On June 30, I got an email from "Team Walker" -- the campaign of Scott Walker, the revolting, opportunistic governor of Wisconsin. "There is no time to waste!" Team Walker declared. "We need your contribution to show Governor Walker you want him to run for president."
I responded in writing.
Dear Governor Walker,
I am appalled by 35 years of soaring inequality in the U.S., and by politicians like you who promote policies that make it worse -- tax cuts for the 1 percent, deregulation and relentless attacks on working people and the unions that advocate for them.
I'm appalled by your willingness to trade off the well-being of working people and the health of a fabulous state university system for your grandiose, selfish ambition.
I am appalled by your pandering -- to the worst impulses of right wing voters, and to the Koch brothers.
I'll do whatever I can to make sure you will not become president.
Stop writing to me.
Now, it seemed to me that, with this note, I'd made my position quite clear. I expected that this would be the end of my correspondence with Governor Walker and his "team" of sycophants. But apparently not! On July 13, I got second note from Team Walker -- actually, from Governor Walker himself!
I am running for President of the United States and I need your support.
The first hours of this campaign are critical. Obama, Clinton and the liberal media are watching us very closely and we must show we have grassroots leaders on our side.
Your contribution of $35, $50, $75, $100, $250, $1000, or even $2700 will show them you are tired of their radical left-wing agenda* and ready for something new.
It's not too late. We can make our country great again...
Governor of Wisconsin
Later that day, Scott Walker officially announced that he is a candidate for president (of the United States!). Jason Easley (of PoliticusUSA) got it just right: During Walker's presidential announcement, "you could almost see the Koch brothers' lips moving."
In his announcement, Walker bragged that, as governor of Wisconsin ... "We took on the unions and won! ... We defunded Planned Parenthood. We passed castle doctrine and concealed carry. We now require a photo ID to vote in the State of Wisconsin."
In short, Scott Walker has proudly worked to dis-empower workers, women and people of color -- while making it easier for a Wisconsin gun owner to use lethal force against an unarmed person.
Egad. This is what Scott Walker brags about!
But wait! There is much more! Walker is also an enthusiastic advocate of trickle-down economics -- tax cuts for corporations and the rich, a frayed social safety net, diminished corporate accountability (aka deregulation) and attacks on worker pay and bargaining power. For 35 years, right wing politicians -- encouraged and financed by corporate money and right wing think tanks -- have insisted that these policies "create wealth." They don't, and they haven't. They have made the rich richer, our financial system more fragile, our work places less safe, and our environment more toxic.
Scott Walker opposes same sex marriage, and LGBTQ rights of every imaginable kind.
Walker has attacked education and educators at every turn -- from primary schools to higher education. He is in the process of gutting the University of Wisconsin, one of the best state universities in the country, and one of the world's great research institutions. His new state budget cuts $250 million from UW's budget.
Walker continues to call for the repeal of the Affordable Care Act, which has brought health insurance to millions across the U.S. Meanwhile, Walker and Wisconsin's Republican legislature have enthusiastically turned down billions of dollars in federal funds ("Medicaid expansion"), money that could have provided health coverage for thousands of poor residents of Wisconsin.
As always with Scott Walker, ideology and self-aggrandizement prevail over the well-being of his constituents.
Scott Walker has also sued the EPA over regulations designed to limit carbon dioxide emissions from coal fired power plants. He has worked to de-regulate and encourage open pit iron mining in Wisconsin, he favors lightly regulated fracking, and he expresses disdain for those who are concerned about global climate change.
And Walker has shamelessly adopted the right-wing's racist play book, at every opportunity, blaming the low pay, insecurity and anxiety of white working class people on "undeserving" people of color -- "welfare" recipients,** "illegal" immigrants, Muslims and, of course, President Obama.
Apparently, from Scott Walker's point of view, the problem with the U.S. is that corporations and the super-rich are getting too little, while people of color, workers, teachers, students, the elderly, and the poor are getting too much!
The opening line of Scott Walker's announcement is: "I love America" -- an odd claim, given that Governor Walker appears to disdain most Americans.
So, I wrote back to Governor Walker.
Dear Governor Walker,
To reiterate the main point of my last note: F-- you.
I will never vote for you. And I'll do whatever I can to make sure you will not become president.
Please stop writing to me!
Pretty clear, no? Well, late last week I got a third note from Team Walker. "I'm running for president and I need your support."
Along with many other shortcomings, it appears that Scott Walker doesn't get that "no means no."
For those of us who care about fairness, social justice, democratic participation, education, civil and human rights...we have met the enemy, and he is Scott Walker. AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka has the same idea: "Scott Walker is a national disgrace."
*Who, I wonder, are "they," with "their radical left-wing agenda"? If only!
** In fact, a minority of "welfare" recipients are African American. But it is clear that the relentless denunciation of those receiving "food stamps" and "welfare" is a slightly subtler version of Reagan's racist narrative about "welfare queens."
For a short, detailed defense of unions, Tim Koechlin, "Which Side Are You On? Inequality and the Case for Unions," Huffington Post, 6/24/2014
See, also, Tim Koechlin, "Winner Take All: Soaring Inequality in the US and Why It Matters," Huffington Post, 1/24/2014