Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Governor Walker: Master of Surprises

Wisconsin Senate President Mike Ellis, Republican from Neenah, who was surprised by the Governor.

I've previously posted on the fact that the attack on collective bargaining in Wisconsin was launched by the Governor without his bothering to run it up the flagpole in his gubernatorial campaign.  It was a stealth issue, and would likely have cost the Governor the race had he been honest with the voters about his plans.  He chose instead to be dishonest.

Today's Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reports on the lukewarm reaction of GOP Senate President Mike Ellis and other Republicans to the proposal of the governor to expand school choice into Beloit, Green Bay and Racine.

Money quotes:
"I’m amazed at this. I didn’t see this coming,” Ellis said.
Sen. Luther Olsen of Ripon, a key GOP lawmaker on education issues, said he wanted to talk with leaders in Green Bay before deciding on Walker's proposal.
"I'm not interested in dumping something on them that they say, 'No, we're not interested in having this,'" Olsen said.
Sen. Rob Cowles (R-Green Bay) said he was surprised by the proposal, didn't know much about it and wanted to seek more information from constituents.
The governor unveiled his "plan" not in a education policy speech in Wisconsin, or in a memo or letter to his party's leadership in the legislature, but while speaking on education at a May 9 American Federation for Children (AFC) event in Washington, D.C.  AFC is a right-wing group that is affiliated with a PAC that supports candidates on state and local levels to promote school choice.  It was founded by Betsy Devos, the former chairwoman of the Michigan Republican Party and the daughter-in-law of the founder of Amway.  Ms. Devos is the Chairman of the Board of AFC.  Ms. Devos is also a major contributor to the Family Research Council, founded by James Dobson, the right-wing evangelical minister who famously claimed in a Washington speech to Republican congressmen that SpongeBob SquarePants promoted a "gay lifestyle."  The Southern Poverty Legal Center has labeled the Family Research Council a "hate group."  (Ms. Devos's brother, Erik Prince, is the founder of Blackwater, Inc., the private security firm that gained a little notoriety in Iraq.) 

In a future post I will discuss why the Governor might want to be focused on hob-nobbing with the Princes and Devoses of the world, instead of focused on keeping his fellow Republicans adequately informed of his plans for education in Wisconsin.

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