Scott Walker’s unprincipled rigidity
By Dana Milbank
Sunday, February 27, 2011
“He’s not one of us.”
Walker thought he was talking to a patron, conservative billionaire David Koch, but thanks to the amateurish management that seems to be a hallmark of his governorship, he was instead being punked by an impostor from a liberal Web site.
In the recorded call, Walker praised a centrist state senator, Tim Cullen, as “about the only reasonable one” among the 14 Democratic legislators who fled the state to deny Walker the quorum he needs to destroy Wisconsin’s public-sector unions. But when the fake Koch offered to call Cullen, Walker discouraged him:
“He’s pretty reasonable, but he’s not one of us. . . . He’s not there for political reasons. He’s just trying to get something done. . . . He’s not a conservative. He’s just a pragmatist.”
“Just a pragmatist” – as if it were an epithet. “Just trying to get something done” – as if this were evidence of a character defect.
I reached the unacceptably reasonable and pragmatic Cullen by phone in Illinois, where he is hiding out from Wisconsin state troopers who, dispatched by state Republicans, had been at his home each of the past two nights to try to force him back to the capitol.
Cullen had a description of Walker, too. “This is the eighth governor that I’ve worked with in one way or another – four Republicans, four Democrats – and this is the first governor who takes a clear public position that he will never negotiate,” said Cullen, who worked in Republican governor Tommy Thompson’s administration between stints in the state Senate. “The other seven were willing to take the 70 or 80 percent of what they wanted. . . . That’s what you need to do to make government work.”
Cullen got a call from Thompson last week and is hoping his old friend will persuade Walker to negotiate. But that won’t be easy. Under Walker’s tribal political theory, governing is a never-ending cycle of revenge killings.
“I don’t budge,” Walker promised the fake Koch. He explained that he would increase pressure on state workers by threatening thousands of them with layoffs. He considered planting instigators in the crowd, he said, and he might offer to talk to Democrats – but only as a ruse to get them to return. “I’m not negotiating,” he said.
These are not the words of a statesman. These are the words of a hooligan.
Of course, Washington knows all about tribalism, as both sides giddily await a possible shutdown of the government. But Walker’s excesses show where this leads. It leads to hypocrisy: He called President Obama’s health-care reform an “unprecedented power grab,” but once in office he launched his own grab by attempting to end collective bargaining for public workers. It leads to falsification: He claims he campaigned on ending collective bargaining, but a Politifact analysis found that he did no such thing. And now, it’s leading to fantasy.
Walker told the faux Koch that “before we dropped the bomb,” he showed his Cabinet a picture of Ronald Reagan and proclaimed that “one of the most defining moments of his political career [was] when he fired the air traffic controllers.” That, Walker said, “was the first crack in the Berlin Wall.” And now, “this is our time to change the course of history.”
It takes some creativity to liken the air traffic controllers to Wisconsin’s public workers, who are not on strike and have offered concessions. It takes even more creativity to credit the firing of the controllers (rather than, say, Reagan’s military buildup) for the fall of the Berlin Wall. And it takes gall for Walker to claim the mantle of Reagan, who compromised with Democrats and Soviets alike.
Maybe Tim Cullen knows about that. “Reagan was able to work deals,” Cullen, who was Wisconsin’s Senate majority leader during Reagan’s presidency, recalled. Walker, by contrast, is repeating the mistakes of Obama, who, Cullen thinks, overreached on health care. Even if Walker prevails, “it would be a short-term win,” he said. “If you do it with only one party, you often lose that 40 percent that’s in the middle.”
Contrast that with Cullen’s philosophy, which he says he learned from Lyndon Johnson: “Any person not willing to settle for half a loaf has never been hungry.”
Only a truly unreasonable man would say that Tim Cullen is not one of us.
Corporations ” collectively ” bargain with the Government for the price of their Services.
The Worker, of course, has that same Right.
I love these Republicans on here trying to say what a ” Fair Price ” is for a Teacher’s Work Product!
Are they COMMUNISTS or something ?? heh – cheeky Devils.
The ” free ” market, including ANY form of Bargaining applies to all groups equally – even Churches.
You cannot apply different rules to one group and not another.
It’s obviously Discrimination.
If ” Corporations are People ” then, of course, ” Unions are People “, too.
Can’t get around that.
The Courts have all upheld ” Collective Bargaining ” because there is nothing in the Constitution to PROHIBIT IT, oh Strict Constructionists.
Now if you can get an AMENDMENT to the Constitution that it isn’t fair for contractual parties to deal with the government collectively, then the Corporations will have to abide by that as well.
Whatever applies to the Union must also apply to the Corporation – if the ” Taxpayer’s Money ” is to be protected.
By what mechanism will the Republicans prohibit C.B. for Public Workers, yet allow it for the private sector ?
What does such a Law look like ?
And will those limitations apply to Corporations who do Business with the Government ?
As it stands – there is no foundation to present a claim that the Workers should be denied their Collective Rights.
Allowing private bargaining and prohibiting public bargaining would be PURE Discrimination.
All Politics is Collective.
2/26/2011 7:41:28 AM
David Koch was a vice-presidential candidate in l980 on the Libertarian ticket with Ed Clark. Their platform: Abolish Social Security, corporate taxes, the Federal Reserve Bank, welfare, minimum-wage laws, etc. They lost.
Now, David Koch is pushing the same agenda, using his billions to buy power via his Republican drones. What he couldn’t achieve legitimately in l980 he is now attempting to achieve through subterfuge and his Republican surrogates He cares not for ordinary people. His main goal is power, the power he failed to gain in l980 and he pulling out all the stops to destroy anyone who stands in his way.
2/26/2011 7:39:17 AM
Here’s what kills me about Walker. It was his party that stole our retirement funds and ruined our economy.
And it was Clinton – a Democrat – who gave us a surplus and that with good stewardship it would have lasted.
In addition, what Clinton (who was more conservate than any Republican ever was) did was a REPUDIATION of what the Republican Congress was demanding at the time (i.e., “tax cuts uber alles – especially the rich who are going to vote for us and grease our palms” and “corporate welfare, even for corporations that are making money hand over fist because that’s what we do in exchange for their bribes”). The Republicans haven’t been the party for fiscal prudence or individual rights since the 1800s.
And as soon as Clinton left and Republicans were put in charge they ate up that surplus with Bush tax cuts that didn’t pee jobs, a hamfisted, unsanctioned nation-building misadventure in Iraq while we were purposely misinformed about “significant quantities of uranium from Africa”, along with inflated no-bid contracts, and the manufacture of outmoded weapons while soldiers were sent off without protective gear; and lots of corporate welfare – like subsidies for the oil industry that was already making money hand-over-fist. They GOBBLED IT UP.
What else did the Republicans give us that brought us to the 2008 DISASTER THAT YOU FORGOT ABOUT? It was
Sen. Phil Gramm (REPUBLICAN, Texas),
Rep. Jim Leach (REPUBLICAN, Iowa), and
Rep. Thomas J. Bliley, Jr. (REPUBLICAN, Virginia),
who concocted the Gramm–Leach–Bliley Act, that not only allowed commercial banks, investment banks, securities firms, and mortgage brokers to consolidate, it also allowed these gigantic venal thieves to not only inflate stocks and mortgage values but take on these riskier investments while at the same time removing any requirements to maintain enough equity.
Thus exposing the assets of its banking customers – US.
It was worse than any ponzi scheme – worse than Madoff who was able to thrive under these circumstances – because it is what ruined the teachers’ retirement. Now Walker is demonizing them because they had a contract, and it’s been broken. He even wants to take away their right to negotiate.
Ah, Republicans. Can’t live with them, CAN’T LIVE WITH THEM.
They can’t even remember who co-wrote or voted for the first stimulus package – who acknowledged spending was necessary, as our country took a nosedive (remember in Dec 2008 when we lost 500,000 jobs and those banks were failing? Or how each month during that last quarter we were falling down, deepening into a hole that is an abyss – like your lack of memory which has your irresponsible ideology in a bit of a bind?) Not only did John Boehner your majority leader help write it, but 169 Republicans voted for it with only 25 against. And it was so poorly written it enabled Wall St. execs to award themselves bonuses.
At least when Obama took office his stimulus measures had protective provisions, helped middle class families, and has been receiving dividends that are paying it back.
What else did this DEMOCRATIC PRESIDENT immediately do?
–Ordered all federal agencies to undertake a study and make recommendations for ways to cut spending.
–Negotiated deal with Swiss banks to permit US government to gain access to records of tax evaders.
–Shut down offshore tax safe havens.
–Ended a previous policy of offering tax benefits to corporations that outsource American jobs.
–Put in new consumer and small business protections that prevent credit card industry’s predatory practices and excessive surcharges.
–Made more loans available to small businesses through community banks.
–Ended the previous practice of forbidding Medicare from negotiating with drug manufacturers for less expensive drugs, thus bringing the medicare expenses down and lowering prescription drug costs for senior citizens.
–Stopped the manufacture of several outmoded weapons systems that were costing us billions.
–Scared the crap out of the Republicans who did nothing about these things which ramped up the rhetoric courtesy of Roger Ailes, a political operative who is now president of a fake news channel that should be called out by the FEC, particularly since they solicited campaign contributions on behalf of Republicans who were running during the mid-terms.
But worse the Republicans have devolved into being over-run by demented John Birch Society lunatics and batchit bigots. When Arlen Specter, who served the Republican party for 44 years left, he referred to them as “cannibalistic” – he was being too kind.
Just what is their mandate? It isn’t jobs. Boehner shrugged his shoulders and said, “so be it” at the prospect of lost jobs. Walker’s threatened to lay off thousands.
And the republicans’ constituents? who lap up Roger Ailes’ employees’ trype? Traitors as far as I’m concerned – a willfully ignorant mob antithetical to human rights and true decency. Pigs at the trough. Cowards.
2/26/2011 7:36:44 AM
1 and Done – You have it exactly right. I guess these union idiots would rather be getting zero pension in 10 years when the state can’t meet any of its obligations, than taking responsible actions to restore fiscal integrity.
2/26/2011 7:33:55 AM
fury60, You left out one important factor, and that’s the fact that the Bush Administration never included the Military costs in their budget.
2/26/2011 7:29:38 AM
“…when he fired the air traffic controllers…was the first crack in the Berlin Wall.”
Gorbachev was shaking in his boots when Ronnie fired those Commie Controllers.
2/26/2011 7:29:08 AM
Mr. Milbank, to borrow a much used phrase from our leader, “elections have consequences…..” and the winners of the last election had a clear message .
During the mid-terms, when a lot of people stay home? And wasn’t that message supposed to be for jobs? Walker has threatened to lay off thousands.
The message is outside his window.
And in 2012, that message will be clear to all of you sick venal Republican John Birch Society lunatics and batchit bigots. THat’s the Federal Election, btw (I doubt you’ve had that on your lesson plan over at Glenn Beck U) where you will see a greater number of voters, many of whom aren’t influenced by a sc&mbag politics station that is referring to itself as a “news” channel.
2/26/2011 7:28:11 AM
Say it ain’t so Dana. You dont’ really think that the Reagan military buildup caused the fall of the Berlin Wall?
2/26/2011 7:21:14 AM
The democratic controlled house in Wisconsin was driving the state into a depression era economy and the democratic governor couldn’t figure it out and then the people of Wisconsin had enough and decided to elect an intelligent body into the state house as well as an intelligent governor. They succeeded in turning the once blue state into a red state with a Republican controlled house and a Republican governor. Governor Walker is doing what the people of Wisconsin voted him office to do. As soon as the unions are abolished, then Wisconsin and other states as well will be able to operate their respective state budgets in the black.
2/26/2011 7:16:16 AM
Walker: “Batty, batty, batty…”
2/26/2011 7:13:39 AM
Mr. Milbank, to borrow a much used phrase from our leader, “elections have consequences…..” and the winners of the last election had a clear message from those who voted them in – they are now delivering – it is you and your ilk who are out of touch and “not one of us”.
2/26/2011 7:09:46 AM
This is a classic warfare. The capitalists (those who hold the “big” money) want to strip the workers of their rights so that the capitalists increase their capital. Now, the capitalists would use their cronies in politics to achieve their goals.
2/26/2011 7:05:20 AM
“Walker has an interesting point of view. He didn’t see Obama’s health-care as an attempt to cut health-care costs, ”
That’s because Obamacare won’t contain costs nor was it intended to.
The only savings came from an anticipated $500B in Medicare cuts which have yet to be enacted. Thus in its current state, Obamacare will simply add another $1T in debt *per year*.
Obama through friendly news agencies has been trying to tell us for 2 years that we don’t pay nearly enough in tax money.
He ignored his own debt commission not because they were wrong, but because they did not suggest significantly higher taxes, nor did they give him the political cover for a VAT tax which he dearly wants.
Now the entire core of his healthcare law is falling apart, both by the judiciary and by a congress who will not fund the thing.
2/26/2011 6:59:12 AM
I am waiting for an essay on politicians in places like San Francisco and Berkeley. They have been doing the same stuff as Walker is doing for years and years. They are always referred to an principled. I guess the word principle only applies to people you agree with and unprincipled only applies to people you disagree with. Wonderful.
2/26/2011 6:53:58 AM
How about an article on obamas recent ruling/decree(whatever it’s called when his majesty issues an order)that he and his boy holder will not defend the marriage law. Didn’t he campaign in support of it? what gives him the right to selece which laws he will defend.
just want to hear your intelligent opinion..
2/26/2011 6:53:06 AM
Oh, and John 1263 is a dope…
2/26/2011 6:51:14 AM
Thanks for your comments. My guess is that I have had ten times the math training you have, but that is not really the point.
I figured up my total taxes a couple of years ago. Between federal income, state income, property, sales, social security, etc. about a third of our stated salaries went to taxes. Enough is enough.
As for the rich, they already pay most of the federal income tax. You don’t have an entitlement to their bank accounts. But you do seem to think that those collecting a government pension have an unending entitlement to mine.
2/26/2011 6:47:54 AM
The bogus phone call let the cat out of the bag. The Union has already said they would agree to the financial portion of the bill, but not go along with an attempt to legislate away collective bargaining rights. WALKER said the issue was the state budget…so what’s the problem? The fiscal issue is resolved, right?
Of the top 10 national political donation groups, three are unions. The rest are ALL huge GOP donators.It doesn’t take a Wisconsin school teacher to figure out that WALKER’s agenda is more national than local for the GOP.
By the way, Texas, a red state where public worker unions are not allowed, has a $30 billion deficit and rising. Fortunately, the GOP can demagogue “illegal aliens” in lieu of non-existent unions for EVERYTHING.KUDOS!!!
2/26/2011 6:40:18 AM
pis1965 wrote …well a lot of liberal jibberish but let me respond
My comment was intentionally stark and blunt to illustrate the simple problem however complex some individuals would like it to be. Attacking anyone who doesn’t agree with you as being ignorant or somehow drinking the FOX “cool aid” is a standard liberal tactic which usually precedes a poorly formed argument and here you fail to disappoint. With regards to your comments on the “faux” deficit I can only assume that you are a bit myopic in terms of half of the state budgets and our federal deficit. The concept being advanced in Wisconsin holds national implications. The concept is whether the solution lies in the private or public sector. I would suggest the former and you champion the latter. Now remember the public sector has been unable to manage finances and loses money for every job it finances (pay someone 50k to do a job you get 3k back in tax) – so maybe getting more private sector jobs in the state would be of value and cutting corporate tax rates although to you I am sure sounds unseemly because some rich will profit will create more private sector jobs and increase the tax base. Wisconsin in essence is competing with Michigan for industry. That Gov Walker is foresighted enough to know that he cannot make this long term investment without enabling state government the authority to create and stick to a budget should be plainly obvious to anyone who has run a private business. Public sector unions cannot be in a position of true negotiation because unlike a private employer the state cannot declare bankruptcy, cannot relocate to another state, requires the service and in most instances cannot outsource it to a private vender and has opposing interests that may well be tepid due to political considerations. This was well recognized by liberal icon FDR who inferred that public sector unions were the road to tyranny. A final thought – leftists always assume there is a governmental solution when in point of fact the problem seems to have been created by poor governance and those in charge of government see fit to flee as their most effective form of problem solving. Is a teachers job so stressful that retirement with benefits at the age of 55 is appropriate or is that so we can hire and pay the new teachers who are looking for work – and when will the union want it lowered to 50 to perpetuate the lunacy. Do the math it doesn’t work no matter how much wealth you confiscate from the private sector.
2/26/2011 6:38:56 AM
The democrats have gotten a huge gift and the republicans unfortunately haven’t political sense to know it. They need to back away from Gov. Walker now. Even now it is most likely to late. If the republican leadership thinks WI. Gov. is increasing chances for 2012 then they deserve to lose in 2012.
2/25/2011 10:07:01 PM
Scott Walker is an egomaniac! He is not serving the State of Wisconsin, he is giving into his own ego and need for power.
2/25/2011 10:06:34 PM
“In Dana Milbank’s world, the US is a Communist nation and Socialism is the norm.
Hey Dana! YOU are not one of us!”
This pablum is a typical example of right wing argumentation. Third grade bullying tactics. An IQ in the single digits.
Poster probably believes in creationism and aliens.
2/25/2011 10:04:18 PM
I’m glad Walker’s leading this charge. I only hope other governors will follow (Republican) or be scared out of their wits and get in with the cutting (Demmunists). Whichever…doesn’t matter just as long as the cutting gets done.
2/25/2011 10:01:39 PM
“Claudiusmaior is literally doing the same thing that he claims others are doing: selectively editing the letter to reflect his beliefs and lying about FDR’s intent.”
I proved that for any reasonable person who can read that jkk1943 was a liar. I proved it definitively.
Now PROVE that I selectively edited FDR’s letter. The right wing liars are out in force tonight but now they have to prove their lies. And that’s all they have: lies.
They are on the side of the one percent that own this country and they have bought every single one of their lies and propagated it against their own economic self interests…. and then they went after the poor and took from them whatever they could. These are decent people?
2/25/2011 9:59:51 PM
In Dana Milbank’s world, the US is a Communist nation and Socialism is the norm.
Hey Dana! YOU are not one of us!
CurrentMoron, no one is “one of you”. You stand alone in your stupidity.
2/25/2011 9:57:18 PM
Folks, lets get real and look at facts, not emotion. The state with the best economy in the US is Texas.
Yes. Let’s look at the facts. Texas has a projected budget shorfall of $27 million.
That’s some great economy! LOL!!!!
Everything else you posts, is irrelevant. You’ve shown yourself to be a complete idiot. I urge everyone to ignore this moron.
2/25/2011 9:54:15 PM
First off, the air traffic controllers screwed themselves because they were not allowed to strike by law. When they did, Reagan was legally allowed to fire them. Other unions told them not to. Wisconsin’s workers are not striking. In fact, they agreed to the concessions in healthcare and pensions, but the dictator lies about that. Funny, he wants to take money away from working Americans, yet he just gave big tax breaks to businesses. Republicans do hate middle class Americans.
that’s right, have to be sooo PC on that one.. it was paid sick days with fake doctors’ notes.
Not striking, of course. That would be against their rules…right?
You are not smart. It’s not that it’s “PC” to not refer to this as a strike; it’s that what the Wisconsin Public Workers are doing is NOT A STRIKE.
The word “strike” has a definition. It doesn’t mean whatever YOU think it means.
2/25/2011 9:49:44 PM
Folks, lets get real and look at facts, not emotion. The state with the best economy in the US is Texas. People are moving there from all over the country to find work. Texas is a right to work state that has been governed by the GOP for decades. Blue states, you name them. CA, MI, NJ, NY, IL are union shop states with high taxes and declining population and business base. These states are also on the brink of bankruptcy. What more proof do you need that liberalism is a historical anachronism and prescription for disaster while conservatism is the wave of the future. Many blue state (WI, PA, MI, NJ) elected GOP to change the dynamic and save their states. Please Obama, butt out and try to fix your own problems. Leave the GOP Governors alone, you jug eared community organizing socialist.
2/25/2011 9:49:03 PM
What a bloody and cruel hoax on the people of Wisconsin!! If possible, recall Walker!!!!!
2/25/2011 9:46:57 PM
What? Milbank the mindless partisan hack demonizing a conservative?
Yawn. Wake me up when something interesting happens.
This isn’t your only post in this thread. If this is so uninteresting to you, why are you posting?
Get a life.
2/25/2011 9:44:42 PM
Give it up, Dana.
2/25/2011 9:44:22 PM
Conservative is the politically correct term for a racist bigot. You only have to wear your white hoods in private homes and clubs is all. Scott Walker is an EMBARRASSMENT TO AMERIKKKA.”
Ahh, yes. Another “tolerant intellectual” shares a profound thought.
2/25/2011 9:41:58 PM
Man you gotta be really stupid and reading at the fifth grade level to draw that conclusion from a letter that was equivocal at best and at the end stressed the special relationship the public employee had to the taxpayer and the government.”
Yeah, and you are just another “intellectual” who is incapable of formulating an actual position and instead just labels all who dare not share his intrinsically correct views as dumb.
Apart from your brainless attack, your point is pathetic. You may want to say that a detailed letter stating explicitly that “All Government employees should realize that the process of collective bargaining, as usually understood, cannot be transplanted into the public service” with a long detailed explanation is “equivocal” and “weasel worded”. As you provide no indication of what you are specifically talking about, we can only assume that you didn’t really read the letter and moved on to your silly knee-jerk reaction.
“The very nature and purposes of Government make it impossible for administrative officials to represent fully or to bind the employer in mutual discussions with Government employee organizations.” Is those the “weasel words” of which you speak? Looks pretty clear to me.
I’m wondering why you think that a letter being “long” is somehow a factor against it’s relevance. Can you explain this bizarre and arbitrary criticism?
We have so much to learn from “smart” folks like you. LOL
2/25/2011 9:38:19 PM
What a contrast. Obama who campaigned on the promise that he would bravely tackle tough issues and not kick them down the road has ignored the sound advice of his own debt commission and insisted on launching a new green energy 500 billion dollar stimulus. Contrast Obama’s craven cowardice and total disconnect from reality with the gutsy pragmatic agenda of Governors Walker, Christie, Daniels and Kasich and you have a stark comparison between Obama’s traditional 1930 era tax and spend liberalism and a new wave of forward looking GOP leadership.
2/25/2011 9:38:07 PM
Conservative is the politically correct term for a racist bigot. You only have to wear your white hoods in private homes and clubs is all. Scott Walker is an EMBARRASSMENT TO AMERIKKKA.
2/25/2011 9:32:55 PM
Claudiusmaior is literally doing the same thing that he claims others are doing: selectively editing the letter to reflect his beliefs and lying about FDR’s intent.
2/25/2011 9:30:47 PM
BobMoses (he will never find the promised land) and Labia Major quote a long, convoluted and weasel worded letter form FDR, where he declines an invitation to a public employee event, as proof that he was not opposed to public sector unions. Man you gotta be really stupid and reading at the fifth grade level to draw that conclusion from a letter that was equivocal at best and at the end stressed the special relationship the public employee had to the taxpayer and the government. Libs, you are on the losing side of history on this issue. Unions are an anachronism in the 21st century. Public sector unions extract rich pension, medical insurance and wage settlements from the taxpaying public who buy and large pay more for their benefits and pension and are paid less than the poor schlubs who pay their way.
2/25/2011 9:29:48 PM
Another great comment! Please keep this up. Others are trying to say what a hero Gov. Walker is even in your own paper!
2/25/2011 9:29:43 PM
Poor Dana…..maybe he can go hang out with the FLEE PARTY in Ill. They can all go boo hoo hoo together. It is amazing to see so many morons totally fine with legislators abdicating their duty. Is it any wonder we are a welfare society?
2/25/2011 9:29:06 PM