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Friday, August 08, 2014

 
The Scott Walker paradox

by digby


So here's a little unexpected news out of Wisconsin. This piece in Huffington Post sets the table with this recap of events of the last few years. The liberal protesters --- described as aging hippies are shell-shocked by the overwhelming public support for Scott Walker's neanderthal policies. (It seems people really, really don't like teachers):

They have been coming to the Capitol to sing every day for an hour since 2011, when Gov. Scott Walker (R) caused an uproar by signing controversial anti-union legislation, Act 10, into law. The law took collective bargaining rights away from government workers, required concessions on wages, benefits and pensions, and defanged state worker unions by ending automatic withdrawal of dues from public employee paychecks.

Three years later, a once-proud progressive and organized labor community in this state that roared to life in response to Act 10 has been punched in the mouth so many times it has lost count. The original protests birthed the effort to oust Walker from office, but Walker won the 2012 recall election decisively. And just this week, the state Supreme Court upheld the anti-union law. The legislature is controlled by the GOP, and looks likely to stay that way. National progressive groups, which poured millions of dollars into the failed recall effort, are hesitant to spend more in Wisconsin now.

There was talk during the protests of a new generation of progressive and union activists. But now, Act 10 is generally viewed as a success. Charles Franklin, the state’s top public pollster, at Marquette University, described Walker's labor reforms as "a grand slam" because of the way the public embraced them. The scope and finality of Walker’s victory over labor and the left has been breathtaking.

“It’s hard to fathom,” said Joe Kiriaki, the executive director at the Kenosha Education Association, the third-largest teachers union in the state and the biggest to have its certification stripped in the wake of Act 10. “Folks are pretty disheartened by it all.”

It’s a gloomy time for Wisconsin Democrats. And Walker, one would think, would be poised for a convincing win this fall that would launch him with a head of steam into the 2016 presidential election process next year.

Guess what? He may very well lose. The polls are all favoring his Democratic challenger.

His campaign is going after the Democratic nominee for being a big money outsourcer --- which is confusing the hell out of the Republicans and making the Big Money Boys very nervous. He's boxed in.

I can't get a good sense from reading about this race exactly why Walker is so unpopular even as his slash and burn policies have gone over very well. Maybe it's just him. Which is understandable. He's not the most likeable guy in the world. Whatever happens, the aging hippies of Wisconsin shouldn't get too excited. They are backing a business Democrat who will probably not be able to turn back Walkers agenda, even if she wants to, which is debatable. But it will feel good to beat that jerk --- at least for a moment. And we would all probably be spared the prospect of a Walker for President campaign which is bound to rank right up there with Pawlenty juggernaut for sheer excitement.

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