A Useful Fiction about Milwaukee Executive Scott Walker

Stimulus Investments

Have you ever become proficient on an issue only to see some partisan hack deliberately skew the facts hoping that others won’t see the deception?   We see revisionist history all the time.  But let’s be honest, even reasonable people can have different interpretations of an event.  However, it’s something entirely different when someone skews the facts even though he was corrected on it in the past.  This article is about correcting those who feel the need to tell the same fiction over and over again.

Back in January, there was a big ruckus over a story published in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel about Scott Walker refusing federal stimulus funds.  Columnist Steve Schultz entitled his piece, “Walker Says No Thanks to Federal Stimulus Dollars”, implying that Walker would reject any available stimulus funding for Milwaukee County.  After local leaders and politicians had responded harshly to Walker’s position, Walker published an editorial a week later in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel trying to clarify his position.

Local liberal bloggers went wild with the story and recycled the same old content ad nauseam in their posts for months – yes, I said for months.  After awhile, it got nauseating.  So I decided to do some research to see if Walker was getting a fair shake.  I rummaged the internet reading article after article.  I read every relevant piece on the topic in the local media.  I also read both of Walker’s editorials, one in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel and the other in the Wall Street Journal.  After reading many opposing points of view, I called the Walker Office to verify if Schultze had in deed misrepresented Walker's position.  The answer was a resounding “yes.” 

So I wrote an op-ed called, “The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel Hit-Job on Scott Walker’s Stimulus Position” where I laid out Walker’s position as clear as I could.

Just recently, Cory Liebmann wrote an article entitled, “The Walker Anti-Stimulus Tour” which turns out to be a blatant mischaracterization designed to re-circulate a debunked lie. The basic gist of his piece was that since Scott Walker made such a fuss over accepting stimulus dollars, then perhaps he should tour the state telling those cities and towns that had benefited from it to return those funds to the federal government.  Cory Liebmann writes,            

 

“Eventually he created confusing and ever evolving criteria so that he could give any answer that a potential voter would want to hear on the subject. But despite his deception and various positions, everyone knows that he was and still is against the stimulus. Quite simply it appeases the extreme right wing that makes up his base of support for the Republican primary for governor. Walker hates the federal stimulus, every knows it, and he should have to own his position. All over the entire state."

 

Liebmann states that Walker gave a “confusing and ever-evolving criteria” to give right wing voters what they wanted to hear.  Is this true?  Is Walker's acceptance criterion confusing?  In Walker’s editorial to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, he laid out just three steps for accepting federal stimulus dollars.  (Yes, Walker’s “confusing” acceptance criterion is only three steps.Let’s take a peek.  In order to accept federal stimulus dollars there can be: 

1.        No local match

2.       No long term commitment to the federal government

3.       No continuing operational costs.

Walker’s criterion is so clear, even Liebmann could understand it.  Liebmann also points out that Walker’s acceptance criterion is “ever-evolving.”  I challenge Liebmann to reproduce anything that Scott Walker has said or has written that demonstrates an evolving acceptance criterion.  Maybe he could do a search at the One Wisconsin Now to find more fictional information to help such a search. 

The notion that Scott Walker is opposed to accepting any type of federal funding is absurd.  Back in December of 08, Walker sought out $40 million in stimulus dollars for Milwaukee’s busing system.  And in March of 09, Walker said he wanted the stimulus funds because it met his acceptance criteria.  Why did Walker pursue bus funding?  Simple, if it didn’t cost the county additional expenditures and continuing commitments, he was open to the idea. 

Confusing? 

No. 

Evolving? 

No. 

At the time Walker laid out his acceptance criterion, we heard politicians scaring people talking about “the biggest recession since the Great Depression.”  I only wish we had more politicians in Wisconsin that advocate for the taxpayer, especially during a time when our state budget deficit is hovering at a record breaking high.  Instead, we have a governor who approved of a budget that raises taxes and fees by more than $2 billion and creates $3.6 billion in new spending.  Hey Leibmann, instead of crying about a politician trying to save the county money, why don’t you go after those democrats who increased our state budget to the highest per capita deficit in the nation?  I won't hold my breath.         

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