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Let’s take a trip down memory lane to about roughly one year ago, when Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker easily survived a much-publicized recall attempt by state Democrats. From the moment, Walker announced his plans to scale back state union’s (and as a result worker’s) rights to collectively bargain; war was effectively launched.
It all culminated in a failed effort to take back the Governor’s Mansion (though Democrats had more success in ousting state senators) and the creation of a political supernova. Walker was in-demand everywhere as he was apparently “ample proof” that a Republican could go into a blue-leaning state, slash public employees and unions all while surviving millions of dollars from liberal advocacy groups. Of course, keep in mind that Walker was being bankrolled by a couple billionaire brothers; but I digress.
Nonetheless, Walker did healthily survive and was essentially the “belle of the ball” following his victory. Walker clearly relished in his victory too as he was the guest of honor at many Republican fundraisers in the aftermath of the recall election and the focus of his futures didn’t rely on his 2014 reelection bid but on a different year, namely 2016.
But as of late, speculation has intensely cooled off on Walker. That’s in part because a year in politics might as well be a lifetime and also, speculation has centered around Marco Rubio, the emerging Rand Paul and fellow Governor Chris Christie. What Walker has in supposed success in staying pure to his conservative ideology he lacks in media savvy that his “rivals” actually have.
However, maybe its not just being outside the Beltway or lacking the personality of a Christie. Walker appears to be running for reelection but hasn’t officially stated otherwise and seems more preoccupied with visiting Iowa than his state. What is rather telling is that Scott Walker spoke at an Iowan fundraiser that only had one national reporter on scene, which definitely puts him under-the-radar in comparison to his Republican compatriots.
Sure conservatives seem to be thrilled with the idea of a national Walker campaign but will he have a record to run on? After promising to create 250,000 private sector jobs in a four-year term, Wisconsin has only netted 62,000 (and we are in the midst of Year 3 of 4) jobs and ranks 50th (out of 50 states) in short-term job growth.
But its not just in job growth in which Walker’s focus on purity over people may backfire. It doesn’t appear that Wisconsin will be joining in on the Medicaid expansion courtesy of the Affordable Care Act which would hurt the healthcare of many members of the working poor in the Badger State. Though we will have until 2014, the election year, to determine if that will be a hindrance to Walker or not.
Nonetheless though, at last check Walker’s approval rating is at a solid 51% according to a May Marquette University poll. But with the continued sluggish pace that Wisconsin is on for job growth, you could begin to sense that there might be a plummet to Walker’s ratings though that has yet to occur.
For good measure, and this has yet to be publicized as much as some of his more controversial legislation but Walker may just approve a state budget to strip the University of Wisconsin-Madison of an investigative journalism center and by commercializing the bail bonds system which Walker originally vetoed but apparently is considering. Here’s what people had to say on commercializing bail bonds, and it’s not good:
Opponents of the bill say it’s an unseemly assault on a forward-thinking justice system that measures a defendant’s risk using objective evidence and that other states ought to be imitating. They say the bail bonds system would harm public safety and crime victims, cost taxpayers, inflate bail, invite corruption and not necessarily get more defendants to court on time.
Short of bowing to political influence, they say, there is no reason for a lawmaker to vote for the bail bonds provision……….
The American Bail Coalition has registered to lobby lawmakers on the budget bill, hiring prominent Capitol lobbyist Eric Petersen, who also does work for a rent-to-own corporation, a title loan company and tobacco interests as well as other companies. Neither the Bail Coalition nor Petersen responded to requests for comment.
Wow, sounds awful but there were lobbyists so maybe that’ll give Walker ample reason to approve a tax raise to take justice backwards as Wisconsin got rid of a program similar to this 40 years ago. Good ole’ Scotty.
But is Walker’s star fading? At the end of the day you can say that it has considerably dimmed since its brightest point last summer but unlike fellow Governors Bob McDonnell and Bobby Jindal; it hasn’t disappeared either. Still, its going to be hard for Walker to prop himself up as the conservative voice in the primary as his recall election has faded from public memory. Then again, he has two brothers that could send some financial assistance to remind some folks about that as well.