Thursday, February 16, 2012

Punching Back

It's amazing to us sometimes how transparent and yet embarrassing certain stories in American politics can be. It's also amazing how thick-headed and tin-eared some politicians can become when certain well-funded political backers support the politician in question.

This week, there are at least two examples of that kind of embarrassing and thick-skulled action going on in the Governor's offices of both Nebraska and Wisconsin.

In the case of Wisconsin's Gov. Scott Walker - a man who's become well-known for his anti-worker, pro-corporatist hypocrisy - no amount of PR baloney could hide the groveling and cowardice he displayed on Wednesday of this week.

Initially, Walker was to meet President Obama when he flew in to Wisconsin.  Then the two of them would travel to tour the Master Lock manufacturing facility that the President touted in his state of the union speech. Not only has Master Lock brought jobs back to America, but the company chose to bring them back to a union workplace. Master Lock officials have said more than once that bringing jobs back to the union workplace in Milwaukee was cheaper, and the product quality is better - something we're not surprised at in the least.

What we also weren't surprised at was when Gov. Walker begged off from the factory tour with the President, claiming that the Governor had caught the flu. Video of the Governor meeting President Obama at the Milwaukee airport for a short visit, before the President went on to the lock factory, appears to show a Scott Walker who looked anything but ill with the flu.

For one thing, if Governor Walker had truly been ill, the President's security team would not have likely allowed the Governor as close as he was to the President. To us, it's obvious Gov. Walker - a man who will likely be recalled soon - was simply running away from the labor workers and the success story at the Master Lock factory.

In a similar fashion in Nebraska, Gov. Dave Heineman has been insisting, in nearly every way possible, that he's going to cram a bevy of new tax cuts through the 2012 Nebraska state budget. This, in a year when the state needs every penny of revenue just to keep its meager services operating at minimum levels.

The Governor's biggest push has been to get rid of the Inheritance Tax. This particular tax supports a surprising number of local government actions - like roads maintenance - but Heineman wishes to eliminate it for the benefit of a relatively few, highly wealthy sources. In fact, Gov. Heineman's plan to impose that $327 million tax cut was initially endorsed by two of the wealthiest farming organizations in the state, the Farm Bureau and the Nebraska Cattlemen.

Yet, a funny thing seems to be happening on the way to Heineman and his rich backers getting out of paying the inheritance tax.

Nebraska's state legislators - who have to face the citizens they serve far more often than the Governor does - appear to have no intention of doing Governor Heineman's dirty work.

In fact, the eight member Revenue Committee of the Nebraska legislature made it clear this week that they couldn't support the repeal of the inheritance tax, and would not support it going forward. The sizable protest at Nebraska's capitol on Tuesday, by eight different groups all protesting the Governor's unaffordable tax cut, gave the legislator's refusal a large and loud punch of active citizen punctuation.

Politicians like Walker and Heineman need to learn, and learn fast;  their tricks will no longer be tolerated by Americans of all political persuasions.

The people - regardless of party loyalty - are tired of being given surprise sucker punches by their politicians. They may very well punch back this year - like the recall of Gov. Walker will likely soon prove.

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