POLITICS

Yes, Walker has governed as he campaigned

By |
Politics,Beltway Confidential,Philip Klein

With the recall effort against Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker heating up, Democrats are recycling the old claim that somehow Walker's public union reforms came out of nowhere once he took office.

Earlier this week, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reported that one of the Democrats hoping to challenge Walker, Kathleen Falk, "repeatedly accused Walker of being dishonest during his 2010 campaign, citing as a prime example his decision to all but eliminate collective bargaining for most public workers even though he didn't talk about it during his run for office."

Yet an August 2010 Sentinel article, written in the heat of Walker's run for governor, explored his reform plans. Even back then, unions were already signaling their overwhelming opposition:

The state's powerful teachers union opposes Walker's plan and is signaling a fight over it if Walker is elected and moves the idea forward.

"Our members oppose taking away their rights to collective bargaining, so they would definitely raise their voices against it," Christina Brey, speaking for the Wisconsin Education Association Council, said of Walker's plan.

The August 2010 article went on to say:

Ryan Murray, campaign policy adviser for Walker...said school districts often have some of the most expensive health benefits in Wisconsin and could receive cheaper insurance through the state if they didn't have to negotiate with unions about who would insure their members.

"The way the proposal would work is we would take the choice out of the collective bargaining process," Murray said.

To be sure, the eventual budget repair bill did include measures that weren't specifically proposed during the campaign, but it's typical to campaign on broad outlines and fill in the specifics when elected. The bottom line is that Walker's reforms shouldn't have come as a surprise to anybody. For more, check out this still relevant February 2011 Stephen Hayes piece.

View article comments Leave a comment