March 29, 2015 by Barbara With
On March 25, 2015, former editor of the Waukesha Freeman Pete Kennedy published an opinion piece in the paper urging Wisconsin conservatives to not only reject Scott Walker, but to hold him accountable for the damage he has done to the state.
Kennedy is not the only one urging Wisconsin Republicans to question Scott Walker. Recently extremists in the party, including Rep. Robin Vos (R-63) and Sen. Tom Tiffany (R-12), began questioning Walker’s latest budget, which drastically cuts money for public education, eliminates essential programs for the disabled and elderly that allow them to stay in their homes, increases bonding for transportation and roads, and slashes $300 million from the UW System.
Even Walker’s staunch defender Wisconsin Reporter is remaining silent about recent information that has emerged about Walker’s alleged $1.5 million pay-to-play scheme involving Menards’ president John Menard Jr.
Kennedy’s piece vividly describes how Walker has indeed betrayed even his loyal extremists. Kennedy appears to understand that Walker has been lying to them (and the rest of the state) all along. “Given recent events, I’m not convinced he ever really loved you,” he opines, “but if believing so makes you feel better, then by all means do so.”
Former Republican Senator Dale Schultz is another voice of reason urging his colleagues to reconsider their extreme actions. Known as a moderate while in office, he has spoken out against his former party, saying, “I moved to the left just by standing still” and supporting Democrat Pat Bomhack who ran for his seat.
Schultz was ostracized by Republicans in 2011 when he dared to vote against Act 10, the union-busting legislation that Walker claimed would save millions of dollars. When the 16 democratic senators left the State in February 2011 to avoid voting on the budget (fiscal issues require a quorum), Walker had the specific union-busting clause removed from the budget and passed Act 10 in the middle of the night. Later, appearing before the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, Walker testified under oath that Act 10 would have no fiscal effect.
In Kennedy’s diatribe published in the Freeman, he takes conservatives to task, and does so with voracious sarcasm. Ripping Walker’s 2015 budget, he compares it to the economic plan of former candidate for governor democrat Mary Burke and admonishes the right for shredding Burke but not Walker.
Kennedy spends several paragraphs addressing Walker’s rejection of the Kenosha casino proposed by the Menominee tribe that would have led to billions of dollars in economic gains. Reminding party members of the fact that Wisconsin is 38th in the nation in new job creation, he adds that Walker was ironically in South Carolina campaigning on … his job creation.
Walker not only rejected the Kenosha Casino, he refused to even meet with members of the Menominee tribe who had walked 150 miles to Madison to talk with him about the project.
On the subject of Right to Work, Kennedy notes Walker’s flip flop. However, he fails to mention that, once again, the overwhelming voice of the people rejected Right to Work, dubbing it “Right to Work for Less.” An email from Sen. Steve Nass (R-11) after the Right To Work hearings confirm that of those who registered, 25 were in favor and 1,751 were against. Despite this, the bill was passed the next day.
Schultz says Walker is “courting civic strife” with the Right to Work legislation. “This is going to hurt Wisconsin employers terribly in the long run, as the workforce gets more angry,” he told ThinkProgress.
He also calls out Walker’s lies concerning the proposed changes to the Department of Natural Resources (DNR). Walker’s budget calls for cuts in personnel in a science and research bureau, which Schultz calls “mind-boggling.”
Kennedy concludes his op-ed with a scathing admonishment that Walker is “grinding his heels into the conservatives” and urges conservatives to “fight for this state and hold him accountable; as a conservative you’re in a unique position to do so.”
Schultz left office and has made several appearances and interviews calling out Republicans. In an interview with Bill Kaplan, Schultz summed it up by saying, “The hangover from Walker will be spectacular.”
As Walker mounts his campaign for presidency, it is likely that more and more Republicans will be following suit and hopefully working to undo the damage that already has been done by the Wisconsin GOP.
The rest of the state can only hope.