Governor Scott Walker’s “Victory Speech” Tuesday night was appalling. First, he claimed wrongly that his opponent was the puppet of “special interests” and, secondly, he made the scary pledge to weaken the safety net that is needed by many citizens for their basic needs.
Repeatedly he claimed Mary Burke’s campaign was directed from Washington while his own campaign was an old-fashioned political campaign run solely and paid for by the good people of Wisconsin. Yes, Burke’s campaign was helped out by contributions from outside groups, many of which were labor or social justice groups; yet, Walker’s own massive menu of advertisements and campaign costs were paid for by money-baggers from out of state, including groups like the Club for Growth and Americans for Prosperity, backed by folks like the Koch brothers. What gall for the governor to give the appearance he was unfettered by “special interests!”
There’s a ton of difference between special interests of organized labor and Emily’s list that supported Burke, and the big-money interests that paid for Walker’s campaign. Furthermore, when the final tally of contributions – including those of the secretive outside funders – is made, we’ll bet the Walker totals may far exceed Burke’s.
More important, however, Scott Walker’s speech on Nov. 4 was a frightening hint of what’s to come. It was an all-out attack on food stamps, unemployment insurance, health care assistance, public education and other programs that help needy citizens, both rural and urban. In an uncharacteristically fiery speech, he told us he wanted to “get the government out of our lives” and to offer more tax cuts to encourage investment (read, more tax breaks for the wealthy). And how his partisan audience roared!
His spirited address wowed many of the talking heads who commentated on the victory speech, chortling that his big win propels him into the 2016 Presidential races as a possible front-runner. They seemed to overlook the chilling words about his mean-spirited program that can only hurt working families and the poor.
With a heavily Republican State Legislature ready to do his bidding, Wisconsinites face new assaults on public education with an expansion of vouchers, more strict limits on public assistance programs of all types, a loosening of environmental regulations and a continued stifling of wages.
Beware folks. There are frightening times ahead. Mary Burke offered good advice in her concession speech: Don’t give up the fight. – Ken Germanson, Nov. 5, 2014