The 5 most sordid examples of Scott Walker’s naked political ambition
Arguably the only thing more entertaining than all-out conservative internecine warfare would be a slap-and-tickle fight between Clarence Thomas and Bill O’Reilly over whose sexual harassment victim was hotter.
While the latter may or may not happen in our lifetime (I’m putting the odds at about 15-1, or roughly the same as my eventually taking a swing at Carrot Top), the former may be unfolding as we speak, if the venerable Wall Street Journal is to be believed.
In one of its most explosive and revealing editorials in recent memory, the paper reported that Scott Walker — conservative exemplar and Republican golden boy — may be getting ready to throw his friends under his campaign bus.
According to the Journal, Walker is reportedly negotiating with prosecutors in the John Doe investigation into alleged illegal campaign activity.
Wrote the unknown author, citing unknown sources:
We’ve learned that Steven Biskupic, who represents Friends of Scott Walker, has been negotiating with Wisconsin special prosecutor Francis Schmitz to settle the state’s investigation. The understandable concern among the direct targets of the John Doe is that Mr. Biskupic will cut a deal that would exonerate Mr. Walker while wresting concessions from some of Mr. Walker’s allies.
In other words, Walker may be trying to save his own skin and keep his gubernatorial (and presidential) ambitions alive — and if he has to screw over some of his most ardent supporters and toss his cherished ideals out the window, so be it.
Later, the Journal called Walker’s initial response to its editorial “disingenuous,” but said it was encouraged by his later comments when he said, “I’m certainly not going to undermine people who share my same beliefs, and I’m certainly not going to undermine anyone’s First Amendment rights.”
So one is left with the impossible task of trying to decide who’s being more forthright — Scott Walker or the Wall Street Journal editorial page. Ouch.
Of course, this kind of behavior from our governor is a pattern. Walker will do what Walker has to do to get elected and stay in office. His starry-eyed (and absurd) presidential daydreaming is proof that his political ambitions have no ceiling.
Need more proof? Following are the top five most cynical examples of Scott Walker’s unbound ambition:
1. The John Doe negotiations: The Wall Street Journal editorial has stunned the true believers in the Republican Party. To them, Walker has always seemed a stalwart supporter of truth, justice, and the American way — because he reliably mirrored their own truth and their own narrow American way. If this goes badly for them, perhaps they’ll start to see what progressives saw when Walker forced teachers and other public workers to march to the gallows in payment for reckless Wall Street bankers’ crimes: The guy’s pretty shady.
2. Sticking a knife in Obamacare — at the expense of Wisconsin’s most vulnerable residents: When Scott Walker famously turned down Medicaid funds available under Obamacare, he was making a stark choice between the welfare of uninsured Wisconsinites and his standing among the howling banshees in the conservative echo chamber. Turning away our own federal tax money to buff up one’s conservative bona fides makes no sense from a governing perspective, but it makes plenty of sense politically — that is, if you’re looking to out-crazy Ted Cruz and Rand Paul. It’s long been an article of faith in the right-wing unreality bubble that Obamacare is a socialist plot, and Walker was simply playing along. The results? According to Robert Kraig and Kevin Kane of Citizen Action of Wisconsin, our state has left $1 million a day on the table that could have gone toward providing low-income Wisconsinites affordable health care coverage. That’s pretty shameful.
3. Romancing Sheldon Adelson: Why would you run, hat in hand, to bow and scrape before a Vegas casino billionaire who bet $92 million in free speech dollars on the wrong horse in the 2012 presidential election cycle, and who is so self-serving and cynical he’s come out in full-throated opposition to online gambling (which, frankly, is a little like Anheuser-Busch campaigning against the shadowy network of Door County cherry wineries that have been ravaging our youth)? Well, because you want to be president, and you don’t care who has to bribe you to make that happen.
4. B.S.-ing about his economic record: This blog has cited numerous examples of Walker’s Silly Putty economic reality, but he really took the cake recently when he touted the 17,000 new businesses that have sprung up during his tenure — businesses that he claims are poised to hire thousands of new workers. As Politifact pointed out, many of those businesses are volunteer-run nonprofits, LLCs set up by real estate investors, out-of-state companies, and startups that aren’t yet ready to hire.
Apparently, this was the governor’s way of explaining away his now-embarrassing pledge that he’d create 250,000 jobs in his first term. Said Walker: “On average — some will do more, some will do less — but if in the next year or so they each add up to 10 new employees, you add that to the more than 100,000 new jobs we’ve created and you see we surpass 250,000 new jobs.”
That’s some weird math — akin to counting your chickens before any eggs have been laid.
Add to that his insistence that Chief Executive magazine’s ranking of the “best states for business” indicates something other than rich guys’ preference for living in states without an income tax and you’ve got a real beef booyah of nonsense.
5. Adventures of a Milwaukee county executive: This isn’t the first time Walker’s neck has been in a noose, of course. John Doe I, which investigated the activities of Walker’s staff while he was Milwaukee county executive office, resulted in six criminal convictions but did not ensnare the governor himself.
Of course, that doesn’t mean Walker was pure as the driven snow. As Progressive Editor Ruth Conniff wrote after the John Doe email dump earlier this year:
With the release of thousands of pages of secret emails from Walker’s time as Milwaukee County executive, we get a full picture of the contempt Walker and his “inner circle” had for the people they were hired to serve.
The now-public emails collected in the John Doe investigation of Walker’s administration during his Milwaukee County days show how he and his team hijacked a local government, turned it into a campaign operation, and transformed what were once public-service jobs into vehicles for advancing his political career.
You’ve got to think where there’s smoke, there’s fire. And where there are firefighters, there’s some concern that the situation could blaze out of control.
With respect to the John Doe II negotiations, Walker appears to be protecting himself. If someone else’s house burns down … well, that’s just a shame, isn’t it?
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