Monday, August 22, 2011

Gov. Walker Launches Sham Charm Offensive

Gov. Scott Walker of Wisconsin has suddenly decided to show his "nice" side and make friends with the Democrats:

...after six months of bruising partisan fights, Mr. Walker seemed to issue an utterly different message this month. He said he wanted to meet with Democrats and to find shared agenda items — an invitation that has been met with polite acceptance and deep skepticism.

It's natural that there are those who are skeptical of the governor's motives. First, Walker has already rammed through his right-wing agenda, including the union busting bill denying collective bargaining rights. Then there's the matter of the upcoming recall election against him:

Democrats in the state had harsh theories about what was behind Mr. Walker’s sudden wish to get along. Some said he had already accomplished a stunningly partisan agenda, including the bargaining cuts, an austere budget, a voter identification law, a concealed-firearms provision and a redistricting map that favored Republicans, and was now hoping to appear to be reaching out. Others said he feared a different recall election effort — against him — next year, as well as creating a drag in the state on any Republican presidential ticket.

“This is totally phony — a totally unbelievable act of desperation,” said Graeme Zielinski, a spokesman for the state Democratic Party. “It will fade away and return soon enough to the scorched-earth method that has marked his career.”

Reflecting on the start of his term, Mr. Walker said that he wished he had spent more time “building a case” with the public for why for collective bargaining cuts could shore up budgets, but that he remained a firm supporter of the cuts themselves — a fact that seems certain to complicate any effort for bipartisanship now. 

The new, charming Walker wants to explain the connection between destroying collective bargaining rights and saving money? Someone already told Rep. Dennis Kucinich (D-OH) at a hearing of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee that there is no connection. Who was that person? Why, it was Gov. Scott Walker. Watch:

Kuchinich: How much money does it save, Gov. Walker? Just answer the question.
Walker: It doesn’t save any.
Kuchinich: That’s the point. It obviously had no effect whatsoever on the state budget.

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