Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker(R) describes himself as a conservative. He is mistaken. He is a “CINO”, which is a Frugal Ron invented acronym for “Conservative In Name Only”.
True conservatives believe in limited government that pays its bills and stays out of our lives as much as possible. Nothing makes a true conservative’s skin crawl as much as hearing the proud label “conservative” applied to Scott Walker.
So what have Walker and his Republican Assembly and Senate colleagues done to deserve being labeled liberals?
- Legislated a patient-doctor-government relationship. Requiring abortion doctors to ultrasound patients and point out the fetal heartbeat and other organs to their patients is an invasion of privacy. It is a heavy-handed liberal method of putting government in a place it has no rightto be. More to the point, it is “Big Brother” right here in Wisconsin.
- Singled out abortion clinics to apply hospital admitting privilege requirements. Women have a Constitutional right to legal and safe abortions. Walker’s attempt to close some abortion provider clinics is a misguided liberal government obstruction of that right. True conservatives will argue that reducing the number of abortions is a greater good that deserves government’s attention. However, instead of using the jack-boot of government to close clinics, a far more effective and less intrusive method for reducing abortions is giving women options. A research proven method (http://www.nejm.org/doi/full/10.1056/NEJMoa1400506) for reducing unwanted pregnancies and abortions is providing free, Long Acting Reversible Contraceptives. These are highly effective, but the upfront costs are too expensive for many women. Using government resources to solve the cost problem is far more effective than the punitive approach Walker and other big government liberals propose.
- Defend until the last breath a law that discriminates against gay people marrying. Liberals believe government has a right to regulate most everything. Laissez-faire, the principle that government has no right to interfere if your actions don’t impact others, guides true conservatives . Gay marriage is a benign activity that does not affect heterosexuals.
- Formed the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation (WEDC). For a guy who can’t seem to do anything right, WEDC is Walker’s flagship failure. From administrative costs exceeding the amounts of grants and loans rewarded, lost records of who got loans, loans to companies already in Wisconsin paying most of their employees less than $10.00 per hour and administrative infighting, the WEDC is a liberal’s dream come true. Conservative’s stomachs churn at the thought of government picking winners and losers in the marketplace. Other nations and states attempting this all failed. Typically, handouts in the forms of grants and sweetheart loan provisions go to political favorites. In the real world, companies needing these grants typically continue needing them. With WEDC, organizations that quietly go about paying their taxes and providing good jobs are now competing for resources against companies subsidized by their tax dollars.
- Stomp on lower units of government. Big liberal government doesn’t want to deal with local autonomy. Walker’s Act 10 made sure that didn’t happen.
- Racked up a $1.8 billion structural deficit. Irresponsible fiscal management means the next budget starts with a huge hole. While Walker continually brings up the $3.6 billion structural deficit he inherited from former Governor Jim Doyle, he doesn’t mention that Doyle’s deficit resulted from the bottom falling out of the economy in the Bush recession. On the other hand, Walker’s structural deficit came about during an economic recovery. There certainly is no provision in Walker’s budgets for the type of economic catastrophe Doyle dealt with.
- Increased debt. When Walker’s first budget went into effect, Wisconsin’s long-term outstanding debt was $12.9 billion. In 18 months, he increased debt by $1.3 billion. The 2013-15 budget authorizes an extra $2.05 billion in borrowing.
- Increased spending. In the just completed 2014 fiscal year, Wisconsin state government spending increased 5.5% from the previous year. This compares to the 3.1% average annual increase during Doyle’s eight year term and the -1.1% change in federal spending in calendar year 2013 under President Barack Obama’s watch. If a black Democrat had increased spending several times anyone’s estimate of the annual rate of inflation, was on track for record borrowing and created a $1.8 billion structural deficit, Republicans would be out for his head.
- Circumvent the Constitution. In 1962, the Supreme Court outlawed prayer in public schools. Many of Walker’s supporters believe it is the lack of the fear of God (differentiated from the love of God) that is the cause of many of this country’s problems. To get around the Supreme Court ban and get prayer back in schools, Walker’s solution is to get taxpayers to finance religious schools with vouchers. Liberals don’t worry about costs, nor do they worry about performance when it gets in the way of principle. Even Milwaukee Public Schools outperformed existing charter schools.
- Use political power to trump experts in environmental safety and education. Conservatives are smart enough to know where to tread and what to avoid. Walker isn’t so blessed. Prostituting the Department of Natural Resources was a huge mistake. Large dairy farms wanting to expand find a DNR approval isn’t worth the paper it is written on. The future of their expansion is now decided in the courts, incurring huge costs for everyone. Likewise, Walker’s poster boy, Gogebic Taconite’s huge strip mine, will more than likely never come to fruition. Gogebic may have gotten a fast track from Wisconsin, but they still need to get EPA and Army Corps of Engineering approval. More daunting is an Ashland County mining ordinance. The company calls Ashland County “hostile territory” and plans on shrinking the mine from the county. If Gogebic thinks Ashland County is hostile territory, wait until they get in court with the Indian tribes.
- Use political power to trump education experts and past legislatures that approved the Common Core. Walker seems impervious to common sense and is set to eliminate the Common Core in education if re-elected. Another liberal over extension of authority is on the horizon.
- Attempted to hinder voting. True conservatives believe in using government resources sparingly. This means only attacking real problems. Voter fraud is not a real problem.
- Pushed through a skewed reapportionment that gave Republicans an advantage in maintaining majorities in the state Assembly, Senate and U.S. House of Representatives. Worse, taxpayers paid independent law firms hundreds of thousands of dollars to calculate and develop maps that are most advantageous for Republicans. Conservatives believe voters should choose their elected officials, not the other way around. True conservatives can live with voters electing liberals in fairly drawn up districts. They know such voters will get what they deserve, intrusive governments with large structural deficits, increased debt, increased spending and a job environment that drives employers away.
This list is by no means complete. Omitted are Walker’s control over the sale of state property and the DNR’s attempt to make the Mackenzie Environmental Center in Poynette cut back environmental education in favor of hunter and trapper training.
We should be used to Republican doublespeak by now. Scott Walker’s hero, former President Ronald Reagan said, “Government isn’t the solution, it is the problem.” Reagan then increased the size of the problem by 81% during his eight year term with huge budget increases.
The bottom line on all this is simple, don’t use party affiliation as the determining factor in deciding who to vote for. Judge each candidate individually using your own values.