Scott Walker is definitely Reagan incarnate without the folksy sense of humor or Hollywood ties. When it comes to unions, he's just as vicious and quick to kill them as Reagan was.
After swearing he wasn't going to focus on unions and pay attention to his abysmal job creation record instead, Walker decided to go ahead and give his blessing to the legislature's efforts to fast-track a right-to-work bill.
After saying in his re-election bid that he wouldn't push so-called right-to-work legislation, Gov. Scott Walker voiced support for it Friday and committed to signing it, acting after GOP leaders fast-tracked the proposal for a Senate vote next week.
Walker as a lawmaker sponsored the labor legislation two decades ago and as governor was careful to never say he would veto it, but as recently as September he also said that he would not be "supporting it in this session." That changed Friday as Walker's fellow Republicans in the Legislature made clear they would act on the issue at a time when the governor has won a second term and is now spending more time outside the state pursuing the presidency.
"Governor Walker co-sponsored right-to-work legislation as a lawmaker and supports the policy. If this bill makes it to his desk, Governor Walker will sign it into law," spokeswoman Laurel Patrick said.
The governor's potential White House run was made possible by his signature 2011 legislation known as Act 10 that repealed most collective bargaining for most public employees. Walker pushed the law through despite protests by tens of thousands of union supporters and a historic, unsuccessful attempt to recall him, becoming in the process a conservative icon.
We Are Wisconsin is calling for all Wisconsin residents to call their Senators and voice their opposition for the bill.
There is something about this that makes me feel as though it's less about union-busting (a pleasant side benefit for them) and more about elevating Walker above the other conservatives in the field, making him more like Saint Ronnie in word and deed. Scott Fitzgerald's comments about how it would be received leave me with the sense that he'd actually love to have big protests again to give Walker a chance to use his heavy-handed quash tactics on them and further burnish his reputation as a badass union buster.
For example, this:
"My experience as a legislator is when you have the votes, you go to the floor," said Fitzgerald, who used the same swift action to pass Walker's labor bill in 2011. "...I just have my fingers crossed as to whether something is going to happen like Act 10."
Now what does he mean by that? The fact that they rammed Act 10 through after forcing Democrats back to the state? Or that they got it passed?
The plan to move quickly on the legislation comes a month after Fitzgerald said the measure would not be taken up until after April 7, when a vacancy is filled in the Senate. That seat will go to former Rep. Duey Stroebel (R-Cedarburg), who won a GOP primary this week; no Democrat is running for the seat.
Fitzgerald said he was moving the bill now because he had the votes. He said he also was concerned opponents would launch TV ads that could change some Republicans' minds.
"I lay awake at night losing sleep over that," he said.
Fitzgerald said he brought up the right-to-work proposal to the governor on Wednesday as part of a "long list of topics." On Thursday, he alerted Walker's chief of staff, Eric Schutt, to the plan to take action on the bill next week, according to Walker's office.
Neither Walker nor Schutt discouraged Fitzgerald from putting the bill forward, Fitzgerald said. He called Walker "supportive" but said "he still probably believes there is a potential this could turn into something that would be disruptive."
That doesn't sound like a guy who is all that concerned about disruption as much as it does sound like a guy who is saying one thing and hoping for another.
Still, it's a terrible thing to do, and here's why they've decided now is the time:
Fitzgerald said part of the reason he wants to pass the bill quickly is to prevent unions and businesses from rushing to sign new contracts before the law goes into effect.
If you live in Wisconsin, please dial 1-844-334-3438 to call your state senator and tell them to vote against right-to-work. Then call your friends and ask them to do the same thing.
They're not going to stop until the entire country is working for minimum wage and no benefits. And even then, they won't stop until they've eliminated minimum wage.
Viva la billionaires!