Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Pants on Fire Redux

I had raised in a couple of earlier posts whether Governor Walker had been dishonest with the voters of the state by failing to disclose his intention to try to kill collective bargaining if he were elected.  (I am perhaps beating a putrescent horse here.)  I posed two questions previously:   First, did Governor Walker intend to try to put an end to collective bargaining for public workers while he was still Candidate Walker?  Second, if so, did he purposefully fly below the radar on the collective bargaining issue prior to November 3, 2010?

Channel 3's Eric Franke interviewed Governor Walker on March 11, the afternoon the Budget Repair Bill passed the Wisconsin Assembly.  Until someone with access to an interview of the Governor choses to ask the above two questions directly, I think this interview is as close to an admission as you can find that Scott Walker did have the plan to destroy public union collective bargaining before the election. 

Eric Franke:  "Talking about collective bargaining, it wasn't something you talked a lot about, if at all, during the campaign, talking about collective bargaining."

Governor Walker:   "Well, I talked for eight years as the county executive about the problem of collective bargaining.  I talked about pensions and health care, and everytime I tried to make modest changes, collective bargaining stood in the way.  So I have a track record for eight years in Milwaukee County, a county that never elected a Republican before, that elected me three times, because I told people what the problem was, I told people what we needed to do to fix it, and we tried to go out and do it.

"In the campaign I talked about the need to get five and twelve percent (on contributions from public workers to pensions and health care costs) to balance the budget.  I told people I'd look at any of the options out there to get that done, and in the end what we did, what we did, we showed, is collective bargaining does have a fiscal impact.  You can't get the five percent and twelve percent savings unless you have collective bargaining reform, and that's what we did."

If the Governor had not formed the intention to try to remove collective bargaining from public workers during the campaign, Eric Franke's question invited him to clear the record on the topic.  This was on March 11, and by this date the Governor had come under repeated criticism, locally and nationally, of having misled the citizens of Wisconsin about his intentions to destroy collective bargaining.  Instead of denying having any pre-election plans to kill collective bargaining, his answer was, in essence, my eight prior years as county executive should have made my pre-election intentions clear on collective bargaining.

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