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You Knew What He Was When You Picked Him Up

Posted by Chris Liebenthal on March 4, 2010

JSOnline is reporting that Milwaukee County Board Chairman Lee Holloway and AFSCME Executive Director Rich Abelson tore into Scott Walker on Monday for his laying off of 76 workers last Friday.

I would expect Abelson to protest it and to take action against it. After all, it is his job to protect the union jobs as much as possible, even in these rough economic times. I would also dare to say that he is fully aware that some lay offs may happen, but if they do, he wants to make sure that proper protocol is followed and that he soon to be displaced workers get the best out of a really bad situation.

But I don’t rightly know if Holloway has that much right to complain. He knew who Walker was before he got chummy with him.

There are a lot of old fables dealing with this sort of thing. One is Aesop’s old story of the farmer and the snake. Native Americans also have a similar story, with this variation having it being a little girl that is betrayed by the snake.

Probably the most accurate fable, however, is the story of the scorpion and the frog. The scorpion cons the frog into giving him a ride across a river, but halfway across, the scorpion stung him in the back, dooming them both to death. As they were about to die, the frog asked, “Why?” The scorpion replied, “It’s because that’s who I am.”

Holloway, after eight years of fighting Walker tooth and nail on every budget, should have known who Walker was and that he should not trust him as far as he could throw the courthouse. Walker has given the Board an irresponsible, out-of-whack budget year after year, and the Board has repeatedly been forced to be the adult in the situation and make it into a feasible, if not always popular, one. The Walker would make his usual grandstanding about vetoing parts or all of it and the Board would go about trying to restore as much as they could.

For some reason, this year was different. Walker proposed a budget that had a $32 million hole built right into the middle of it. Instead of either rejecting the proposed budget out right, like they should have done, or at least accepting it and then blowing it up to start all over, the Board took it as it was and tried to tinker around the corners in an effort to fix it. That would be like trying to bail out post-Katrina New Orleans with a teaspoon. Holloway and Supervisor Elizabeth Coggs, Chair of the Finance and Audit Committee, then made a big deal out of sitting down with Walker each week to discuss where the budget is. All they were doing was giving Walker political cover for when the fecal matter struck the air circulating device.

And after eight years, Holloway should have already known that Walker never accepts responsibility for any of his screw ups. Walker is more than willing to try to steal the credit for things he had nothing to do with, like the 2007 budget with its large surplus, which he had vetoed in its entirety because he was “unable to fix it with his veto pen.” But he never accepts responsibility.

He will blame Governor Doyle and the State as a whole. He will blame the County Board. He will blame the unions. But he will never, ever look in the mirror and admit that he screwed up. Again.

Perhaps Holloway was feeding into the lies and misdirection of Walker’s and others on the right because he thinks Walker has a serious chance of winning the governorship. That would allow Holloway to take over as County as the new county executive. Maybe Holloway just got tired of fighting after eight years and thought he and the rest of the Board would let Walker reap what he sows.

But whatever the reason, for Holloway to now cry foul and gripe about the lay offs is more than just a little self-serving, disingenuous and hypocritical. He knew as well as anyone who Walker was when he cozied up to him. He can’t complain now that Walker reverted to his true nature and stabbed him and the rest of the Board in the back.

The worst part of it all is that not only is Walker stabbing the County Board in their collective back, damning both himself and them to deep political troubles, but they are going to take the rest of down with them.

ADDENDUM: Not surprisingly, the “liberal” MJS did not print this story in their morning paper. Will they go to no end to cover up for him?


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