He’s actually a progressive! Really!
Governor Scott Walker (R-WI) testified before Rep. Darrell Issa’s Committee Oversight and Government Reform today, saying:
In Wisconsin, we are doing something truly progressive. In addition to holding the line on spending and finding efficiencies in state government, we are implementing long-term budget reforms focused on protecting middle class jobs and middle class taxpayers.
While our idea may be a bold political move it is a very modest request of our employees. We are reforming the collective bargaining system so our state and local governments can ask employees to contribute 5.8% for pension and 12.6% for health insurance premiums. These reforms will help them balance their budgets. In total, our collective bargaining reforms save local governments more than $700 million each year.
Well, no, not exactly. You might recall the “negotiations” in March, in Madison. They attracted some attention, and the Bitch has examined them here. To recap, the Governor asked for two separate concessions from Wisconsin public service unions: he asked for the pension and health care concessions, which he received. And then Governor Walker demanded that the state employees give up the right to collectively bargain for work rules (they may bargain for salaries); however, he exempted the police and firemens’ unions. (And oh, gee, those two groups tend to vote Republican. Who woulda thunk it?)
Then with no small amount of drama and invective, the Gov, assisted by his bros The Bros, shoved his collective bargaining legislation through the Wisconsin legislature, spawning 1) the mass flight of Wisconsin House Democrats to Illinois to avoid the vote: 2) numerous recall efforts for Wisconsin legislators (Walker has to be in office a year before recall efforts can start); 3) recall petitions have been filed against Republican State Senators Dan Kapanke and Randy Hopper (Republicans are circulating petitions against Democrat Senator Robert Wirch). And then a quiet little state supreme court race became, overnight, a proxy war for the pro-Walker/anti-Walker forces, where the Dem candidate was leading by 200 votes, so it looked like a recount. Then, two days later, some 14,000 uncounted ballots showed up… oh never mind. Just Google “Wisconsin” and read about it there.
The point is, Scott Walker is probably the most polarizing elected official in America today, beating out even Sarah Palin, the President, Speaker Boehner and Minority Leader Pelosi. And Chairman Darryl (“I used to steal cars”) Issa brought him to town to chat about his “progressive” reforms in Wisconsin.
Chairman Issa also asked Vermont Governor Pete Shumlin (D) to testify about his progressive efforts to close his state’s budget gaps, which the Bitch feels compelled to point out don’t involve trashing collective bargaining rights or mass protests, unlike some governors in the room. Shumlin professed confusion:
“What is puzzling to me about the current debate about state budgets is that the focus has been not on bringing people together to solve common problems, like we have done in Vermont, but on division and blame,” he said.”I do not believe that those to blame for our current financial troubles are our law enforcement officers, firefighters, and other state employees whose services we take for granted.”
But possibly the best moment came when Rep. Gerry Connolly (D-VA-11) relentlessly pursued the question of Walker’s forthrightness regarding his intensions to bust union butt during his 2010 campaign. Watch the exchange below:
As Greg Sergent points out,
The debate over whether Walker campaigned on that plan has been central to the Wisconsin battle since it began, and it remains significant now that the drive to recall Wisconsin Repubicans is under way. Labor and Dems have argued that their reaction to Walker’s proposal — from the Dems’ fleeing of the state to the decision to initiate the recall drives — has been justified by the fact that Walker never leveled with voters about his truly radical intentions.
The claim that Walker campaigned on the proposal has also been central to Walker’s defense of himself throughout the whole fight, and has been widely repeated by many Republicans and conservatives defending the Governor.
Uh oh. I guess Scott Walker lied, huh? And we all know how the Bitch feels about lying liars who lie…
He even admits it won’t save any money! WFT?!!