ICYMI: WisDems Chair Mike Tate Op-Ed: "Here's the reality of Walker agenda"

Dec 11, 2012

Just like in 2010, Scott Walker and his Republican Party ran on the central premise of focusing on job creation, yet the days and weeks following the election have revealed an agenda packed full of radical ideas, and slim on plans to foster economic development.

The Wausau Daily Herald today published an op-ed from Democratic Party of Wisconsin Chair Mike Tate discussing the reality of the Walker agenda.

Read the full commentary below, or view online here.

Mike Tate column: Here’s the reality of Walker agenda

We’ve been down this road before.

In 2010, after he won his term as governor, Scott Walker and the Republicans made conspicuous noises about dealing with the effects of the Great Recession.

Walker had made light of jobs creation during the 2010 campaign, putting out a fake “plan” in jumbo-sized type meant to mock Tom Barrett’s dynamic, even-handed approach.

But once the election was over, Walker and Republicans promised to get serious, said they would “listen” to Wisconsinites and “come together” to “forge solutions.”

It didn’t take long for Wisconsin to see what Walker and his Republicans were really up to.

No matter what you think of the merits of Act 10 — and we still believe it was terrible, destructive legislation — nobody can seriously argue that it had a single thing to do with job creation, making Wisconsin a place where businesses want to invest, or making it easier for small businesses to grow.

Along with Act 10, Republicans rammed through a passel of controversial legislation meant to reward wealthy contributors and which had no effect on the biggest issue facing Wisconsin.

The only item that Scott Walker pushed through that really had to do with job creation in Wisconsin was the conversion of the state Commerce Department into the quasi-private Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation, a change that critics at the time warned would limit oversight of public money and lead to scandal, as had happened in other states.

Fast forward to 2012, when Democrats up and down the ballot received more votes than Scott Walker’s Republicans, even though Republicans retained power because they cooked the books in an unprecedented gerrymandering scheme.

Scott Walker’s WEDC is in full-blown scandal, with investigators looking into allegations of bid-rigging, with the agency having lost track of $56 million and potentially having lost millions more; and with WEDC failing at its mission to create jobs.

Instead of investing in education and infrastructure, the proven formula for jobs creation throughout the past century, Walker has taken hundreds of millions out of our university, vocational, technical and public schools systems.

And Wisconsin sticks out like a red thumb when it comes to the rest of the nation and the rest of the region in job creation. At one point, and for the first time in our history, Wisconsin actually led the nation in job loss.

What’s Walker’s and the Republicans’ response? More window dressing. Walker has hosted some dog-and-pony shows across the state, calling them jobs “listening sessions.” They are all show, put on at businesses owned by Republican campaign donors with crowds hand-picked by political operatives. This is not an honest give-and-take, and it really doesn’t matter.

The real Republican agenda, another ghoul’s gallery of tea party specials: ending same-day voter registration; requiring women to have invasive ultrasounds before they get abortions; Arizona-style immigration laws; amending the state Constitution to enforce voter identification cards; right-to-work-for-less legislation.

Walker has said it is “ridiculous” to think he would entertain this radical agenda, but he also has not committed to vetoing any of the legislation and requiring the tea party he leads to focus on jobs instead of socially divisive issues.

We don’t know what 2013 holds, but if Scott Walker does not change his behavior or his focus, he will continue to lead a state that underperforms in job creation and overperforms in division.