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Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Walker's Folly

Last night, the citizens of Wisconsin were subjected to a power-drunk madman threatening to shoot his hostages. I give you the man I've started calling the Governor of the State of Denial.

Frankly, I'm a little lost on why he even bothered. It's just the same old crap he's been saying over and over for days. But I guess it's that old Republican impulse; if something isn't working, it's not because it's a bad idea, it's because you're not doing enough of it. "Tax cuts didn't help the economy? More tax cuts!" -- that sort of thing. Conservatives seem to be missing a failure recognition node in the reality acceptance portion of their brains.

Keep in mind that this is the same man who promised to bring 250,000 new jobs to Wisconsin. Now he's threatening to lay off at least 1,500 workers. This makes Scott Walker a little bit of a liar. And people are noticing. While Walker may be hoping for a statewide bout of amnesia, that doesn't seem to be happening. For example, his coalition is crumbling and Republican state senators are working against him behind his back. Mere weeks into his first term, everything's coming down around Scott's ears. Failure on this level takes real talent.

If Scott Walker isn't backing down, then neither are workers. If Walker's bill goes through -- and I don't think there's much danger of that anymore -- labor groups say they'll stage a general strike. Things are most definitely not going Scooter's way.

To give you an idea how Wisconsinites are responding to Walker's speech, check out The Isthmus' Dean Robbins.

On Tuesday, Gov. Scott Walker announced he would give a "fireside chat" to address the pandemonium surrounding his controversial "budget repair bill": the teacher walkouts, the mass protests at the Capitol, the across-the-border flight of Democratic senators who want to preserve collective bargaining rights for Wisconsin’s public employees. Walker's use of President Franklin Roosevelt's phrase suggested that, like FDR, he would try bring an anxious citizenry together.

But, with civil war erupting around him, the governor declined to play the role of peacemaker. With the impassive expression of a corporate ax man, he refused to budge from his proposal and offer a compromise. Who promises a "fireside chat" and then tells hundreds of thousands of people that it's his way or the highway?

Robbins is actually a media critic and, long story short, Walker gets a really bad review. His speech was peppered with talking points and already debunked propaganda -- at one point, he tried to claim that the protesters swarming the square were from out of state. I've got to tell you, I was surprised to learn I'm from Nevada.

At this point, it's looking like Walker has been neutered. His may be the face of this conflict, but he's becoming increasingly irrelevant as wiser and more rational members of our government bang out a compromise behind the scenes.

And his "fireside chat" may only be a pretense to power.


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