Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker began the campaign the ‘dark-horse’ candidate that many in the mainstream media thought would be able to appeal to the most right-wing elements of the Republican base whilst also not necessarily alienating some on the moderate wing of the party. However it has now become abundantly clear that this is false; despite a decent amount of coverage from CNN, who were among those news organisations who said that he could be the nominee, I completely forgot he was on the stage until I read my notes over, which I would suggest shows that he didn’t make his mark.
Walker, on the issue of Donald Trump’s temperament, began the evening with a few decent political jabs at the billionaire by saying that “you can’t take America into bankruptcy like you did in those four major projects” and “we don’t need and apprentice in the White House we’ve got one now”, which, although a snappy statement to criticise Donald Trump, isn’t how the show works but I’ll let that pass. He did, however, get one of the largest rounds of applause of the night by stating that “just because [Trump] says it doesn’t make it true”, and then proceeded to claim to have a good record in Wisconsin by saying that he balanced a $3.6 billion budget deficit by cutting $4.7 billion of taxes to help working families, farmers, smaller businesses and senior citizens.
The Legislative Fiscal Bureau, an independent apolitical body, supports his statement that regular people, which he was describing in politician language, did indeed receive a tax cut…of $11; whilst it’s true to say that people were given a tax cut $11 isn’t a particularly sizeable one, especially as the Bureau also found that corporations received a tax cut of $610 million and millionaires received a tax break of over $1,400. Did Walker balance the budget in Wisconsin? Yes, but this isn’t because he is particularly good at economic policy, it is in the Wisconsin state constitution; if he didn’t he would have been impeached. Wisconsin’s budget has to be balanced biennially- every two years; the Legislative Fiscal Bureau also showed that Wisconsin for the current two-year period is now $1.8 billion in the red, which, if his tax cuts had worked, wouldn’t have been the case.
On the economy more broadly the Wisconsin Governor said he wouldn’t raise the minimum wage before going on to boast about his economic record and how it was based on the 1986 tax cuts of Ronald Reagan “which led to one of the largest sustained periods of economic growth in US history”. This statement’s validity, however, is dependent upon the metric used to define ‘economic growth’. It is true that from 1986-89 the US’ annual growth rate was around 4%, but the overall growth rate of Reagan’s presidency was around 3.4%; in the last fifty or so years, when adjusted for inflation, the rate was higher than Reagan’s under Truman (4.82%), JFK/LBJ (4.65%), LBJ (5.05%) and Bill Clinton (3.88%) all of whom are Democrats. He also reiterated his commitment to ending Obamacare, which he can’t because it’s an Act of Congress and can only be overturned by a Supreme Court ruling, which held up the law in June 2015, or another Act of Congress.
On foreign policy Walker said that he would tear up the Iran deal on day one in office and asked why Obama is giving a state dinner to China, who have been conducting cyber-attacks on the United States. Considering that the NSA has been spying on US allies for a number of years and Governor Walker opposed legislation to limit the NSA’s mass-surveillance programme, a certain saying about people in glass-houses throwing rocks comes to mind. He went on to say that he would use the leadership he showed against protesters in Wisconsin to tackle terrorism; the protesters he was referring to were teachers and their trade union opposing cuts to education, comparing the two is just offensive.
He declared that the unstable world that exists is Obama’s fault because America withdraw military forces from the Middle East, even though the Obama administration is now bombing the shit out of ISIS and is funnelling military aid to (deep breath) Saudi Arabia, Oman, Kuwait, Qatar, the UAE, Israel, Turkey, Egypt, Lebanon and Jordan. On broader national security Walker said that “I will only send in the military if national security is threatened” which sounds good for about seven seconds until he refused a define a ‘threat to national security’, but if his record is anything to go by he’d probably see a big one as unionised workers on strike.
On Planned Parenthood Walker boasted that he had defunded the organisation four and a half years ago; he then commented that there is nothing in the Constitution about a 60-vote rule to defund Planned Parenthood, which is true but ignores the fact that in the Senate the opposing party can filibuster any proposed bill to defund Planned Parenthood with this procedure being broken by a three-fifths majority (or 60 out of 100 votes). Therefore, although Walker is technically telling the truth, he is deliberately omitting information so he can get votes by making grand promises.
Walker’s final remarks were about climate change in which he claimed that Obama’s EPA had said that environmental regulations would have no significant impact upon global temperatures; obviously this is clearly bullshit but the more worrying thing is that Walker believes this talking point because it came from the Cato Institute which he believes is a reliable source of information about climate change. The Cato Institute is a libertarian think tank founded by anarcho-capitalist Murray Rothbard and Charles Koch the chairman and CEO of Koch Industries (which is an oil and petrochemical company); forgive me if I don’t believe the environmental talking points of an oil company whose revenue is $115 billion and whose entire business model is based on fucking over the environment,
In conclusion Walker’s points were almost all entirely false, but that doesn’t really matter as his ability to convey his inane points of view was so poor that, as I said in the introduction, I actually forgot his existence until I went back over my notes.