When Scott Walker became governor of Wisconsin, one of the first things he and his fellow Republicans did was work into the wee hours of the night to pass laws that would end up devastating the state's economy, environment and the rights of most people. These include things like Act 10, the attack on public workers such as teachers, even though Walker not once mentioned this during his campaign.
Eight years later, when the voters of Wisconsin finally had enough of Walker and his lies and corruption, they ousted him from office. Sadly, Walker has chosen to leave office the same way he came in - with lies, chaos and corruption.
After the elections, Republicans called for an extraordinary session of the legislature to pass a last minute corporate welfare bill for Kimberly Clark, a paper manufacturer.
Last week, the Republican legislature worked into the wee hours of the night to pass an unprecedented power grab. They stripped the incoming Democratic governor-elect, Tony Evers, and the incoming Democratic attorney general-elect, Josh Kaul, of much of their powers. They even found time to give the wealthiest of the state yet another tax break, put work requirements on healthcare and to greatly curtail early voting.
The one thing they never even discussed was the bailout for Kimberly Clark, which was supposed to be the whole purpose of the session.
Now that these power grab bills are with Walker, he is trying to simultaneously rationalize and minimize these bills with a lengthy Facebook post:
Let’s set the record straight – the new governor will still have some of the strongest powers of any governor in the nation if these bills become law. He will have the power to veto legislation and he will have some of the broadest line-item veto authority of any governor in the nation.
The new governor will be able to appoint members of his cabinet and of various other state government posts - as well as judges, district attorneys, sheriffs and other officials.
The new governor will be able to sign off on administrative rules. He will be able to present a biennial state budget. He will be able to pardon convicted felons.
None of these things will change regardless of what I do with the bills passed in the state Legislature last week.
:He goes on to outline the supposed criteria he is using to evaluate the bills. In truth, he only uses only two criteria:
- Will it help forward my future political aspirations?
- Will it please my corporate special interest masters?
Walker has given every indication that he's going to sign these bills, despite the fact that he had vetoed some of them before and had advocated against others:
Walker's openness to providing more say to the Legislature over state agencies comes after rejecting similar measures in his last state budget that would require state agencies to report to the Legislature.
In vetoing the measures, Walker said the language would put an unfunded mandate into state law and would "encroach" on his office's "responsibility to manage state agency programs within the statutes and funding levels set by the Legislature."
Walker also advocated against reshaping state government in the final weeks of an outgoing governor's term in 2010 when he asked then-Gov. Jim Doyle not to act on a number of measures, including making permanent appointments, and asked the Legislature not to approve public employee union contracts.
Now, Walker has appointed Department of Administration Secretary Ellen Nowak to the Public Service Commission and Attorney General Brad Schimel as a Waukesha County judge.
It should also be noted that they had already tried to limit early voting on the major urban areas like Madison and Milwaukee, both Democratic strongholds, but these laws were struck down in court.
So, why would Walker sign these now when he was against them before. Let's look at his personal criteria. Walker's political career is dead for all practical purposes, so that's not it.
But it will appease his masters, like the Koch Boyz and the Bradley Foundation. He's probably hoping to gain their favor so that they give him a do nothing job where he can collect a paycheck for doing an occasional dog and pony routine when they want him to.
Walker's legacy will be able to summarized in one short phrase - Once a weasel, always a weasel.