PEOPLE-Local 645

  • Quality of Life Alliance

Walker Deploys The Smoke And Mirror Tactic

Posted by Chris Liebenthal on October 30, 2010

Last Friday, I had many things on my mind. I was trying to throw a couple of posts up, pay the bills and pack for an anniversary weekend getaway with my beautiful bride of 11 years.

But even with all my distractions and multitasking, I noticed that Charlie Sykes was taking on a more hysterical tone than usual, and was really ripping into Tom Barrett for the OpenSky issue, in which the new police radio system crashed for about a half hour due to a technician not following protocol.

But after years of dealing with the likes of Sykes and Scott Walker, I knew there was more to the story than just sharks smelling blood in the water. In fact, I even tweeted my suspicions:

Given the way @SykesCharlie is squawking like a plucked chicken, @ScottKWalker must be in real trouble.

As it turns out, I was, as usual, absolutely correct. If anything, I underestimated the problems that were coming Walker’s way.

As my wife and I were traveling, we decided to flip over to WTMJ radio to catch the news. We were greeted with Scott Walker appearing at the studio, blasting away at Barrett for the police radio. The problem for Walker was that the reason for the failure of the radio system had already been identified, corrected and measures taken to prevent a recurrence before he was ever on the news. But that didn’t slow Walker down at all.

Most amazingly, Walker even had this to say while attacking Barrett (emphasis mine):

“In the end, when you’re the chief executive officer, the buck stops with you,” the Milwaukee County executive said. “The buck stops with the mayor in this case.”

I wondered at the time when, not if, those words were going to come back to bite Walker.

I told my wife what I had tweeted that morning, and restated that Walker must be in some serious trouble. Again, I didn’t realize how badly I underestimated that.

We stopped at a gas station in Waupaca, and I took a few minutes to quick check my email and sure enough, a couple of my friends had already sent me those “Have you seen this?” emails with a link to this story.

Because Walker only threw up distractions instead of fixing the issues, such as the severe staffing shortage at the mental health complex, a patient (the same one that was sexually assaulted, resulting in a pregnancy) was able to leave the complex, climb a fence and attack a neighborhood woman in her own home.

To make matters worse, the incident happened over a week before it appeared on JSOnline. Walker knew about it for days, but tried to keep it quiet. To date, he still hasn’t commented on the issue.

To add to Walker’s bad day, the County Board appears to be finding themselves again and have called Walker’s piece of garbage for what it is, a cynical political stunt.

Then on Sunday, things even turned worse for Walker, and subsequently, Milwaukee County tax payers, when two stories appeared on the front page, above the fold, in that morning’s edition of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.

One story was somewhat related to the story of the escapee patient. Due to Walker’s severely short staffing the mental health complex, and exasperating the situation with his excessive use of furlough days, staff at the hospital were racking up massive amounts of overtime for at least four straight years.

The other story had to deal with a report from the Greater Milwaukee Committee who are claiming that the County’s finances are so bad, that they think Milwaukee County will be bankrupt in the next few years if drastic measures are not taken.

In summary, Walker’s ineptitude is becoming so glaringly apparent that he has to grasp at straws, jumping on anything he can remotely try to tie to Barrett to keep from sliding further down and failing to reach his eight-year goal of becoming governor.

The question is whether the voters will focus on Walker’s attempts to blame Barrett for a vendor’s mistake or will they have to acknowledge the elephant in Walker’s campaign office, which is absolute failure as county executive.

Walker’s problem is that elephant is so big and ugly, and reeks so badly, that there is no amount of smoke or mirrors in the world that could disguise it, much less hide it.

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