The following is a guest post from my sister, Erin Bilyeu. Erin is currently in Bellingham, Washington but she has family in Wisconsin and did her graduate work in Milwaukee. She was watching the recall election closely. When Walker survived the vote she was…not pleased.
My very first introduction to the wiles of Scott Walker was as a graduate student at the University of Wisconsin – Milwaukee. ScottyDubs, as I like to call him, was then the County Executive for Milwaukee County and a staunch advocate of privatizing public assets (see the Milwaukee airport) and severely limiting public services (see the Milwaukee County Parks System, and County Transit System). Although it has been five years since I left Milwaukee to pursue a career in the public sector, I have followed his bizarre rise to national fame as one of the most brazen anti-worker governors in the country.
I wanted to write something eloquent and witty about the results of June 5 recall but like Leslie Knope, I find myself angry. (I tried to find the season finale debate from Parks and Recreation but couldn’t find a clip).
Angry that Scott Walker blamed a manufactured budget crisis on the state’s public-sector workers.
Angry that Scott Walker turned down federal money for a high speed rail line between Milwaukee and Madison, because he wanted to build more roads, causing the state to lose all that money and a company that had planned to expand in WI to move its business to Illinois.
These are the very first things that come to mind. So why do people like him? Apparently they do, because he won two nights ago, causing a lot of divisiveness in the state. But the truth is, I honestly have no idea why. He’s cost the state business and jobs (leading the nation, in fact, on lost jobs). To his credit, he has not spouted any religious douchebaggery, so that does not explain any votes. Public education takes a hit every time teachers are discredited and subjected to unlivable wages, so I’ve never understood that stance. So what we have is a climate in which there is a constant budget crisis, where people do not earn living wages, an education system that will continue to lose good teachers and students will suffer, and where new business opportunities are wasted. Also, apparently he is drinking from the same flask that Illinois governors do, as he may be soon facing indictment.
So, really can someone explain it me? Without calling the people who voted for him stupid, without just going all HULKRAGESMASH like I do? I’ve never heard a single argument in his favor. The budget crisis is bullshit, so don’t go there. There have been countless roundups in the election recall aftermath but none of them can explain to me why people vote this way. Please, someone, inform me, what is he saying that people respond to?