In formally launching his quixotic White House bid in July, Scott Walker tweeted right-wing activists that his presidential run was “God’s plan for me.”
When he abruptly shut down his campaign two months later, Walker said he was responding to a different message from the Almighty. “I am being called to lead by helping to clear the race,” he said, asking other low-polling GOP hopefuls to do the same and allow the party to coalesce behind a candidate who is not Donald Trump.
But within hours of Walker’s departure from the crowded GOP field, his former opponents were scrambling for dollars from his former backers like vultures picking clean a carcass. To date, not one of them has followed Walker and stepped out of the ring.
Back in Wisconsin, Walker faces increasingly hostile voters. Only 37 percent of registered Wisconsin voters approve of the job he’s doing as governor, while 57 percent disapprove, according to a recent Marquette Law School poll.
Walker ran for president with the off-putting goal of “wreaking havoc on Washington” and, unfortunately for Wisconsin, that’s exactly what he seems intent on doing now in Madison. Is he smarting over the humiliation of his train wreck of a presidential run? He certainly seems angry about something.
He could have come back chastened and ready to help the state that he formerly sacrificed to build up a presidential resume. But he didn’t.
With all the pressing challenges facing Wisconsin, including lagging economic growth, fleeing businesses, a broken state budget, inadequate education funding, crumbling infrastructure, overcrowded prisons, the fastest-shrinking middle class in the nation, and a rate of job growth that lags the national average, he and Republicans in control of state government have chosen to focus on divisive, unwanted and unneeded legislation.
One of Walker’s first priorities upon returning home to do the job he’s paid to do is a bill cutting off federal funding for Planned Parenthood of Wisconsin. That ideologically motivated bill serves no practical purpose for anyone, since none of the federal Title X dollars that the GOP wants to deny PPWI can be used for abortions in the first place. What the bill will do is reduce the availability of quality affordable health care for tens of thousands of poor women in the state.
Walker and his so-called “pro-business” GOP allies also want to pass a law setting back medical research by forbidding the use of fetal tissue in Wisconsin laboratories. That law will not only help to stymie advances in controlling diseases such as diabetes and Alzheimer’s, it will also cost jobs and reduce state revenue by forcing the proliferating Madison businesses that specialize in cutting-edge biomedical research to move elsewhere.
Walker’s also dead set on eliminating the civil service reforms adopted by the state over a century ago to eliminate one the oldest forms of political corruption: rewarding donors and campaign workers with lucrative government jobs. The Republicans’ so-called “reform bill” will overwhelm state government with workers who are not hired for their skills or fired for poor job performance. All they need is the right connections.
For evidence, look at the parade of unqualified cronies Walker has placed with the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation, an intended job-creation agency that is among his administration’s greatest failures.
Not one of these bills work on any of the challenges that the majority of Wisconsin citizens want their government to address. They represent the same kind of pandering and self-serving political scheming that has characterized the Walker years and dragged Wisconsin downward in so many ways.
He’s back, and the past is prologue.