Taking on the unions is usually first off for Walker, the Wisconsin governor and Republican presidential candidate. It is the very rationale for his candidacy. And on Thursday, he took a detour from the campaign trail to appear here before the annual meeting of the conservative American Legislative Exchange Council, a group of state legislators dedicated in large part to defeating unions.
Walker then went on to celebrate his triumphs over the demonstrators who objected to his dismantling of Wisconsin’s public-sector unions, portraying the pro-union forces as violent thugs. “Those big government interests — they believe they can win by intimidating elected officials,” he said. “There were amazing things they did to try to intimidate us. The good news is we didn’t back down. We remembered the reason we were elected was not to serve the few in our state capitol, but to serve the masses.”
This is the essence of Walker’s appeal — and why he is so dangerous. He is not as outrageous as Donald Trump and Sen.Ted Cruz (R-Tex.), but his technique of scapegoating unions for the nation’s ills is no less demagogic. Sixty-five years ago, another man from Wisconsin made himself a national reputation by frightening the country about the menace of communists, though the actual danger they represented was negligible. Scott Walker is not Joe McCarthy, but his technique is similar: He suggests that the nation’s ills can be cured by fighting labor unions (foremost among the “big government special interests” hurting America), even though unions represent just 11 percent of the American workforce and have been at a low ebb.
No he did not. This is a false argument twisting the points which Walker made. "If I can take on labor unions, I can take on ISIS." In fact, Walker's win over the unions was harder fought, because he relied on the free, voluntary democratic process. To defeat terrorists, all it takes is guns and bombs. There is no need for persuasion of voters, along with legal demonstrations
For the record, labor unions have routinely restored to violent, illegal tactics in pursuit of their goals. The International Longshore and Warehouse Union killed "scabs" and shut down entire cities. They celebrate these atrocious deeds every year on "Bloody Thursday". As mentioned above, public sector unions are the dangerous element in many states.
He denounced the protests against his efforts to undo the unions as “thuggery.” He described collective bargaining as a “corrupt system” and diagnosed union leaders as having a “sense of entitlement.” After beating public-sector unions and surviving recall, Walker this year signed anti-union Right-to-Work legislation. He has said he doesn’t think the minimum wage serves a purpose, and he has opposed prevailing-wage and living-wage requirements.
They are thugs. Period.
The bulk of Walker’s stump speech to the Koch-brothers-financed ALEC was about how his “big, bold reforms took the power out of the hands of big government special interests” — namely, unions. Left unmentioned: how his big, bold reforms produced only half the number of jobs he promised, and resulted in delayed debt payments and deep cuts to education to overcome a budget deficit.
Walker, describing the bargain shopping he does at Kohl’s department store, said he would do the same with taxes. Arguing that “few people could afford” high tax rates, he proposed that “we can lower the rates, broaden the base, and increase the value of people participating in our economy. Years ago, a plan like that worked pretty well . . . We called it the Laffer Curve back then. Today, I call it the Kohl’s curve.”
|Walker asks Milbank and the Public Sector Unions. . .|
It was a zany analogy. Kohl’s offers discounted merchandise for middle and low-income consumers. The Laffer curve, as the basis for supply-side economics, meant huge tax breaks for the rich that never trickled down.
But deception is the demagogue’s tool. Walker spoke Thursday about “the death threats not just against me and my family but against our lawmakers,” and about the nails put in the driveway of one lawmaker to puncture his tires. Such behavior is beyond the pale — though hardly unique to Walker’s opponents. And some of Walker’s claims — including the alleged threat to “gut” his wife “like a deer” and of protesters “beating” and “rocking” a car he was in — could not be substantiated by independent authorities.
Now the bigger question: what deception? Scott Walker has been telling the truth and exposing the true face of Big Labor and other Big Interests hurting everyone else. Milbank puts up a bunch of strawmen arguments, but has nothing to back up his hollow assertions. I have never ready such over-heated illiberal rhetoric with such a separation from facts.
No wonder Justice Antonin Scalia stopped reading the Washington Post and denounced its journalism as "shrilly, shrilly liberal".
Major correction needed her. Trade unions are toothless only because of Walker's steel resolve and the reforms which he and his legislative colleagues passed. Here, Milbank tried to portray them as the weak and beggarly element in the political process. After five months of protests, including threats in front of Walker's family, plus the years of buying up support and getting laws passed which favored their narrow interests at the expense of the public interest, unions finally got beaten down.
Milbank's widely wild editorializing is desperate as well as shameful, deceptive and unserious. Walker is indeed dangerous, but not because of falsehood and fraud, but because of his frank truth-telling and reform-minded resolve to do what is right for Wisconsin and for the country.