Madness in Madison – Scotty Doesn’t Know

By YeOldeScribe ~ March 13th, 2011 @ 1:25 am

We know some of you are probably sick of hearing us (and others) discuss the budget crisis in Madison, WI. We have had quite a few posts on the subject, so expect us to wrap that series up sometime in the next week. We’ll be doing an endgame analysis for both sides, and we have a couple other posts lined up, including PoliticalProgressive.com’s first guest post! Also, be sure you’re checking our Facebook and Twitter pages for updates – we’ll be announcing a new contest soon where you can win a $25 gift card! More on that later.

Yesterday as we were preparing the post for the Japanese earthquake/tsunami disaster, we stumbled across an article that found it’s way to the front page of Yahoo!. In it, we took note of the following quote from Republican Gov. Scott Walker:

“What we’re doing here, I think, is progressive. It’s innovative. It’s reform that leads the country, and we’re showing there’s a better way by sharing in that sacrifice with all of us in government.”

Our writer literally fell out of his chair when he read that. (Seriously, I broke my chair in anger/frustration. Scott, if you’re reading this, you owe me a chair. You owe me – and this great state – a lot more than a chair, but we can start there.) After re-reading the line several more times, we verified that we weren’t seeing things, and that yes, Gov. Walker did just claim to be progressive. Still, we just brushed it off, thinking that maybe no one would notice the claim. Maybe no one else would realize it wasn’t a joke. (Maybe we were still hoping it was.) Today, the Appleton Post-Crescent confirmed it wasn’t. This was their headline for the front page today:

Our initial reactions to the photo and headline:

1) UNYIELDING RAGE!

2) We wanted one of those awesome cigars.

3) This is the top story over the tsunami? Really?

Seriously though, Walker had the nerve to say that this bill was progressive? Walker? The Budget Repair Bill? Progressive? Of course, maybe we were just over-reacting. Maybe we’re in the wrong here. To figure this out, let’s take a look back at our original post on What it Means to Be Progressive.

The best way we can describe what a progressive looks like is to take a closer peek at the graphic from that post. Here it is (from The Democratic Alliance of Northwest Indiana)

So, we figured the best way to settle the debate was to to go down each adjective pair and see which side the bill falls on.

The Budget Repair Bill – Forward Looking or Short Sighted?
Taking a look at the version of the bill that was passed, it’s definitely not a long term fix. The monies saved from collective bargaining are negligible compared to just the pension and benefits section of the original Budget Repair Bill, let alone the bill as a whole. The bill that was passed on Friday does nothing to ensure the long term financial independence of the state, does nothing to deal with the long term issue of the state debt, and does nothing for the long term issue of creating jobs. It does, however, give a short term spanking to people who supported Walker’s opponent in the 2010 race for governor.
Verdict: Short Sighted

The Budget Repair Bill – Innovative or Afraid of New Ideas?
So this section seems like it’s worded poorly, but you get the idea. Is the bill a New Idea or is it the Same Old, Same Old? Interestingly enough, In this regard, Walker’s bill is very progressive. The bill is a departure from the way things have been done for over 50 years, and it’s a very new concept (at least in Wisconsin). The definition for innovate is very vague (and we really don’t like it) – it just means to renew or change. If that’s all that’s in the definition, the bill is innovative (although we’d argue there’s more to innovation than to just be new).
Verdict: Innovative

The Budget Repair Bill – Optimistic or naive?
Another header that probably seems like it’s worded wrong. In answering this question, we’ll look at how the bill was passed, and some of the rhetoric that was used supporting its passage. Supporters of the bill argued that “elections have consequences” (a point we’ll refute in a post tomorrow) and that “Republicans were given a mandate to pass this bill (another point we’ll refute in tomorrow’s second post). Regardless of the rightness or wrongness of the statements (sneak preview: they’re wrong), that language is not optimistic. Instead of saying “let’s work together,” Repubs said “We don’t need to work with you.” That, dear readers, is the definition of naive.
Verdict: Naive

The Budget Repair Bill: Pragmatic or Closed Minded?
This one isn’t even close. Walker and the Republicans refused to negotiate on anything in regards to the bill. Democrats proposed hundreds of amendments to the bill. All were rejected. Democrats in the Assembly wanted to speak about the bill. They were tricked into voting (in a vote where many of their votes weren’t counted). Senate Democrats (even from outside the state) proposed amendments, meeting suggestions, and ways to work a deal. They weren’t considered. In case there’s any doubt in your mind about the answer to this one, we urge you to once again watch this video of the Special Conference Committee and see how closed-minded Walker and his Repubs can be.
Verdict: VERY Close Minded

The Budget Repair Bill – Fair or Selfish?
See the previous section (and video) relating to the fairness of the bill. As for the bill being selfish? Let’s see… those that supported Walker in his campaign to be governor were exempt from the bill. Parts of the bill were designed just to benefit one of Walker’s best supporters, the Koch brothers. I think this one’s decided.
Verdict: VERY Selfish

The Budget Repair Bill – Respectful or Arrogant?
See previous two sections (and subsequent video) relating to Republican treatment of Democrats. The Repubs even had the balls to say “We don’t need Senate Democrats to vote on this bill”, “We don’t need to count the votes of Assembly Democrats”, and my personal favorite, “We don’t need to follow the laws of Wisconsin related to open meetings.”
Verdict: EXTREMELY Arrogant

The Budget Repair Bill – Patriotic or Xenophobic?
Tea Party Members may disagree with us here (and they frequently do), but this bill had nothing to do with patriotism, and it certainly didn’t have anything to do with xenophobia.
Verdict: Neither

So let’s tally it up. Giving each category one vote, the bill is not progressive by a score of 4-1. But, as we noted, there’s also degrees of how well (or not) the bill was progressive. Properly weighing the scores (1 point for regular, 2 points for “very” and 3 points for “extreme”), we see that the Budget Repair Bill is even less progressive than we originally thought, by a score of 9-1. That means the Budget Repair Bill is nine times more non-progressive than progressive.

The numbers don’t like, Scott. Your bill is so far from progressive that it’s almost regressive. Of course, we don’t expect you to follow them. After all, the highest you can count to is two, like your 2.0 GPA that you ended up with from Marquette University. OK, we’ll give you the benefit of the doubt and say you can count to four – the number of years you spent at Marquette before you realized that college wasn’t your thing and you dropped out before graduating.

So Scott, stop saying you’re progressive when you’re not. It really ticks us off. It’s a bold-faced lie that has no basis in fact by any legitimate definition of the word, as we just proved today. Please don’t bastardize our political philosophy with your garbage ideas and proposals that have no place in government, much less a progressive one like we used to have in Wisconsin.

PS: If you keep things up, four might also be the number of votes you’ll get in the 2014 governor’s race (if you can even make it that far).

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