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Scott Walker: Political Contortionist

Posted by Chris Liebenthal on August 7, 2009

Anyone who has been watching Scott Walker for any length of time knows that he cannot keep the same position on any one subject more than a few days. The most (in)famous example would be Walker’s ever-shifting stance towards federal stimulus dollars.

Yesterday, Walker outdid even himself, and flip-flopped and twisted so much that he put most contortionists to shame.

The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reported that Walker met with some of the mayors and administrators of local municipalities to discuss economic development. In most places, this would be considered a good, smart move by a savvy executive.

Unfortunately, Milwaukee County isn’t like most places, thanks to the Walker Effect.

Thanks to the Walker Effect, one never knows where they stand, thanks to the fact that Walker never knows where he stands.

In the meeting with local officials, Walker said that he thinks Milwaukee County should play a bigger role in economic development in the county:

Milwaukee County would play a larger role in marketing the entire county for development under an idea County Executive Scott Walker floated Wednesday with local officials.

He said it could make sense to consolidate local economic-development promotion efforts with the county, but he wants to make sure it does not conflict with ongoing efforts of the Milwaukee 7 group or Visit Milwaukee.

The Milwaukee 7 is a seven-county economic strategy consortium. Visit Milwaukee is a city tourism promotion group.

“As long as it’s not something that conflicts with what others are doing, having more bodies working on economic development . . . is a good thing,” Walker said.

“We’d like to do something that actually adds value to real economic development,” Walker said.

Now wait a minute. Walker wants to consolidate this very important responsibility in the County level of government? Huh? Wasn’t it Walker, just a couple of weeks ago, who played the role of surrender monkey and said that he wanted to disband county government and put all of the responsibilities of his job on either the state and/or the local municipalities?

The article goes on to point out that Walker had disbanded the County’s Office of Economic Development and dispersed the duties to other departments. How can he be a leader of economic development when he doesn’t have anyone to do the job for him now? He obviously can’t do the job himself, as evidenced when he practically gave away the county grounds so that some private developer buddies could build themselves a fancy restaurant and a five star hotel.

And even when Walker did have people in that role, they were unqualified and incompetent cronies that only got the jobs because they had worked hard on his election.

Furthermore, I cannot imagine why anyone would want to put the economic development of their municipality, much less the entire county, into the hands of someone who referred to a previous effort to bring regional development and promotion as “putting lipstick on a pig.”

And here’s a bit of free advice to the always-a-candidate-never-a-governor Walker: If you want to promote regionalism for anything, especially economic development, it would behoove you to have at least most, if not all, the local municipalities there. This is doubly true when one of the ones you forgot to invite is the mayor of the biggest city in the county, as well as the one that even you admit is better at the job than you are.


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