I think it’s fair to say that Scott Walker had a terrible day on Capitol Hill. So bad that you have to scratch your head and ask why in God’s name he would go, as an invited guest, to a House hearing? This wasn’t a hostile but an enthusiastic witness. The only explanation is that, like with the Koch Brothers prank call, Walker loves the attention.
Just look at what was uncovered in a short hearing today. First, Walker admits that he didn’t campaign on stripping workers of their collective bargaining rights:
But today, Dem Rep. Gerry Connolly of Virginia sharply questioned Walker on the matter, and finally got him to concede that he didn’t in fact campaign directly on the proposal:
Asked if he had really campaigned on a plan to roll back collective bargaining rights, Walker repeatedly danced around the question, insisting he had campaigned on a “range” of promises to impose fiscal discipline. But Connolly kept pressing the point, and finally asked him point blank: Did you “explicitly” campaign on this proposal?
“No,” Walker conceded. He then went on to repeat his claim that he campaigned on a range of issues, and insistted that Wisconsinites should not have been surprised by his plan because his views on collective bargaining had long been known.
This is a direct contradiction to his prior statements.
Worse for Walker, he was forced to acknowledge that key elements of his proposal had nothing to do with the budget:
KUCINICH: Let me ask you about some of the specific provisions in your proposals to strip collective bargaining rights. First, your proposal would require unions to hold annual votes to continue representing their own members. Can you please explain to me and members of this committee how much money this provision saves for your state budget?
WALKER: That and a number of other provisions we put in because if you’re going to ask, if you’re going to put in place a change like that, we wanted to make sure we protected the workers of our state, so they got value out of that. […]
KUCINICH: Would you answer the question? How much money does it save, Governor?
WALKER: It doesn’t save any. […]
KUCINICH: I want to ask about another one of your proposals. Under your plan you would prohibit paying union member dues from their paychecks. How much money would this provision save your state budget?
WALKER: It would save employees a thousand dollars a year they could use to pay for their pensions and health care contributions.
KUCINICH: Governor, it wouldn’t save anything.
Again, this contradicts prior statements. Obviously, those measures are simply union-busting ideas. The best part of this was when Kucinich tried to submit a letter from the Wisconsin Legislative Fiscal Bureau that concluded all the anti-union measures were “nonfiscal,” (after all, they were put into a nonfiscal bill) but Darrell Issa refused to enter the letter into the record.
There’s a reason that credible challengers are entering the race to face the Republican 8 in the recalls. Scott Walker is poison and he won’t shut up. He almost cost David Prosser a state Supreme Court seat and led to a 30-point decrease in the polls. And he’s giving state Democrats all kinds of ad fodder for no reason at all by testifying in Washington.