After 10 months of chicanery, can we really take the governor at his word?After ridding state workers of their rights to collectively bargain their contracts, a practice that has been respected for over five decades;
After cutting hundreds of millions of dollars in taxes for corporations, yet raising taxes through the elimination of a tax credit for working families in the state;
After dismal unemployment numbers over the course of past two months, including figures that demonstrate less Wisconsinites are working than when he took office;
And after all of this, after a series of bills that have nothing to do with job creation (voter ID, concealed carry, etc.), and after it has been revealed that Walker's own cronies have seen wage increases in their government-appointed jobs --
-- Governor Walker has finally decided to make jobs a priority.
Calling the legislature back into session (after a month in which they, too, tried to refuse to work more than a single day), Walker has called on Republicans and Democrats to work together to pass sweeping legislation designed to make Wisconsin a more employable state.
Of course, the last time Walker called a special session on jobs (back in January), we saw huge corporate tax cuts of over $140 million and a bill designed to end the rights of state workers.
Still, the call for bipartisanship is welcomed, and the need for more jobs in our state a serious issue to tackle. Even if we may disagree with the guy, the fact that he wants to shift the focus towards positive action in increasing jobs is something all politicians should aspire towards as well.
But exactly how serious can we take Walker? How can we take his word as sincere, after campaigning all of 2010 on jobs yet doing close to nothing on it for 10 whole months? And how can we expect him to contribute in a bipartisan manner after he worked in a dictatorial way those first 10 months, going so far as to threaten his political opponents in private with a Louisville Slugger?
I truly hope I am wrong on all of this, that the questions I bring up here are simply a mild case of paranoid skepticism. But given Walker's track record and limited commitment to both jobs and cooperation, can you really blame me?
We should encourage calls for cooperation whenever and wherever they come from. But we should avoid being naive as well, save ourselves from being duped and keep a wary eye on those whose record, like Walker's, has been anything but cooperative.