Monday, February 27, 2012

Scott Walker's "big media day" full of hypocrisies

Embattled governor made headlines on several fronts Monday

Monday was a major news day for Gov. Scott Walker, for three different reasons.

First, the Walker campaign announced that it would not seek to challenge any of the recall signatures against him, making the election certain to happen in a faster time-frame than predicted. John Nichols, on his Twitter account @NicholsUprising, observed:

Yet, there is a caveat to the announcement. As it turns out, Walker is hoping to use the challenges from the "Verify the Recall" group, a move the Government Accountability Board has yet to deem as legitimate or not. The GAB had previously said they didn't want outside organizations (i.e. that weren't directly affiliated with those being recalled) to submit signature challenges. The issue could likely go to the courts.

Next: Walker made headlines again when he stood up against a recent statement by a Republican presidential candidate. When Rick Santorum said last week that President Barack Obama was a "snob" for wanting more kids to go to college, Walker cautioned against such rhetoric, decrying the former senator from Pennsylvania's comments as foolish:
"I'll set aside the politics," the Republican governor said on MSNBC's Morning Joe. "The reality is, people want results, and in most of our states, there needs to be a mix. We need more kids in colleges and universities, also more kids in our technical schools because increasingly in states like Wisconsin, there are manufacturing jobs available, welding and high-skilled machining. We don't have enough bodies to fill those and we need to work hard.

Walker continued: "I don't care whether it's the president or anyone else, I'll work with anyone that wants to help us do that."
So even a broken clock can be right twice a day, it seems. Unfortunately, Walker's words don't match his actions, as he cut millions of dollars from colleges and universities across the state as governor. So much for helping improve secondary education in Wisconsin.

Which brings us to the third and final Walker item which grabbed the attention of the "interwebs" today, a complaint that the recall itself was "frivolous" and expensive, an unnecessary expenditure at a time when such monies could be used elsewhere:
"I mean, it's $9 million of taxpayers' money just to run this. Think about the number of kids we could help, think of the number of seniors we could help in our state with $9 million that we didn't have to waste on this -- this frivolous recall election."
Walker neglects to mention that more than a third of the number of workers in Wisconsin, and nearly half of the total of voters in the last election, signed onto the recall petitions to encourage an election for his removal. The law dictates that 25 percent is needed to create a recall -- the highest threshold in the nation. If Walker wants to whine about the costs of democracy, the costs to implement a right of the people (as written within the Wisconsin Constitution), he's free to do so.

But complaining about $9 million dollars that could be used elsewhere -- especially for "kids" and "seniors" -- is downright sinister. Walker made cuts well-over the $9 million he's now whining about.

In fact, Walker cut the budget to schools by more than $800 million, or about $635 per student, across the state. He made it difficult for school districts to raise funds on their own, too, creating a total shortfall of $1.6 billion dollars. When you go by those numbers, the $800 million figure is more than 88 times what Walker is complaining about the recall costing, and the $1.6 billion figure more than 177 times what Walker is worrying over. Cuts to programs for seniors and the medically disadvantaged -- in the hundreds of millions of dollars as well -- are similarly many times over what the recall elections will cost.

Then there are the tax cuts that Walker gave to corporations, tax cuts that were meant to spur job growth but have since failed in doing so (for reasons that can be explained by simple economics). Within the $2.3 billion that Walker gave away in state revenues, there was no word of caution, no hesitancy by his supporters or from the administration itself on the costs that doing so would create.

The costs of those tax breaks, by the way, are more than 255 times greater than what Walker is complaining the recall elections will cost.

To review:
  • Walker said he's not going to challenge the recall petitions directly, but he IS looking to have an outside group's challenges validated;
  • Walker criticized a presidential candidate from his own party for comments he made about a college education, but Walker himself made drastic cuts to secondary education across the state;
  • Walker is criticizing a $9 million price tag on the recall election, but fails to make the connection that his own policies are hundreds of times more costly than the challenges against him, his lieutenant governor, and several state Republican legislators.
Three major stories of Walker made headlines on Monday. In each, a bit of hypocrisy was thrown in, just in case we were forgetful of the kind of governor we had in Wisconsin.

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