Scott Walker knew it was going to be a terrible week when he woke up Sunday with the usually-friendly Beloit Daily News bashing him for a third time on his failure to come clean on what he knew and when about the criminal activity that sent four of his top aides to jail.
Then he found out he tied for fifth place — with Rick Santorum – in the Conservative Political Action Conference presidential straw poll, well behind his Tea Party friends like Rand Paul and Ted Cruz, and even behind his fellow scandal-plagued Republican governor Chris Christie.
And his central campaign promise to create 250,000 new jobs? The latest job numbers, released yesterday (a week early to avoid comparison with other states), highlight a Wisconsin economy still reeling under Scott Walker’s failed leadership and confirm why the latest public polling shows his support is falling.
By any measure, these numbers present a bleak picture: Wisconsin has lost nearly 700 manufacturing jobs over the past year and gained zero private sector jobs in January, the very month that Scott Walker said “the economy is dramatically better.”
With an economic record this bad – you’d think Scott Walker’s legislature would have used the final weeks of a session marked with divisive social policy to actually focus on serious economic policy.
So Scott Walker’s legislature should have then used the final weeks of a session marked with divisive social policy to actually focus on serious economic policy.
But they didn’t. And now Scott Walker’s very bad week has also turned into a very bad week for voting rights, with Republicans doubling down on their unconstitutional attacks on the ability of seniors, veterans, students, and minorities to fully exercise one of their most basic fundamental rights at the ballot box.
Even the Walker-friendly Milwaukee Journal Sentinel had criticism for the Republican voter suppression bill, noting that there is a “thin veneer covering the real intent: What this bill really is all about is suppressing the Democratic vote in Milwaukee and Madison, where many of the state’s people of color live. It’s a highly partisan bill that harks back to an era when voting was made much harder by strict poll laws for certain groups of people.” On that basis alone, the Journal Sentinel says, “Scott Walker should veto the bill.”
But the fact is that Republicans want to change the rules in the middle of the game because they know they can’t win on Scott Walker’s record of economic failure or his radical social agenda – and the numbers prove it.
Despite Walker’s Republican Governors Association blitzing the state with over $1 million in false, negative ads attacking Mary Burke, the latest national polling numbers out this week from the conservative-leaning Rasmussen Reports show that support for Walker is slipping: Walker is now tied with Democratic challenger Mary Burke at 45%
At this point it’s unknown whether Walker’s numbers have slipped based solely on his abysmal track record on jobs and the economy or if what little is known about his involvement in criminal activity that sent four of his top aides to jail has moved the dial for Wisconsin voters.
Rounding out Walker’s terrible week is the news that another senior aide implicated in the first John Doe, Brett Davis, abruptly resigned his position as state Medicaid director in the Walker administration. Davis was not charged with any crimes despite having his office and home raided by prosecutors. Several other top Walker aides and advisers implicated in the criminal investigation still hold senior positions in the Walker campaign and the state Republican party apparatus.
To be sure, this week was bad for Scott Walker. And with no real plan for economic growth and a second criminal investigation looking into illegal coordination between the Walker campaign and special interest groups, like the Republican Governors Association, the coming weeks and months aren’t likely to be any better.