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10 May 2012

FollowUp 29: Wisconsin Republican Dirty Tricks

So, Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker now has a clear target, Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett who won Tuesday's primary.  And the distortions and lies are ramping up.  There are six claims made in this new ad, with varying amounts of accuracy.
"Walker has focused on creating jobs"
Not exactly.  As a new Governor, Mr. Walker called a special session of the Wisconsin legislature in January of 2011 to focus on tax breaks for the wealthiest people in Wisconsin.  These tax breaks also went to businesses, which may be where Mr. Walker is claiming he focused on creating jobs, but it didn't work.  The new tax breaks resulted in a budget deficit which he later claimed to have inherited.
"and balanced the budget without raising taxes"
Well, it is true that he didn't raise taxes.  Instead he cut programs and eliminated collective bargaining for public sector employees who had not supported him in his 2010 election.  The budget which had been brought into balance by former Governor Jim Doyle was now out of balance.
"Scott Walker eliminated Wisconsin's deficit."
No.  Mr. Walker created that deficit.
"Under the Barrett administration, Milwaukee ranked 4th worst in the nation in poverty"
This is true.
"3rd worst in employment"
Also true, but let's put this into some perspective.  The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel explored the issue of unemployment in Milwaukee and in the state of Wisconsin.  Perhaps a graphic from them will help.

The truth is that the Great Recession, becoming evident at the end of the Bush years, clobbered everyone.  The City of Milwaukee, as Wisconsin's largest urban center, naturally got hit hard.  That hit to Milwaukee was proportional to the hit to the State of Wisconsin and the rest of the United States.  Neither Mayor Barrett nor Governor Walker are responsible for the Great Recession.
"and property taxes skyrocketed."
As Governor Walker cut back on services, Mayor Barrett attempted to keep up.  Local taxes are the only response to the state pulling back resources or things would have been worse still.

These arguments are distortions and distractions.  Governor Walker would not be facing a recall election next month if he really had focused on creating jobs.  Instead, he focused on destroying unions, undermining social programs, and removing access to women's health care.  That is why he is facing a redo of the November 2010 election less than two years later.

Mayor Barrett has a somewhat mixed record, as was discussed clearly by his biggest primary opponent, former Dane County Executive Kathleen Falk.  That record is nowhere near the disaster described by Mr. Walker.  But Mr. Barrett has not been a disaster as Governor of Wisconsin as Mr. Walker has.  If the Democrats of Wisconsin are wise, they will focus on Scott Walker's real record.  In a sense, the June election is placing Mr. Walker on trial.  No matter how wonderful or less than wonderful Mr. Barrett, it is Mr. Walker who lied to Wisconsin about his stand on unions and undermined decades of fairness in Wisconsin.

I was going to close the discussion here, but just received a link to Congresswoman Tammy Baldwin, a candidate to replaced the retiring Herb Kohl for the United States Senate this November, on MSNBC with Chuck Todd this morning.  Her discussion goes far beyond just the gubernatorial race but is germane.  The discussion of the recall begins at the 5:50 mark.

Late evening update:  Channel 3000 reports that a series of reports at WISC-TV finds the Walker ad misleading.  They go through a number of the details, including that Mr. Walker was Milwaukee County Executive for seven of the eight years that Mr. Barrett was Mayor of the City of Milwaukee, which does imply some degree of joint responsibility for the problems in Milwaukee.  Read their short article, please, for yourself.

16 November 2011, Original Pedantic Political Ponderings post.
30 November 2011, FollowUp 1.
4 December 2011, FollowUp 2.
11 December 2011, FollowUp 3.
14 December 2011, FollowUp 4.
15 December 2011, FollowUp 5.
30 December 2011, FollowUp 6.
13 January 2012, FollowUp 7.
17 January 2012, FollowUp 8.
25 January 2012, FollowUp 9.
2 February 2012, FollowUp 10.
9 February 2012, FollowUp 11.
12 February 2012, FollowUp 12.
18 February 2012, FollowUp 13.
22 February 2012, FollowUp 14.
6 March 2012, FollowUp 15.
12 March 2012, FollowUp 16.
16 March 2012, FollowUp 17.
30 March 2012, FollowUp 18.
31 March 2012, FollowUp 19.
3 April 2012, FollowUp 20.
4 April 2012, FollowUp 21.
11 April 2012, FollowUp 22.
14 April 2012, FollowUp 23.
17 April 2012, FollowUp 24.
21 April 2012, FollowUp 25.
29 April 2012, FollowUp 26.
2 May 2012, FollowUp 27.
6 May 2012, FollowUp 28.

13 May 2012, FollowUp 30.
23 May 2012, FollowUp 31.
24 May 2012, FollowUp 32.
30 May 2012, FollowUp 33.
2 June 2012, FollowUp 34.
4 June 2012, FollowUp 35.
5 June 2012, FollowUp 36.

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