to be in ethanol-loving Iowa. Troubling.
The travel to Iowa and other primary states doesn’t sit so well either. The getaways wouldn’t be so bad, but he’s billing taxpayers — and you, of course — for most of that presidential travel and his security. What if a Democrat did that?
He charges you for those “trade missions,” too, and they can’t be cheap. How about a trade mission to Kenosha? Now there’s some low-hanging fruit.
No, the “fiscal conservative’s” trade missions are the height of hypocrisy, and you know it. Remember how mad you were when Michelle Obama and the kids went on their sightseeing tour at taxpayer expense?
I could go on, but you don’t need to hear it all. Deep down you know the truth: Walker is an opportunist who is stepping on this trivial state as he makes his way to the presidency.
But he’s not just stepping on the liberals who marched in circles around the Capitol, or signed the recall petition, or went to court over his emails.
No, he’s grinding his heels into the conservatives — the people who fought for him, and trusted him. People like you.
He’s betrayed you for something bigger and better and clearly planned to do so for some time.
That’s the reality. You can acknowledge it, fight for this state and hold him accountable; as a conservative you’re in a unique position to do so. Or, you can watch our state lose unprecedented opportunities while you hope “the old Scott” comes through the door.
I hope you go with the former, because the latter is starting to make you look more foolish than loyal.
Now if you’ll excuse me, I have to go tell Linus the Great Pumpkin isn’t showing up.(Pete Kennedy is a former Freeman editor.)
(I would have put in a weblink, but apparently this piece ran only in the print edition of the Freeman. More's the pity.)
Or how about John Torinus, head honcho at Serigraph and a huge Walker supporter until very recently. Torinus runs a blog popular with Wisconsin conservatives; now he asks rhetorically if Wisconsin campaigns mean anything anymore, since Walker's promises while running for office are at a complete disconnect from the policies he implements once elected (Torinus calls it "goverment by surprise").
Admittedly it ain't much, but this could be the beginning of the cracks in the foundation that bring down the entire Walker/Rethuglican/Koch/Hendricks/ALEC facade that has dragged a once-great state back to the Dark Ages.
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