Paul Adair is a 21-year Germantown resident, retired scientist, writer, and lecturer.
Last week, Scott Walker signed into law a bill which makes it much more difficult to get rid of racist and offensive school mascots. Before signing, he sent a letter to state Native American leaders, saying “I share many of your concerns about some of the mascots and nicknames used in Wisconsin and across America. If it were up to me personally, I would seek viable alternatives that were not offensive to Native Americans.” Walker further stated he said he would “assist in efforts to educate people on how Indian monikers can be offensive.”
Actually, it was up to Walker personally. He holds the veto pen. He could have stopped this slap in the face to Wisconsin Native Americans in its tracks. Why in the world would Walker enact a law that he claims to disagree with?
In a November New York City interview, Walker ran further away from the bill that he signed, saying “I have nothing to do with it. Other than that I have to choose whether or not I am going to sign it or veto it, it is nothing that I have advocated. In fact, all the while they were debating it I was asked at press conferences what I thought about it, and I would say, ‘It is not on my radar.'”
The Governor's behavior in the mascot case parallel his actions on so many other issues. Once again, Walker made a radical-right decision, but then attempted to dissociate himself from that decision. Acting in the interest of his presidential ambitions, Walker made a move that would endear him to far-right primary voters. He then tried to soften that action so that he would not alienate too many moderates in the 2014 Wisconsin gubernatorial electorate.
Wisconsin's Governor is using rhetoric to try to ease the blow of his radical actions. He is trying to have it both ways. He is busily implementing an extremist agenda, but wants to appear to be moderate and reasonable. And this is not his first time.
Right after taking office, Walker ripped apart the state with his notorious Act 10. His law was meant to end collective bargaining for public employees and to kill public sector unions. He repeatedly ran away from the real intent and result of his actions. He repeatedly minimized his aims, disingenuously stating that the law was merely about public sector workers “paying a little more”. (Of course, when addressing out-of-state contributors, Walker boasts that it was all about taking on “the big union bosses”.)
And Walker's “act radically, talk moderately” approach continues. He signed three anti-choice laws in 2012 and 2013, including his “wand up the wazoo” law that mandates forced government ultrasounds. Once again, the governor wants to run away from his actions. All of the anti-choice bills were endorsed by Walker on holiday weekends, in private, with many accompanying, non-controversial bills as camouflage.
When asked about his views on reproductive rights at the 2012 RNC Convention, Walker flippantly dismissed the interviewer, saying, “That's a ridiculous question because nobody I talk to in Wisconsin and the rest of the country talks about that. What they want to talk about is what candidate is going to turn the turn things around and get the economy going again. What candidate is going to fix the budget mess. …..Women I talk to in my state never talk about that issue. They overwhelmingly talk to me about the fears they have about their children....”
Walker has been a consistent anti-choice voice his entire political life. He clearly does not want the press to scrutinize one of the cornerstones of his career. Trying to deflect the focus from his long anti-choice record and the three anti-choice bills he has signed as governor is just one more example of Walker's policy of “act radically, talk moderately”.
And that is not all. In policies from the scandal-ridden WEDC, to the bad deal of Walkercare, to a toothless DNR, Walker has tried to paint his radical actions as moderate ones.
Walker is trying to have it both ways. He wants to implement a Tea Party agenda, but not scare away the independent voters who disagree with that agenda. The result has been a politician who often is seen minimizing or even denying his own actions.
Don't listen to what Scott Walker says, watch what he does. He must be held accountable for the radically anti-worker, anti-women, anti-public education, anti-environment, and anti-growth agenda that he has imposed on Wisconsin. Next November, Wisconsin voters should hold Scott Walker accountable for his actions, not his rhetoric.
The staff at Just Sayin' would like to wish everyone Happy Holidays. And best wishes for a prosperous and healthy new year.