While going out the door a few days ago, Scott Walker made some bizarre comments to underscore why it is that I'm glad he's no longer Wisconsin's governor.
It's no secret that he's a master of dividing and conquering, not interested in working with those on the other side of the political fence and, like his soulmate Donald Trump, throws in some lies in order to make himself look good.
He's also an unabashed hypocrite, not quite as bad as Trump, but close.
So there he was a few days before Tony Evers was inaugurated as the state's new governor and called for civility in our state politics. Walker showed he's not about to change his stripes as he goes to work in a new job cheering on Donald Trump and running his 2020 campaign in Wisconsin.
Elizabeth Warren, the Democratic Massachusetts U.S. senator, had just announced she was forming an exploratory committee to determine whether she'll run for president in 2020, vying for the Democratic nomination to, presumably, take on Trump.
Aha, Walker tweeted: "Just what America needs ... an out-of-touch liberal law professor who thinks government is the answer to our problems. True freedom and prosperity don't come from the clumsy hand of government, they come from the dignity of hard work!"
Mind you, this was from the guy who ash-canned every anti-government and free market principle his party once stood for.
"True freedom and prosperity don't come from the clumsy hand of government"? If that's so, how come Scott Walker and his cronies in the Legislature decided to exert the heaviest hand of government ever with its $3 billion in subsidies and a billion more in local aid to a giant multinational corporation known as Foxconn?
If government, as Walker and his party have always maintained, needs to keep its nose out of private business, then how come the ex-governor saw fit to funnel a nice piece of taxpayer money — $28 million to be exact — to Kimberly-Clark, one of the wealthiest conglomerates among American corporations? It was just another of the numerous times the governor picked sides during his administration.
The Kimberly-Clark deal was probably the most hypocritical of all. Walker was able to pull it off because of the authority he had as governor. He then turned around and signed a law passed by Republicans during a lame-duck session of the Legislature to take that power away from his successor, a Democrat.
Ah, but let us not forget that Walker still believes in the free market — whenever working people are involved.
His classic political stance, one he championed during his brief run for the Republican presidential nomination, was against raising the minimum wage. He dismissed the government-mandated wage as "lame" and insisted that the free market and competition would bring about higher pay. Big corporations might need government help, but surely not the working stiffs, especially if they're members of a union.
That kind of view helps explain why during the past 50 years income equality in the U.S. has been among the worst in the world. Where during the '50s and '60s the top 1 percent of the country received about 10 percent of the nation's wealth, that 1 percent now receives 20 percent of the income.
Somehow that free market hasn't exactly done the working people many favors.
Scott Walker has told us he's going to spend the next few years traveling the country and giving speeches on behalf of Trump and, apparently, taking potshots at politicians like Elizabeth Warren who believe in a more equitable system, where government helps all, not just the wealthy.
Thankfully, he'll be delivering that hypocritical message mostly out of the state of Wisconsin.
Dave Zweifel is editor emeritus of The Capital Times. firstname.lastname@example.org, 608-252-6410 and on Twitter @DaveZweifel.
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