Tuesday, June 09, 2015

Scott Walker’s Revolt Back Home

Sam Brownback isn't the only Republican governor wreaking havoc on his state while pushing the Tea Party/Christofascist Kool-Aid.   Scott Walker and Bobby Jindal both have presidential aspirations and are focusing what plays well to the most lunatic elements of the GOP base in swing states while things crumble and crash in their home states.  Jindal and the GOP controlled Louisiana legislature have utterly ravaged Louisiana.  Back in Wisconsin, Scott Walker's vaunted policies are wearing thin and he faces a revolt.   A piece in Politico looks at the growing revolt Walker faces at home even as he tries to sell the same poison nationwide.  Here are highlights:

As Walker prepares for a presidential run, he is increasingly speaking to national audience rather than a Wisconsin one. Instead of crisscrossing Wisconsin to get his budget passed, Walker’s calendar is filling up with trips to swing states, like his visit last weekend to Iowa Sen. Joni Ernst’s “Roast and Ride,” a motorcycle-themed political fundraiser.

Walker’s small government rhetoric is getting a warm reception in Iowa, where he leads the presidential field by more then seven points.

In Wisconsin, however, GOP state lawmakers aren’t nearly as enthusiastic about an agenda some see as geared more toward what plays well at those out-of-state stops than what’s best for the people back home. While Walker chatted up Iowans from the seat of his Harley-Davidson this weekend, his fellow Republicans in the state Legislature continued to rework Walker’s budget, having already reversed politically unpopular cuts to education, among other things.

It was just the Friday before last that the Legislature’s budget committee eased Walker’s cuts to the University of Wisconsin System after previously stopping his $127 million hit to public schools. Right about the time the Joint Finance Committee wrapped up its final vote on that piece of the budget late that evening, Walker was 1,000 miles away in New Hampshire addressing the Belknap County GOP Sunset Dinner Cruise.
 "The university doesn't deserve this cut. This is just reality," GOP state Sen. Luther Olsen said ahead of the vote. "To tell people that they're not working hard enough and they should teach more is probably just ridiculous," he said, responding to the claim by Walker and others that the university could absorb the cut through things like requiring professors to teach one extra class a semester.
It’s a scene that’s played out more than once this spring as lawmakers wrangle with Walker’s budget and other issues. His frequent out-of-state trips have given Democrats plenty of fodder to declare Walker an absentee governor placing his expected presidential run above the needs of Wisconsinites.

[I]t is somewhat odd to see a likely presidential candidate who has pinned much of his candidacy on the fights he’s won back home suffering loss after loss on his latest set of budget priorities—especially at the hands of his own party. Some GOP lawmakers privately see a governor who’s rarely on the bully pulpit to provide leadership on things like passing right-to-work, the effort by some Republicans to repeal the prevailing wage and securing the long-term future of the state’s transportation fund.

Some also complain bitterly—though almost never in public—that Walker’s budget was drafted with his presidential aspirations in mind, not what’s good for the state long term.  "We may have a crap budget, but we're going to make it better," freshman GOP state Rep. Rob Brooks said in an unusually blunt moment while on the Assembly floor.

Democrats have chalked up some of the GOP tensions to Walker’s frequent absences. A check of Walker’s March calendar, the last one his office has released to reporters, shows there were 19 days that month in which he didn’t list a single in-state event.

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