To Win Republican Base, Scott Walker Has Gone Far-Right
For years, Wisconsin Republican governor Scott Walker and his supporters touted him as a common-sense moderate, arguing that he is capable of bringing together right and left, Republicans and Democrats, to move his state forward.
But over the past couple years, as Walker has moved toward running for the presidency, he has abandoned this pretense and pushed through a far-right-wing agenda with early primary states like Iowa and South Carolina and their harder-right leaning voters in his sights. Here are some of the most recent examples.
1. Standing Against Marriage Equality: Although marriage equality is now the law of the land and a majority of Americans approve of it, Walker himself appears wedded to the Christian Right, which is crucial in the Evangelical-dominated Iowa primary. Even his own family is upset by his stand: “Our sons were disappointed,” said Walker's wife of his stance on gay marriage.
2. Siphoning Tax Dollars To Corporations With Little Oversight: Like many other states, Wisconsin often rewards corporations with tax subsidies for ostensible promises of job growth. In Walker's case, the governor's office took the unusual step of giving out $124 million, much of it to his own donors, without staff review from the underwriting department— taking corporate welfare to a whole new level of being unaccountable.
3. Gutting Govt. Transparency: In a particularly brazen move, Walker has been trying to gut the state's open records law. Facing a backlash from voters, Republicans have finally relented on their requested change.
4. Crushing Private Sector Unions: Walker originally went after public sector collective bargaining as a wedge, to say it was costing taxpayers money so it needed to be pared down. But he eventually went much further, making Wisconsin a so-called “right to work” state where workers represented by a union are not obligated to pay dues for that representation.
5. Taking Aim At Tenure: Walker's and the GOP's budget proposal would eliminate the state's statutory protection of tenure for public college professors, which raised questions of why a measure that has nothing to do with the budget is in a budget proposal. If the proposal is successful, tenure rules will no longer be protected by the state but instead shift to the auspices of the Board of Regents.
Walker appears to be going down the same road as Mitt Romney in 2012: swing far to the right to win the primary, but ending up on territory that is untenable in the general election.