There’s quite a lengthy piece by William Finnegan, entitled “The Storm: Did a Governor’s Anti-union Crusade Backfire?” in the March 5 New Yorker recapping Gov. Scott Walker’s disastrous year of upending the state’s democratic principles, economy, reputation and basic decency.
Usually I’m a pretty big fan of the New Yorker but I would give this piece a C-/C and a middling ”fair” for effort.
While the article does a good job of retracing Wisconsin’s year of living undemocratically and gives some good local color, there are too many glaring omissions. For example there is no mention - much less basic exploration - of the ongoing, ever widening whirlpool of the John Doe criminal corruption probe that has already snared several of Walker’s top cronies and has even current advisers and pals lined up to testify. The fact that has to be keeping Walker’s newly hired criminal defense team ramped up and billing countless hours is the uncomfortable reality that an indictment may well clamp onto Walker’s hind end before the recall election can even happen.
We hear nothing about the various cushy jobs handed out to completely unqualified political hacks and video game addled college party boy drop-out sons of big money contributors at wages far greater than the positions ever paid before.
Under the “WTF Category!”, Finnegan even repeats the Walker lie that the new administration balanced the state budget.
There are some good passages that peel the infected bandaid off the festering pustule that is the Walker administration:
The hard problems that Wisconsin’s
Republicans took on were not so much
economic as political. The state was never
“broke.” Its debt had a high credit rating.
It faced a less daunting budget deficit than
many other states faced. Indeed, the previous
administration, led by a Democratic
governor, Jim Doyle, had wrestled with a
deficit almost two billion dollars larger.
Unemployment was lower than the national
rate. And yet some recent economic
news has been ominous. Wisconsin lost
private-sector jobs in each of the last six
months of 2011. In November, according
to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, it
lost more jobs than any other state. Scott
Walker vowed, in his campaign for governor,
to create two hundred and fifty
thousand jobs in the private sector by
It’s a long article and despite my disappointment, it has some good information in it. If you want to check it out go to: http://media.jsonline.com/documents/Finnegan_3-5-11.pdf