Scott Walker’s Bubble
Mostly because it
makes Wisconsin seem so horrible.
The part about Walker
riding white privilege/cluelessness into office I pretty much agree with.
If you’ve studied
Walker as I have for the past nine years you’ll notice that he operates in a
bubble. In that he’s like many suburban Milwaukeeans, the result of a host of
factors, including massive white flight out of the city. Whether this is
overtly racist or covertly racist is up to you to decide.
The problem with
Walker’s bubble, of course, is that he is an elected official. He represents
all of the state, whether you’re living in the heart of Milwaukee’s central
city, affluent Chenequa, tumbledown student housing in Madison or Eau Claire,
or on a reservation in the Northwoods. So Walker’s limited worldview has an
impact on all of us—a negative one.
Walker’s never had to
work with the “other side.” In the Assembly, he championed solidly Republican
issues, like truth in sentencing. As Milwaukee County executive, he never
worked with the opposition, although he did create a few agreements with then
Board Chair Lee Holloway, not exactly a wild-eyed hippie. Walker just blew out
some dog whistles and talk radio and the Citizens for Responsible Government
came running to support his unrealistic budgets and vote for him in low-turnout
Now, as governor,
Walker’s been benefiting from one-party rule. He only needs to negotiate with
the moderate members of the Republican Party and legislative leaders with
massive egos who want to get their way. Believe me, they aren’t figuring out
ways to strike bipartisan agreements that reflect the values of the half of the
state that didn’t vote for Walker.
As a result, Walker doesn’t know how to appeal to the other side. His public appearances are
tailored to his base audience—small manufacturers, voucher schools, and
chambers of commerce meetings, primarily—but shut out the general public. He
poses for holy pictures, brushes off reporters, and never engages in any real
dialog or displays any candor.
I’m sure Walker
wonders why he should bother starting a dialog with someone on the other side.
He’s got the numbers in the Legislature and on the state Supreme Court and doesn’t need to do so. The other side will only
encourage you to find some middle ground and stray from your far-right
principles. Walker's leadership style and nonengagement with his opposition has a ripple effect on
the rest of the government—and the voters—in a purely negative way.
Does that make Walker unelectable? November’s gubernatorial election is more or less a toss-up. Beyond then, I don’t know how many states mirror Wisconsin’s polarized electorate, but I do know that the conservatives who decide GOP primaries may eat him up with a spoon. After all, he won’t have any messy compromises in his history that will make him seem like a squishy RINO who can’t be trusted. He’ll look like a leader. But he isn’t one—not for the half of the state that doesn’t exist within his bubble.