This is an absolute textbook case of how even mildly progressive governance is far, far better than putting right-wingers in charge. Unfortunately, too many people still don’t base their voting habits on fact and reason, at all. They’re called “conservatives.”
Since the 2010 election of Governor Scott Walker in Wisconsin and Governor Mark Dayton in Minnesota, lawmakers in these two neighboring states have enacted vastly different policy agendas. Governor Walker and the Wisconsin state legislature have pursued a highly conservative agenda centered on cutting taxes, shrinking government, and weakening unions. In contrast, Minnesota under Governor Dayton has enacted a slate of progressive priorities: raising the minimum wage, strengthening safety net programs and labor standards, and boosting public investments in infrastructure and education, financed through higher taxes (largely on the wealthy).
Because of the proximity and many similarities of these two states, comparing economic performance in the Badger State (WI) versus the Gopher State (MN) provides a compelling case study for assessing which agenda leads to better outcomes for working people and their families. Now, seven years removed from when each governor took office, there is ample data to assess which state’s economy—and by extension, which set of policies—delivered more for the welfare of its residents. The results could not be more clear: by virtually every available measure, Minnesota’s recovery has outperformed Wisconsin’s.
(Economic Policy Institute)
Another famous New Yorker, Yogi Berra, once said, “We may be lost but we’re making good time.” That pretty much sums up the current state of Rudy Giuliani’s political reality and doesn’t bode well for his future.
When it comes to Rudy Giuliani, I want to be upfront from the start. I’ve lived in New York City most of my adult life and I have greatly benefited from having lived here. I voted for Rudy Giuliani every time he ran for mayor. He used to live around the corner and down the block from where I’ve lived for the past 30 years. I had the misfortune, one weekend evening, of sitting two tables away from the Giuliani family in an Upper Eastside restaurant. I was more than taken aback when the man who had rid the streets of “squeegee pests” along with high and low priced hookers couldn’t control his own children as they ran riot about the dining floor. Giuliani was as oblivious to his children’s behavior as he was to the displeasure they caused the patrons trying to enjoy dinner that evening.
If you’re not a New Yorker of long standing or one who has resided in the greater metropolitan area for a number of years your opinion of Rudy Giuliani is more likely than not a function of your memories of the September 11 terror attack and his response thereto, which was undoubtedly heroic. His performance in the aftermath of 9/11 led many media pundits to portray Giuliani as an “American Churchill”, something my British friends, both liberal and conservative, roundly derided. However’ if you’ve been here awhile you know full well that the day before 9/11/2001 Rudy Giuliani was pretty much a political has been, having sunk to the level of a political afterthought. He was perceived, socially, as a bit of a buffoon. Prior to 9/11, Mayor Giuliani had made a spectacle of himself, in an unflattering way, by openly discussing his failed marriage in public even before he had completely done so privately with his wife. This was an affront to polite society in particular and viewed with disdain by the public generally. Thus in many ways his latest attack on the persona of Barack Obama is best viewed as Giuliani running true to form. In other words, Rudy Giuliani has regressed to his personal political mean.
Bobby Jindal is our first repeat champion. Here’s a long read on how Jindal screwed up Louisiana, albeit with a complicit GOP legislature. Even conservatives with a last dreg of pragmatism are recognizing what a disaster he’s been.
If Bobby Jindal’s presidential campaign goes anywhere, it will not be because of his record governing Louisiana, but in spite of it. He was first elected as a conservative, clean-government technocrat, and brought a lot of hope to many Louisianians. One of them wrote a Wall Street Journal op-ed column about it right after Jindal’s win. Excerpt:
[T]his election makes me proud and hopeful… . Yes, I’m fully aware that Louisiana is bound to break your heart. … [But] I think [Jindal’s] going to write the next great Louisiana story. Maybe just this once, it’s not going to be a farce.
That columnist was me, the fool.
Next up, Scott Walker can’t tell if President Obama is a Christian. He wants to blame the press, naturally, for asking gotcha questions. He wants to pretend he’s not part of a party where questions like whether Obama is a Christian or whether he loves America are serious topics. Instead, Walker chooses to dodge like a birther pretending he hasn’t seen the birth certificate or like, well, himself avoiding answering questions at a forum in London. I guess no one told him this isn’t like dodging the state press when you’re governor. If a presidential candidate keeps dodging questions, the dodging becomes a story.
This is the right wing agenda, not only in Wisconsin, not only in Louisiana, not only in Kansas, but in EVERY state where the right either has power or is attempting to get power.
That includes Minnesota, where the right has opposed funding for education under a variety of guises. That includes Congressman John Kline, who has taken lots of money from big oil and other fossil fuel corporations, and done a grave disservice to voters and to students. Look for similar moves by other Republicans. This is the epitome of the corruption of government, and of government for the corporations, not for WE THE PEOPLE.
From US uncut.
Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal has slashed funding to public colleges by $600 million since 2008–more than any other state. Over the same period, Jindal has handed corporations $11 billion in tax cuts–also more than any other state. Louisiana now faces a record budget deficit which Governor Jindal proposes to solve by cutting an additional $300 million from state colleges. After he awarded oil giant ExxonMobil with $263 million in subsidies.
Remember back when even some Republicans wanted to be known as environmentalists? Granted, remembering Ronald “trees pollute” Reagan, it looks like George Bush Sr. was already an anomaly. In case there was any doubt though, there’s Scott Walker, pursuing a blatantly anti-environmental agenda. He seems to be covering the gamut, from stripping citizen boards of decision making authority, to selling public lands, to firing the scientists.
Oh yes, those Wisconsin tourism ads are full of lakes and trees. Just look and don’t get wet I guess, or you might get too sick to hear when Walker starts selling himself to swing voters as some sort of moderate.
Remember when Mike Huckabee was the nice conservative? I remember his line in one of the 2008 debates, “I’m conservative, but I’m not angry about it.” He was this amusing guy who made repeat appearances on such lefty media as Colbert Nation and The Thom Hartmann Program. He could disagree with liberals yet be civil about it. For 2016, he decided that crazy sells better than polite. Feeling left out of the conservative angerfest after President Obama’s bit of historical accuracy at the national prayer breakfast (on a tangent, why does Obama show up at that thing anyway?), Huckabee said Obama doesn’t like anyone but Muslims. “This President has a high horse himself. It’s his TelePrompTer,” Huckabee said, apparently still thinking teleprompter references are hilarious. Even on his now defunct Fox News program, at least early one when I watched it once in a while, Huckabee used to come across with a sort of “I don’t dislike you, but I just don’t agree with you” attitude. I also recall some Arkansans saying in 2008 that we shouldn’t be fooled, because we weren’t seeing Huckabee’s other side. I think I see it now.
As if by magic, the Republican Party has rediscovered most of the rest of us. My neck is still stiff from the political whiplash I sustained when the Grand Old Party radically made its 180-degree course change back to the political middle. Did Reince Priebus or anyone else at the helm of the G.O.P. think to pipe that age-old message that all sailors know so well: “Standby to roll as the ship comes about in heavy weather.”
Mitt Romney is running like hell from his now famous 47% comment. In the days before President Obama’s State of the Union Message Romney said that the last six years have seen poverty expand and the gap between rich and poor widen. Gee, what a novel observation, where have we heard that before. Jeb Bush launched his presidential campaign with a declaration, which said in part, “While the last eight years have been pretty good ones for top earners, they’ve been a lost decade for the rest of America.” Mitch MCConnell suddenly believes that the party must focus on the plight of the middle class. Meanwhile, appearing at the Iowa Freedom Summit, Rick Santorum thundered: “We need to become the party of the worker.” Even newly minted Republican Senator Joni Ernst mentioned union households in her rebuttle to Obama’s State of the Union Message and said that “Congress is back to work for the American people.” Well thank God for that, the 113th Congress was the least productive in modern times.
Quoting the New York Times on the new course being charted by the G.O.P.: “Just acknowledging a wealth gap represents a significant shift in language for Republicans, who have long held that market forces driving overall economic growth will ultimately yield higher incomes without any help from government.” Central to this rhetorical shift is one elemental fact which the Democrats have failed to fully capitialize over the past six years. Which is that conservatives have venerated the business class and entrepreneurs above everyone else. At times they have spoken as if the middle and working classes hardly existed. Had you listened to the Republican National Convention in 2012 you would have heard a cascade of laudatory speeches about the business class and entrepreneurs but precious little about the people in the street. The plight of average soul seem to have mattered for little, their situation being nothing more than an afterthought. For all the convention rhetoric you would have just assumed that the rest of us had simply been pulled along in the slipstream generated by the soaring 1 percent.
You’ve probably seen items to this effect elsewhere, already, but now and then I think it worthwhile to help push the volume up to 11.
(Thursday) was a bad day for Republican governors. Out in Wisconsin, the long-simmering investigation into Gov. Scott Walker’s 2012 recall campaign boiled over as prosecutors unsealed documents laying out what they say was Walker’s central role in a “criminal scheme” to illegally coordinate with outside groups. And in New Jersey, reports are that investigators picking apart the almost comedic corruption of Gov. Chris Christie’s administration have several of the governor’s top aides dead-to-rights and are closing in on Christie himself.
I doubt, under any circumstances, that either will have to deal with significant criminal penalties. Throwing governors in prison is a big deal, and whatever the technical matters of jurisdiction there would have to be support from the very top to pursue it, and the Obama administration’s record of treating the most heinous war/corporate criminals as if they’re the most fragile of delicate blooms speaks for itself. But their highest political aspirations are in all likelihood no longer at all feasible. Which may actually be at least as much of a blow to their fatuous, “sensible center” supporters in Beltway corporate media, as to the individuals themselves.
And it’s far from inconceivable that the same kinds of voters that reelected Diaper Dave Vitter in Louisiana will do the same thing for Scott Walker in Wisconsin. Conservatism, in this country, has indeed become that desperate and extreme.
Jeff Johnson is the GOP-endorsed candidate for governor of Minnesota. And it sounds like he’s just bursting with great ideas. (This is from Alliance for a Better Minnesota.)
Another blogger here recently wrote about the facts and figures regarding the Minnesota/Wisconsin economic disparity. When doing something led to really bad results, wanting to do it again is just plain stupid. I’m passing the following along, also.
Before he was talking about taking on unions, Walker promised in 2010 that over four years the state would add 250,000 private sector jobs.
“I want my Cabinet secretaries to have branded across their heads, ‘250,000 jobs,'” Walker said at a December 2010 meeting of the Dairy Business Association. “I want them to know their job is on the line because my job is on the line to create 250,000 jobs in the private sector.”
That bravado is long gone.
More than three years into his term, Walker is far short of fulfilling the promise, and he hears about it almost every day on the campaign trail and as talk continues about his potential prospects as a 2016 presidential candidate.
Although the post-recession recovery is adding jobs here, Wisconsin is lagging all but one of nine Midwestern states in that category. The mood of the electorate is uneasy.
I’m not recommending complacency, but we Minnesotans may not have a whole heck of a lot to worry about, in any case.
This was said about a campaign finance law: “As other histories tell us, attempts to purify the public square lead to places like the Guillotine and the Gulag.” That wasn’t said on some conspiracy theory site like World Net Daily or Infowars. It wasn’t in one of those forwarded e-mails you get from your wingnut crazy uncle. That was said by a federal judge. In an opinion!
That nutty sentence came from U.S. District Judge Rudolph Randa, in an opinion where he didn’t merely stop a prosecutors from continuing to try a case, because the case was still in the investigation stage. He stopped the investigation. Prosecutors can’t even look into it further than they have, and he ordered them to return or destroy all evidence to guarantee no one can ever investigate again. The targets were the campaign of Wisconsin governor Scott Walker, and some outside groups who supported him, for allegations of illegal coordination. Randa cited McCutcheon and Citizens United, neither of which apply here, so coordination between independent groups and candidates’ campaigns is still illegal.
Randa was appointed by a Republican president. Try not to act shocked. Oooh, well done. Though you might be slightly surprised that he was appointed by the senior Bush, supposedly the less ideological one. Can you imagine a Democratic president appointing a judge who would say regulating campaign finance leads to the guillotine and the gulag? Whatever disagreements you’ve had with modern Democratic presidents on whatever issues, you’ve known that at least they’re not going to appoint judges like Randa.
That’s why it matters which party wins and gets to appoint judges. Stakes are a lot lower at the state level, but the argument still applies since governors appoint judges too. Who wins matters. A lot. If you need just one reason to vote, to get someone else to vote, to care who wins, judges are it. The damage they can do, well, let’s put it this way: without the 5-4 conservative majority majority on the Supreme Court, we would still have campaign finance laws. We wouldn’t have judicial abetment of the running-amok of big business. Bush Jr. would not have been allowed to steal an election. If you want a Rosetta Stone to understand the conservative judiciary, look at where big business and billionaires care, and where they don’t care. Where they care, they get what they want.
The next person who says the parties are the same, or it doesn’t matter who wins, is too big a fool to be listened to any further.
Fortunately in this one case, hope is not lost. The appeals court stayed the ruling. They allowed Randa to still stop the investigation, but the ordered the evidence gathered thus far to be preserved. Here’s hoping the overturn the ruling, and that if there was a crime committed, the investigators will have time to complete it before the Supreme Court throws it out. By a 5-4 majority, of course.
Republicans seemed to go a bit more bonkers than usual this weekend. Here’s my round-up of all the crazy I could find from them.
NC State Senator Bob Rucho tweets that Obamacare worse than Nazis, Soviets and terrorists combined.
Rep. Mike Johanns (R-NE) compares confirming Obama judges to protecting slavery.
Gun nut Larry Pratt: gun free zones are murder magnets.
Ann Coulter opened her mouth. Words came out. Those words were totally bazonkly (I just made that word up).