August 19, 2017

Walker Drops a Bomb

“Elections have consequences!

This was the refrain heard many times over the last two weeks in support of Governor Scott Walker‘s attempt to destroy collective bargaining for unions that don’t support conservative Republicans. Scott Walker ran for office promising to take away the right of unions to bargain, he won and thats how democracy works. Sounds pretty straightforward.

Senator Lindsey Graham asserted it on MEET THE PRESS:

Graham: In a democracy, when you run on something, you do have an obligation to fulfill your promise. He didn’t take anybody by surprise, he’s doing exactly what he said. There was a referendum on this issue and the unions lost, and the Democrats in Wisconsin should come back to Wisconsin to have votes.

Like this one, Walker supporters shouted to the TV cameras: “”We did have an election and Scott Walker won,” said Deborah Arndt, 53, of Sheboygan Falls. “I think our governor will stand strong. I have faith in him.”

George Will echoed the falsehood on ABC THIS WEEK:

WILL: Governor Walker was elected promising to do what he’s doing. He did the same thing as county executive in Milwaukee.

It may be understandable as to why Graham and Will made false assertions. Governor Walker himself made the very same assertion soon after the controversy began:
“I campaigned on (the proposals in the budget repair bill for Wisconsin) all throughout the election. Anybody who says they are shocked on this has been asleep for the past two years.”
….Scott Walker on Monday, February 21st, 2011 in a news conference

Really? Asleep? Is this a promise Walker made to voters when he ran for office? As I pointed out last week I couldn’t find the pledge to ban collective bargaining or disembowel union abilities to monitor members anywhere in his fact sheet on matters concerning labor. He did promise to make unions more responsible for payments to health and retirement plans, something the unions agreed to do some time ago.

Now after extensive investigation Politifact weighs in:

For this item, we reviewed dozens of news accounts and various proposals on Walker’s campaign website to determine what he said about collective bargaining during the campaign. We talked to both campaigns in the governor’s race, and union officials.

During the campaign, Walker prided himself on presenting many specific proposals to voters. Our Walk-O-Meter includes 60-plus specific promises. Indeed, his plans for the state Department of Natural Resources include at least seven specific elements, including appointment of a “whitetail deer trustee” to review deer counts.

But nowhere in our search did we find any such detailed discussion of collective bargaining changes as sweeping as Walker proposed.

…..Walker contends he clearly “campaigned on” his union bargaining plan.

But Walker, who offered many specific proposals during the campaign, did not go public with even the bare-bones of his multi-faceted plans to sharply curb collective bargaining rights. He could not point to any statements where he did. We could find none either.

While Walker often talked about employees paying more for pensions and health care, in his budget-repair bill he connected it to collective bargaining changes that were far different from his campaign rhetoric in terms of how far his plan goes and the way it would be accomplished.

We rate his statement False.

Andrew Sullivan echoed one of the points I made here last week:

If you campaign on one platform and then suddenly up the ante, you cannot cite democracy in your defense. And there is something bizarre about Republican commentators who cheered on Tea Party protests against a clear Obama campaign pledge – health insurance reform – suddenly decrying public protests against something a politician didn’t campaign on….Andrew Sullivan

Candidate Obama and Democrats ran for office promising major overhauls in medical insurance and healthcare reform. The President and his party delivered on their campaign promise. Conservatives at the time didn’t accept the consequences of elections. They claimed healthcare reform was ‘rammed down their throats’, ‘unAmerican’, ‘unconstitutional’.

In his taped conversation with the Faux Koch Walker explained how he and his advisors concocted their secret plan: “We talked about what we were going to do, how we were going to do it. We had already built plans up. This was kind of the last hurrah before we dropped the bomb.

Who drops bombs on unsuspecting Americans?

POLITIFACT