Friday, February 20, 2015

Letter to Christian Schneider

Dear Christian Schneider, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel Columnist,

It seems to have escaped you, in your haste to pooh-pooh the New York Times’ coverage of Walker’s attempt to rewrite the century-old Wisconsin Idea, that Walker did not make a drafting error; he made a deliberate attempt to change the University of Wisconsin’s mission from “the search for truth” to “workforce development”. This has been covered in detail by the Journal Sentinel. It is hard to see how you could continue to refer to that as a drafting error without a heavy dose of sarcasm. (Either that, or Walker has shockingly little control over his staff!)

It’s also rather telling that you seem to admire Walker’s straightforwardness (“actually practices the conservatism he preaches”, yet you mention two incidents in which he completely failed to own his beliefs. The clumsy attribution of his intent re: the Wisconsin Idea to a drafting error was one. Declining to answer whether he believed in evolution was another. And despite being on the stage at one of the world’s most respected foreign policy think tanks, he declined to answer any foreign-policy questions of consequence. That doesn’t bother you at all? (Also, you called the evolution question a ‘political question’, which puzzled me. There are questions asked of a presidential candidate that are not political?)

This is a pattern for Walker; he declined repeatedly to state his beliefs on the issue of Wisconsin’s since-overturned gay marriage ban, although he continued to order his attorney general to defend it in court. That is not very forthright behavior, nor is it in line with the image he attempts to promote. It is simply the behavior of someone who is unabashedly seeking higher office and attempting to make himself seem more electable by emitting nothing but anodyne bromides and misleading or false information. You lament liberals’ potshots on the aforementioned social issues and for taking shots at Walker’s status as a college dropout. Very well; let us examine his real qualifications.

Walker falsely claimed during his reelection campaign that he had given the state a $535M surplus instead of a $1.8B deficit, which was measured as such using the same methods that resulted in the $3.6B budget deficit he hammered Jim Doyle for after taking office. But now that that method of calculating the budget is inconvenient for him, he repudiates it entirely. He cherry-picks the numbers to make himself look good, and he is wrong, and he doesn’t appear to care. He has demonstrated that he has no considered opinions on US foreign policy in an issue as important as Syria. In seeking to validate his stance on unions as a foreign-policy issue, he made up Soviet documents that never existed.

His much-touted jobs agency has not only failed to hit its job-creation marks, but has done everything wrong that a job-creation agency can do. Per Reuters: “State legislative audits have found that WEDC has mismanaged taxpayer funds and handed out awards to companies that should not have been eligible for them. The agency also didn't follow up to ensure that jobs were actually being created and failed to track whether businesses were paying their loans back on time, according to reviews in 2012 and 2013. Lassa said the agency had improved its performance somewhat since then.” (You didn’t mention this one in your roundup of recent Walker coverage. Perhaps it hit too close to home.)

He has declined hundreds of millions of federal dollars in money to build a high-speed rail line and to expand public health care in Wisconsin. And he just kicked $108M in loan payments down the road, just like Jim Doyle did… which will hurt more in the long run, as any responsible fiscal conservative will tell you. By declining federal money, kicking debt down the road, setting up a shell of a job-creation agency, and now attempting to gut the UW-Madison system—which will be bad for state business as well as state education—he is attempting to make himself look good for primary voters at the expense of the state that is unfortunate enough to host him.

I’m glad you’ve noticed that liberals are angry about what Walker is doing to Wisconsin.

Why aren’t you?

No comments:

Post a Comment