You undoubtedly heard about Russ Feingold being evicted from his U.S. Senate seat by Wisconsin voters last week. What you may not know is that Wisconsin elected a Republican governor as well, and he’s accepted his victory with all the grace divisive partisan bluster we’ve learned to expect from the GOP:
Gov.-elect Scott Walker is determined to bring major changes to Madison — seemingly even before he takes office next year.
Walker, a Republican, has asked Gov. Jim Doyle’s administration to immediately stop some of its key policy initiatives . . .
In a letter sent Wednesday to Department of Administration Secretary Daniel Schooff, Walker urged the current administration to freeze implementation of the federal health care law — an issue Doyle is especially passionate about — and suspend contract negotiations with state employees . . .
That the health-care law hasn’t even begun to be implemented yet (since it doesn’t go into effect for two more years) doesn’t matter to Walker — this is all about showboating and posturing. Which is the only thing that matters to Republican politicians, aside from rewarding campaign contributors:
Scott Walker wants Wisconsinites to believe that Wisconsin can take federal money that was allocated for construction of a national high-speed rail network and use it to build roads. . . .
Not according to Congressman Tom Petri, a Fond du Lac Republican who is a veteran member of the U.S. House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee. While Petri was a Walker backer in the recent election and says he sympathizes with Walker’s plan, he says he can see little hope that Walker’s scheme will get any traction.
Despite what the governor-elect is claiming, his fellow Republican Petri says the money already has been set aside specifically for building up America’s rail infrasructure. If Wisconsin does not want the money, there are other states that want to spend the $810 million to create jobs and position themselves to compete in the 21st century.
Walker is rejecting the money unless he can spend it on his pet projects — or, to be more specific, on the pet projects of his campaign donors in the road-building industry.
Again, Walker certainly couldn’t care less about the fine points of legislative requirements — you can bet that he’ll bluster vaguely about “red tape” and sinister liberal forces that prevent him from steering the federal money to his benefactors. If the Spanish railcar maker that was going to build a plant in Wisconsin follows the money instead and takes its jobs to Illinois, it’s of no consequence to the new GOP governor; he’s not there to serve the average citizen.
Which is why Republicans are so fiercely disciplined when it comes to messaging. They have to be in order to cover up their policy agenda.