Veteran business entrepreneur and longtime business writer and blogger John Torinus put it best the other day:
"Do Wisconsin campaigns mean anything any more?" he asked.
Well, I'd answer that they did until Scott Walker, who Torinus has supported in the past, came along.
The campaign between Mary Burke and Walker, Torinus pointed out, boiled down to who would be better at creating jobs in Wisconsin, the state's economic performance under Walker, and the fact that the governor was not going to raise taxes, period.
Not once did Walker hint that he was contemplating cutting $300 million from the UW System or that he was going to freeze any new public land purchases or float $1.3 billion in bonds to pay for highway projects or curtail citizen input into the DNR and the ag department.
That's been Walker's modus operandi since he ran for statewide public office. During the 2010 election, he famously did nothing but talk about creating 250,000 jobs and protesting plans to expand passenger rail in Wisconsin. He never uttered a word about declaring war on public employee unions, which became his cause celebre after he took the oath of office.
It's an underhanded tactic that effectively thwarts the democratic process. We expect candidates for office to be upfront about their intentions and let the voters make their decision based on what the candidates plan to do.
Worse, though, is that Walker not only underhandedly cloaks his amibitions, he lies about them, too.
The Appleton Post-Crescent asked early in the month:
What happened to "I have no interest in pursing right-to-work legislation in this state."
What happened to "It's not going to get to my desk. I'm doing to do everything in my power to make sure it isn't there because my focal point is private sector unions have overwhelmingly come to the table to be my partner in economic development."
Scott Walker is a bona fide example of how politicians manipulate the system, saying one thing and then doing another, or, in Walker's case, keeping secret what they really intend to do.
He's the perfect example of why Americans no longer trust politicians.
Dave Zweifel is editor emeritus of The Capital Times. email@example.com and on Twitter @DaveZweifel
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