Wisconsin’s Republican Governor Scott Walker officially launched his presidential campaign today after several months of courting conservative voters and campaign donors. He is currently sitting near the top of many early polls despite a string of embarrassing responses to softball questions (he’s not sure if President Obama loves America, or if he believes in evolution), multiple federal investigations that could send several members of his staff to jail (one already is there), anemic economic performance (Wisconsin ranks 40th in job creation since 2009), draconian budget cuts, and a recent attempt to dramatically restrict open information laws on the eve of the 4th of July.
As a native Wisconsinite, and recent graduate from UW-Madison, I feel obligated to provide a summary of Walker’s most egregious failures and character flaws for those who are unfamiliar with his abysmal performance as governor. I’m hopeful that a firsthand account of my beloved state’s devolution into a political and economic basket case will convince undecided voters that Walker is completely unfit and unworthy to run a cheese curd stand at Lambeau Field, much less be elected President in 2016.
Many Wisconsinites, including some who voted for Walker, have come to realize that his administration is drenched with corruption, dishonesty, and general disregard for the collective desires of the general public. He is an under-educated (never finished college) puppet politician who proudly used the most underhanded campaign tactics to “divide and conquer” Wisconsin so he could transform the state into a feudal economy run by Koch Industries, the NRA and other deep pocketed special interest groups. Walker’s road to launching his presidential bid is strewn with more wreckage than I can fully discuss in one essay, but the following summary of his most damning mistakes and flaws should make it unmistakably clear that he is woefully unqualified and unworthy of becoming President.
He is anti-education: Walker never graduated from Marquette University in Milwaukee and has been evasive about his reasons for leaving in spring 1990, the final semester of his senior year. Michael Fleet, who taught a course on the politics of developing nations said Walker seemed “utterly bored” in the class. Not an encouraging sign for an aspiring Commander in Chief given the myriad of high stakes issues facing America today. Walker’s lack of respect for higher education is evident in his latest state budget, which slashed $300 million from the UW system, and will result in faculty layoffs and fewer course offerings. He also stripped public school teachers and many other unions of collective bargaining rights, a policy initiative he never spoke about during his first gubernatorial campaign. He also attempted to remove the “search for truth” from the mission statement of the UW school system, which is no surprise considering Walker’s strong preference for lies and deceit.
He is incredibly dishonest: Walker’s highly controversial decision to curtail collective bargaining rights for many public employees (known as Act 10) came as a shock to many Wisconsinites because he never outlined his extreme, divisive, and highly unpopular plan, during his campaign. Walker even described the policy as a “bomb” during a phone call when he was tricked into thinking the caller was billionaire campaign donor David Koch. Walker also promised union leaders he would not pursue right-to-work legislation if he won re-election in 2014 in exchange for their endorsement. He rewarded their trust by signing right-to-work legislation less than six months after taking office. It doesn’t take a trained psychologist to identify Walker as a pathological liar.
When state legislators passed a rider to a budget bill on July 3rd that included shocking restrictions on public access to government documents, Walker’s office did not reveal its role in drafting the provisions. But, less than a week later, Walker was forced to admit that his administration was involved in crafting the regressive changes after fellow Republican lawmakers expressed strong opposition to the changes. Walker’s attempt to change the law, so he could break the law, without actually breaking the law, and avoiding scrutiny for his illegal activities clearly shows that his moral compass is damaged beyond repair.
He is incredibly corrupt: Walker’s attempt to restrict public access to government documents is a survival instinct triggered by a long history of corruption and federal investigations that have been routinely exposed by journalists and watchdog groups. One of Walker’s top campaign aides has already been put in jail for working on campaign activities during normal business hours. Basically, she was using taxpayer money to ensure Walker would win re-election to prolong his systematic dismantling of Wisconsin’s progressive public institutions and continue making backroom deals with campaign contributors.
The most scandalous example of corruption came when Walker’s troubled jobs agency, the WEDC, gave a $500,000 loan to a company owned by a wealthy campaign donor that has since filed for bankruptcy. Walker has consistently claimed he had no idea that the company was given a loan, even though he was the chairman of the agency that signed off on the loan. Walker’s lies were exposed once again when journalists uncovered emails to the loan recipient that were forwarded to Walker’s address. The list of Walker’s connections to dark money, secret backroom deals, and nepotism are too long to list here. If there is one reason why you should not vote for Walker, it is that he could become the first sitting President to be arrested and sent to jail on corruption charges if ongoing federal investigations link him to campaign fraud.
Does America need a President whose chief political strategy is to “divide and conquer” the population? Pitting one group of people against another so he can quietly (often secretly) implement a deeply flawed, extremist agenda that will funnel more money to corporations and the ultra-rich? Does America need a President who repealed Wisconsin’s 48-hour waiting period for handgun purchases less than one week after the tragic massacre of nine innocent people at the AME Church in Charleston? Does America need a President who compared peaceful protesters to ISIS terrorists? Absolutely not. Electing Scott Walker would be the ultimate disgrace to America and everything our country stands for.
The last thing America needs is a morally bankrupt miscreant in the Oval Office as we continue to deal with divisive issues at home and abroad. Hopefully, Scott Walker will be relegated to the scrapheap of history after the 2016 Presidential Election, and his only lasting legacy will be as an entry in Merriam-Webster’s dictionary as an antonym for leadership, morality, and class.
(Title image via).