It’s 2015, which means that the presidential campaigns are just beginning to get under way. This time around, the field’s particularly unsettled on the Republican side. One person who’s been mentioned as a potential candidate on more than one occasion is Wisconsin’s governor, Scott Walker.We’ve written about Scott before; we’ve always considered him to be the crazy neighbor next door. He’s become one of the darlings of the right with his attacks on public employee unions and aggressive tax reduction policies, among other ALEC approved initiatives. Today was the start of his second term, and he gave an inaugural speech at the State Capitol in Madison. We like to take what he says and compare it to what’s actually happening in the state: the last time we did this, Walker didn’t fare that well. But what about this time?
He started off with what will become the usual Republican opener for such speeches over the next couple years; giving thanks to God, his family and the military, in that order. Almost as an afterthought, he thanked the voters of Wisconsin who put him into office. With the formalities out of the way, he started in a predictable vein; first calling attention to the high school students in attendance and how they represented his vision for the state, and following that with a quote from the state Constitution;
“All people are born equally free and independent, and have certain inherent rights; among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness; to secure these rights, governments are instituted, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed.”
Since we are talking small government conservative, Walker interprets this as meaning that government should basically stay out of the way – unless we’re talking about restricting a woman’s right to choose, or restricting voting access, or things along those lines; then, government can’t be big or intrusive enough. But, we digress…
Now, he gets into the meat and potatoes of the speech: “Since I last stood at this podium, our state has become more free and prosperous.”
Scott, we hate to have to call you a liar at this early point in the speech, but facts don’t quite agree with what you say. Somehow, we don’t think attempting to outlaw protesting at the State Capitol as you did exactly constitutes freedom, no?
As far as prosperity goes, Walker promised that 250,000 new jobs would be created in his first term; in actuality, 115,500 were created. That’s less than half, making Wisconsin 42nd in the nation as far as job creation goes. He also faces what he claims is an $800 million deficit over the next two years (other sources are claiming $2.2 billion, which we find more believable); this in a state which is required by law to balance the budget. In fact, by any sane standard of measuring, Wisconsin is trailing behind the more progressive states economically.
“We took the power away from big government special interests and returned it to you—the hard-working taxpayers.” Gee, Scott- we have to call you out again. You cut education spending by $1.2 billion, and gave that and an additional $1 billion to corporations as tax breaks.
“More people are working and fewer are unemployed.” Compared to when he first took office- yes. However, as we pointed out above, his job growth has been anemic at best, and atrocious at worst.
We think you get the picture. Almost every statement he makes about policies he’s implemented in the state and the effect it’s had on Wisconsin residents can be proven to be misleading at best, and usually flat out wrong.
While we really don’t see him getting much traction as the top person on the ticket, we could definitely see him being picked for the vice presidential slot. And with Walker’s infamous closing of a letter to a Jewish group with “Happy Hanukkah and Molotov” as well as his inability to tell the truth, he’s shown he has what it takes to be the next Sarah Palin. The comedians of the world are crossing their fingers.