By Lynda L. Jones
As Governor Walker continues with his National GOP agenda, thousands of protesters continue to grow and support of the 14 Democratic Senators who left the state grows as well.
They are being called ‘Heroes’, because when the State Republicans and Governor Walker decided that they didn’t deserve respect or to have their voices heard, they played the only card that they had…”Leave the state”.
Their stance has allowed time for people to examine what the ‘real agenda’ is in the Budget Repair Bill…union busting…stripping people of rights that were born in Wisconsin…piting the working and middle class against itself…all of these and more are measures being used to push the national republican agenda. And what is that agenda…whatever it takes to position the Republicans to take the White House, and keep their bank accounts full while the working and middle class struggle to make it from one paycheck to the next.
Some news reports stated early on in this battle, “that it appears as though the Republican governors all went into a room and set a national agenda, and it’s being played out now, in Indiana, Ohio, New Jersey and Florida”. So with that being said, how is this what Wisconsin voters want?
Walker insists that this is what he campaigned on, but even those who supported his bid for governor are not agreeing. Mayor Tom Barrett stated throughout his campaign that Walker’s campaign script changed according to the audience that he spoke in front of. Were voters not listening? Or has Walker done what former U.S.Senator Russ Feingold said that he has done, “a bait and switch”. He said whatever it took to get him into the office, and the only promises that he is making good on is his promise to keep his “rich” supporters rich.
The “budget crisis”? It has now come to light that there would not be a severe budget crisis if tax breaks had not been given to corporations. The national republican agenda says, forget about what you see and know as truth, listen to our version of the truth. Union representatives agreed to all of the money concessions, ALL, but they do not want to give away their rights. Walker still says “no deal”, and in the same breath says that this bill is only about the money. He dismisses the tens of thousands of Wisconsin protesters’ voices, he even tries to pretend that most of the protesters are not from Wisconsin. He calls for the ‘Wisconsin 14” to come to work, but he doesn’t want them to do the job that they have been elected to do, “express and be the voice for their constituents who do not want this bill”.
Now, the bully attacks have begun, Senate Republicans voted Tuesday to make the 14 Senators come back to Wisconsin to pick up their paychecks.
The Senate Committee on Organization voted on a 3-2 party line vote, with Republicans voting in favor and Democrats against, to change Senate rules so that senators who miss two consecutive floor days can no longer have their paychecks dropped automatically into their bank accounts. The vote was taken by paper ballot, which allowed Democrats to cast their votes from out-of-state.
Democrats who have already missed two consecutive floor sessions will now have to come to get their paychecks directly from Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald (R-Juneau) on the floor of the Senate.
“The majority leader shall provide the checks only to the absent Senator and only on the floor of the Senate during a session day,” the new rule reads.
Meanwhile, Walker stated in his address Tuesday evening that more than 1500 jobs would be on the line if the 14 Senators did not return by Friday. Walker has also refused to speak with assembly Democrats as they have approached him according to State Representative Tamara Grigsby, “Representatives have gone to his office, only to be told that he is too busy”. Too busy for Democrats, yet he had time to be duped by a prank caller on Wednesday according to news reports.
Gov. Scott Walker, believing he was talking to prominent financial backer David Koch, told a Buffalo, N.Y. blogger that his tough stance against public-sector unions was similar to former President Ronald Reagan successfully taking on the air-traffic controllers union three decades ago.
“That was the first crack in the Berlin Wall and led to the fall of the Soviets,” Walker said, according to a tape of the conversation that was released early Wednesday.
“This is our moment, this is our time to change the course of history,” Walker said, according to the recording.
The conversation was posted by the Buffalo Beast. The website claimed that the conversation took place Tuesday and Walker’s administration confirmed the recording is legitimate.
Again, a further illustration that this fight is not about budget issues in Wisconsin, as Feingold pointed out during a WISN interview, “Governor Walker is not being straight forward with the citizens of Wisconsin. He is attacking the fundamental rights of the people of Wisconsin and using the budget as a cover to do it. He needs to back off, deal with the budget and let go of the demand for citizens to give up their rights. This is about Wisconsin. He is using Wisconsin to make a model for the national GOP agenda”.
Feingold who has not really spoken publicly on politics since he returned to private life said that he was speaking out now because this issue is too important and as a citizen of Wisconsin for 57 years he could not sit back and watch Walker attempt to “gut citizens’ rights”.
Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett weigned in on the Walker agenda; “After our campaign ended in November, I was hopeful that Scott Walker would rise above divisive politics to unite Wisconsinites from across our state to create jobs and fix the budget mess in Madison.
Unfortunately, that is not what has happened. Instead of bringing all stakeholders to the table to find solutions, Scott Walker has declared an ideological war.
Instead of talking with teachers, nurses, and law enforcement personnel to work together on a solution to our budget crisis, Scott Walker is dividing Wisconsinites by attempting to end the collective bargaining rights Wisconsin public employees have had since 1959”. Barrett stated.