A Prayer Breakfast - intended to show spiritual solidarity and the efficacy of prayer - opened up the day of Inauguration for Governor Scott Walker. The morning event seated about 600 guests at the Monona Terrace, showing a fresh assortment of world religions with intermittent prayers from just about every religious representative in the area, including our very own Archbishop, Jerome Listecki.
At the Breakfast, Governor Walker remarked that, as a people, we celebrate the freedom from state-sponsored religion, not a freedom from religion itself. Walker is right. People confuse our freedoms regarding religion, and there really is no better way to clarify and express this truth than by displaying a wide arrangement of prayers by Christians, Jews, Buddhists, and Hindus.
As inaugural guests made their way to the State Capital for the ceremony, protesters gathered at the East Wing showing our new Governor he would get no honeymoon pass from labor unions. Protesters carried professionally stamped signs saying “Scott Walker, you work for us now” or “We need good jobs now.” Others deviated from scripts screaming “Liar, Liar!” The more ideologically driven folks even started a recall petition.
Ironically, in the past two years under Governor Jim Doyle, Wisconsin had lost more than 180,000 jobs. Yet, there wasn’t a peep from state labor unions about jobs disappearing. Reporter David Blaska at the Isthmus had the same observation asking, “Where were they [union protesters] when the previous occupant was shedding jobs at record rates?”
In reality, they didn’t give much a hoot about Wisconsin’s private sector losing 10,000 jobs in September as long as they weren’t government jobs. Some of these folks need a reminder that government workers work for the taxpayer, not the other way around.
Demonstrating a more ideological bent, liberal activist groups like Voces de la Frontera came to protest Walker’s decision to scrap the high speed rail line even though reports estimate that a mere 12 jobs were at stake. Protesting over 12 jobs while ignoring the 180,000 under Doyle rule shows a superficiality in their protest; it also shows that distraction is often made perfect in liberal politics.
Walker’s inaugural speech underlined his top three priorities: “jobs, jobs, and more jobs”. Walker promised, during his campaign, to create 250,000 jobs in his first term as Governor - a feat proved to be possible by Governor Tommy Thompson. Walker also promised to return Wisconsin to a state of frugality using government only to do what’s necessary, nothing more and nothing less.
Tax increases are also off the table; this is a promise that Governor Doyle made during his inaugural speech, but failed to keep it during his first term. Unlike Doyle, Walker’s formula for success will be in his ability to right-size government, create and attract jobs, and broaden the tax base. More than just generalities, Walker has already detailed a pro-business package protecting job creators from frivolous lawsuits, cutting taxes on small businesses, and reducing regulatory burdens on small businesses.
The crown-jewel of the day was the Inaugural Ball also hosted at the Monona Terrace. The Ball took up three floors and several individual rooms with bands playing an array of music. Men were dressed in tuxedos and suits while women wore their elegant dresses. One woman appeared in a wedding dress – although some have speculated it was really a costume designed to get attention. More surprising than anything was the large showing of our youth – a good indication that our college-aged kids are standing up for fiscal sanity and economic vibrancy.
After Governor Walker delivered his speech, he and the First Lady took to the dance floor to the Frank Sinatra’s “The Best is yet to Come.” Soon after, guests filled the floor surrounding the First Couple. We’re still not exactly sure how they escaped.
All in all, the inaugural event was a success. Now it’s time for our 45th Governor to use his political shrewdness to reign in the growth of state government. It has once been said that as government grows, liberty contracts. History has proven this maxim right, and it is up to us to heed the wisdom of the past rather than repeat it.