Scott Walker has achieved the impossible: he’s positioned himself to the right of cartoon villain Rick Scott in Florida:
Gov. Rick Scott said during a radio interview Tuesday that Florida shouldn’t move to take away public employees’ collective bargaining rights as the Republican governor of Wisconsin has proposed, reports the News Service of Florida [...] “My belief is as long as people know what they’re doing, collective bargaining is fine,” Scott said in an interview with WFLA Radio in Tallahassee. Scott said what he means is that as long as the discussion is honest about what benefits employees are getting, he has no objection to public employees being members of unions.
This is easier for Scott to say, as Florida is already a right to work state. But I just don’t think you would have heard this kind of answer out of Scott, who released his budget at a Tea Party event, if it weren’t for the weeklong protests in Wisconsin.
And one other thing about “democracy,” which has suddenly been pulled out by the same people who resisted the Obama agenda through protests and legislative obstruction for two years. If that was part of democracy, then so is what is happening in Wisconsin. But more to the point, the bid to strip public employees of their collective bargaining rights was not a part of Scott Walker’s campaign platform.
Last night, I heard on Fox News from Stephen Hayes that Wisconsin governor Scott Walker had run on a platform to end collective bargaining rights for public sector unions. I can find no evidence of this in the public record. It isn’t on his campaign platform where he deals with “government spending and reform”. It’s clear that he vowed to slash pay and benefits for public sector unions [...] But not end their collective bargaining rights on everything but wages. There’s no reference to any such bid in the final gubernatorial debate. Here’s another substantive piece on Walker’s positions on public sector unions from before the election. Again no mention of collective bargaining. The same can be said about his State of the State address on February 1.
And this comes from Andrew Sullivan, not someone predisposed to public sector unions. He’s simply stating the facts, that this has been a bait and switch by Scott Walker to exploit a budget issue to strip workers of their rights. And the media can’t seem to understand the simple facts. The budget repair bill cleans up a $137 million near-term deficit. That’s where the public employee provisions have been placed. It has nothing to do with the $3.6 billion budget gap in the next two years. And the fiscal concessions proposed for unions on their pensions and health care contributions have already been agreed to. This is just cover for something so extreme, Rick Scott won’t agree to it.
This is as good a time as any to announce that I’ll be going to Wisconsin tomorrow, to talk to the major players, protesters, politicians and everyone involved in this extraordinary outpouring of democratic activism.
UPDATE: Walker may just be reading the polls. 61% oppose stripping collective bargaining rights, according to the latest from Gallup. People don’t want this.