By Bill Black, the author of The Best Way to Rob a Bank is to Own One and an associate professor of economics and law at the University of Missouri-Kansas City. Originally published at New Economic Perspectives
Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker has channeled his inner Mitt Romney and written off an immense swath of Americans as people he would not represent if he were elected President. Romney wrote off 47% of Americans and Walker wrote off America’s workers. Romney channeled his inner Ayn Rand and labeled 47% of American’s as worthless “takers.” Walker was more extreme. He labeled American workers, peacefully protesting, as analogous to ISIS terrorists. Romney’s dismissal of the 47% was made as part of a fund raising pitch to billionaire supporters who responded warmly. Walker’ war on workers was warmly received by his ultra-conservative base and his ultra-wealthy potential donors.
Romney’s dismissal of nearly half of America helped doom his campaign, but Walker is running for the nomination of the Republican Party, so demonstrating how much Walker hates a large portion of Americans made him the (early) leading candidate for his party’s nomination. (Consider the hypocrisy of this occurring while Rabid Rudi claims Obama does not love America and Walker responds that he doesn’t know whether Obama loves America. It appears that Republicans see nothing inconsistent between “loving America” and despising nearly half of all Americans. What is America if it is not Americans?)
The Wall Street Journal weighed in on Walker’s war on workers in a piece dated February 28, 2015 entitled “Scott Walker Confronts Doubts About His Grasp of Foreign Policy” by Patrick O’Connor with an opening picture of Walker addressing the “Club for Growth.” The Club is composed of ultra-wealthy and ultra-conservative Republican donors who seek to destroy any effort at effective regulation. This February 28 version of O’Connor’s article contained Walker’s slander of American workers.
“The exchange came two days after Mr. Walker raised eyebrows at the Conservative Political Action Conference when he compared Islamic State fighters to union members in Wisconsin who protested his decision to limit collective-bargaining rights for state workers, telling the crowd, ‘If I can take on 100,000 protesters, I can do the same across the world.’
In the March 1 (printed?) version of O’Conner’s piece, however, the photo stayed but the slanderous sentence that was so embarrassing and politically harmful to Walker disappeared from the WSJ coverage.
The further irony is that Walker made his slander of labor as the key to his (bizarre) defense of his foreign policy skills. His metaphorical defense of his non-existent foreign policy skills is that President Reagan’s best foreign policy move (according to Walker) was breaking the PATCO (air controller) strike. Because Walker has removed the right of public employees to bargain collectively and ridiculed peaceful protests by 100,000 workers he is just like Reagan. Because he is just like Reagan he too will be effective in foreign policy. Even without the slander of comparing peaceful worker protests by Americans to ISIS terrorists, this metaphor served as an unintended confession of how little Walker knows of foreign policy – or American workers – or logic.
As anti-worker as Reagan was, however, he continued to praise unions and their vital contribution to America. Ronald Reagan would be unable to win a Republican primary in any state in 2015 because he supported the right of workers to organize and bargain collectively. That is how extreme his Party has become.