Gov. Walker has divided rather than unified our state’s population.
The March 5 Journal Sentinel reports:
“Gov. Scott Walker's bitter standoff with Democrats and labor unions in Wisconsin has turned the newly elected Republican into a deeply polarizing figure, eroded his standing and left him struggling to win the battle for public opinion, a flurry of recent polls suggests.
In one new survey, 54% of Wisconsinites disapprove of Walker's performance while 43% approve. Walker is viewed less favorably than either of his main antagonists in the state's stormy budget debate: public employee unions and Democrats in the Legislature. And after just two months in office, he inspires more intense feelings - pro and con - than President Barack Obama does in Wisconsin.
Those findings come from a statewide poll of 603 adults taken Feb. 27 through Tuesday for a conservative think tank that has surveyed regularly in the state, the Wisconsin Policy Research Institute.”
See also my previous blog post which reports the results of several recent polls.
Walker’s attempt to strip public employee unions of their collective bargaining rights has been denounced as union-busting and led to huge crowds protesting in Madison at the Capitol. His imperious, dictatorial attitude, refusal to negotiate irked many people.
Can you trust what Walker says? Note that numerous statements he's made have been debunked by the Journal Sentinel PolitiFact Truth-o-Meter.
Walker found time to converse for 20 minutes on the phone with a man he believed to be one of his biggest campaign contributors. Alas for Walker, the caller actually was a blogger from Buffalo posing as billionaire David Koch-- and he recorded their outrageous conversation. This episode did not reflect well on Gov. Walker. Indeed, the Journal Sentinel Editorial Board said what it revealed of Walker’s mind was not pretty.
The radical budget repair bill Walker introduced on February 11 was on a fast track to be approved by the Republican –controlled State Legislature in just a few days (also known as shoving it down our throats) when the 14 Senate Democrats fled to Illinois to slow down the process.
The Senate Democrats’ absence has given us time to analyze Walker’s multi-page bill.
Given time to carefully evaluate the budget repair bill, even the Journal Sentinel Editorial Board which had endorsed Scott Walker for Governor, found it seriously flawed and came out with an editorial on Feb 28, declaring they couldn’t approve the bill as written.
In their Repair this bill editorial, they argued that “Walker and his Republican allies in the Legislature were wrong to try to bust public-employee unions. Workers have a fundamental right to organize.” “Walker's proposals would require an annual vote of members to recertify their union, ban governments from automatically deducting union dues from paychecks and allow public employees to opt out of paying dues and still remain members of a bargaining unit. Unions could negotiate wages but only up to the rate of inflation. That's not negotiating; it's dictating.”
The Editorial Board also objected to how the new rules would be applied unevenly.
It concluded: “ The more radical of Walker's collective bargaining proposals should be killed. The others should cover all unions. Proposals that amount to policy should be stripped out. These include a provision to allow the Department of Administration to sell heating, cooling and power plants without bids and another that would give broad rule-making authority for the Medicaid program to the Department of Health Services. The bill also might imperil federal transit funding for some communities. A fix is needed for that as well.”
The Editorial Board took issue with Walker’s budget proposal, too and questioned its fairness:
“But is this budget fair? The answer to that question hinges on whether one believes the governor's claim that he's giving local governments the tools they need to manage their own budgets. There is ample evidence that his proposals have not done so - or have not done so in an even-handed manner.
The Republican-controlled Legislature can't just rubber-stamp this budget from a Republican governor. Legislators have a responsibility to all of their constituents to give this budget a hard look - and make sure that it is not only frugal but meets those goals of equity and fair play. Transformative change is only good if it's also sustainable.”