After their 1-2 start, QB Aaron Rodgers took to ESPN to tell fans, “Five letters here just for everybody out there in Packer-land: R-E-L-A-X. Relax. We’re going to be OK.”
But Wisconsin will not be OK, and voters should not relax.
Supposedly, the last Democratic administration drove the state into the ground, and with it, unlucky Wisconsinites. Never mind the fact that the economic crash was orchestrated by a Republican administration in Washington and that the Democrats in Wisconsin were victims like everybody else.
To get more stories like this, subscribe to our newsletter The Daily.
Walker’s Letter to Wisconsin lays out his claims:
Wisconsin is back on. Four years ago, Wisconsin had just lost more than 133,000 private sector jobs in Governor Doyle’s final term. Wisconsin was saddled with a $3.6 billion deficit. Only ten percent of job creators surveyed by the state chamber said the state was headed in the right direction. Our outlook was grim and our prospects diminishing.
The key here is Walker’s claim that, “The good news doesn’t end there. Our unemployment rate is the lowest it has been since 2008.”
Yes, 2008 – right before the Bush administration tanked not only the American – but the world’s – economy. You know, THAT 2008. Before Barack Obama was elected president.
Walker repeats his claims in his “Wisconsin Comeback” ad. Now, unfortunately, you can’t embed his ad, because the Walker Campaign is well aware of its extremely high BS content. That doesn’t stop you from watching it and taking note of its questionable claims:
Never mind that PolitifactWisconsin rated this claim “mostly false,” taking note of the recession:
Marquette University economics professor Abdur Chowdhury attributed the loss of jobs mainly to the Great Recession.
“If you think about it, Wisconsin fared much better than many other states — the total U.S. job loss during the Great Recession was about 8 million and Wisconsin’s share was less than 200,000,” he said. “I wouldn’t blame the Doyle administration solely for this job loss. In the face of a national economic collapse, there wasn’t much that the Doyle administration — or, for that matter, any other administration — could do.”
So yes, while 133,000 jobs were lost, Politifact points out that “Experts…note that Wisconsin actually fared somewhat better than the rest of the country.”
So you can see that the lost jobs are rather far from being the indictment of Democrat governance Walker intended. Rather than ruining Wisconsin, Gov. Doyle kept things from being worse than they could have been – again thanks to an economic crisis caused in large part by Republican economic policies in Washington.
And then there is the little matter of Walker’s brag that he would create 250,000 jobs. He didn’t. He hasn’t even created half that. But he’s bragging that he created jobs and refusing to admit he broke his promise.
Or that his ability to create jobs at all is due in large part to an economic crisis overcome in no small part to Democratic policies in Washington. Policies Walker’s fellow Republicans have done everything they can to obstruct.
In his second debate with Democratic challenger Mary Burke, Walker claimed that he will leave Wisconsin a surplus – a $535 million surplus:
The most recent fiscal year just ended with a cash balance of some $517 million. And the next state budget will begin with a surplus of over half a billion dollars — $535 million to be exact. That means we can invest in our priorities.
Far from leaving a $1.8 billion deficit due to, as PolitifactWisconsin puts it, “Tax cuts approved by Walker and the Republican-led Legislature, which contributed to a slowing of revenue,” Walker is claiming that Republican governance actually works!
Does it? No. The actual balance will be ZERO dollars. But Republicans know that if you play with the numbers enough, you can make them say anything you want.
PolitifactWisconsin rates this one “False,” noting that “the governor is seeking to have it both ways, trumpeting the bureau’s method when it suits him and rejecting it when it does not.” In other words, he is not using the same accounting methods used to leverage Gov. Doyle’s deficit.
There are a lot of reasons to dislike Scott Walker, not least among them his Tea Party ideology, the groups endorsing him, the corruption of his administration, and his Religious Right pseudo-morality (check him out on Right Wing Watch as well). He opposes abortion even in cases of rape and incest, but he realizes this position is not popular and so he has hedged on the campaign trail, saying only that he is a vague “pro-life.”
Leave aside for a moment the idea of a “pro-life” position that denies healthcare to sick people who might die without it. As his opponent, Democrat Mary Burke has said, “He hasn’t been straight with people. He does owe it to the people of Wisconsin to be clear on these issues.”
The Young Turks took an instructive look at Walker’s pro-life stance the other day:
Walker hasn’t been straight about a great many things. From a surplus that doesn’t exist to a deficit that his own party’s policies created, to jobs he promised to create but didn’t, Walker has been a disaster for Wisconsin: for women’s rights, for workers’ rights and a living wage, for religious rights, and if he hasn’t exactly run the Wisconsin economy into the ground on the scale of say, Kansas or Michigan, it isn’t from want of trying.
Wisconsin voters need to go the polls knowing what they are facing under four more years of Walker corruption and voter fraud, his hatred of the mentally ill, not to mention arresting kids and grandmas. They need to show that, contrary to Republican claims, Wisconsin voters are not “stupid.”
In the past, Mary Burke has been criticized by liberals and progressives alike, but Mary Burke doesn’t have to be perfect to be better than Scott Walker. She only has to not be Scott Walker.
Hrafnkell Haraldsson, a social liberal with leanings toward centrist politics has degrees in history and philosophy. His interests include, besides history and philosophy, human rights issues, freedom of choice, religion, and the precarious dichotomy of freedom of speech and intolerance. He brings a slightly different perspective to his writing, being that he is neither a follower of an Abrahamic faith nor an atheist but a polytheist, a modern-day Heathen who follows the customs and traditions of his Norse ancestors. He maintains his own blog, A Heathen’s Day, which deals with Heathen and Pagan matters, and Mos Maiorum Foundation www.mosmaiorum.org, dedicated to ethnic religion. He has also contributed to NewsJunkiePost, GodsOwnParty and Pagan+Politics.