In elected office nearly his entire adult life, he has used each office he's held exclusively as a stepping stone to his next elected office. Well known for rewarding donors and continually inflicting as much damage as possible as possible on those he identifies as enemies, Walker has amassed a zealous following among the most ideological Republican voters by resorting to the most petty politics imaginable.
Sitting in the Wisconsin State Legislature, he leapt on the opportunity to become Milwaukee County Executive in a recall election (yes, you read that right) when residents of Milwaukee County became angry at a pension deal that mainly benefitted the County Exec and several long-serving members of the Board of Supervisors. RW hate radio and the Republican-loving Milwaukee corporate media fanned the flames and paved the way for Walker. The rest is history. Walker won the recall.
As Milwaukee County Executive, Walker began to travel the state (at county taxpayer expense, of course) to increase his name recognition. His next office, naturally, would be state-wide since he was already at the top of the heap in the Milwaukee area. He cut taxes for business, pummeled Milwaukee County labor unions, squeezed public services to near extinction, shifted money out of building maintenance, privatized as many jobs as he could (ultimately costing the county millions in lawsuits), was relentless in reducing social programs, and made use of his Milwaukee County staff and facilities for political purposes including the installation and use of a secret router and private email accounts to circumvent public records laws.
In short, he didn't manage his public duties as much as use elected office for politicking for his next job. Poor bashing, union bashing, and dog whistle blowing are very attractive to Republican voters and tossing in a blind hatred of taxes appeals to far too many independents and low information voters.
The governors seat was hardly even warm from the heat of his butt when he unveiled the most horrific legislation possible. Taking nearly a billion dollars out of public schools, slashing state shared revenue to local governments, virtually abolishing unions for every public employee in the entire state whose union didn't endorse him in the election, slashing programs for the disabled, extreme reductions in state public assistance and health programs along with, of course, massive tax reductions (to business) led tens of thousands of normally politically sleepy Wisconsinites to surround the State Capitol for weeks.
He knew something would happen so he made sure to activate the Wisconsin National Guard. His attempt to use them as his palace guard or goon squad fell flat due to the good leadership of the Guard. I doubt he imagined the full extent of public pushback at his extremism. No doubt he and his staff had to order super sized containers of Poop-B-Gone to get the stains out of their underwear that first week, but Walker just loved the attention of the media as could be seen at his 2-3 pressers he held every day.
He became a national Republican Super Star and loved every minute of it. I'm surprised he could control the drool of anticipation at his next political office. Forget running for Herb Kohls Senate seat; he was becoming popular enough to run for President! He knew exactly how to lure extremist Republican primary voters and doubled down on the crazy laws he signed into office no matter how many times the courts smacked down those laws as Unconstitutional.
Campaign donors loved him and funneled plenty of payola into his coffers to enable him to put out tons of ads during the protests to promote his "concerns for the taxpayer" and bash protesters. A hundred million dollars flowed into his hands through the end of the recall election and that doesn't even count the ads run by Koch-funded groups like Americans for (the Koch Brothers) Prosperity and similar astroturfs.
Republicans love Scott Walker.
But the RWNJs are a fickle lot. They demand continual demonstrations of ideological purity and Walker is more than happy to oblige them. Mandatory vaginal ultrasounds, concealed weapons carry, opening state forests and parks to hunting (hikers and picnickers beware! Blam, blam, blam - you looked like Bambi), more welfare cuts, expansion of taxpayer funds for private and home school, more union bashing - the list goes on and on.
And, of course, ObamaCare. Every good Republican has to hate the Affordable Care Act.
Despite the requests of his benefactors and lobbyists for the health care and health insurance industries, Walker has refused to expand Medicaid or establish state exchanges for the Affordable Care Act even though some of his fellow extremist Republican Governors like Rick Snyder, Rick Scott and John Kasich have reluctantly accepted the hundreds of millions of federal aid. NOT Scott Walker (he's running for President, you know) whose current state budget has tossed thousands off Medicaid.
Why? “To sabotage the Affordable Care Act and get political credit for that from the far right and parlay that into his run for president,” said Robert Kraig, executive director of Citizen Action of Wisconsin.(bolding is mine)
Kraig said Walker doesn’t want Democrats getting credit for something that represents “a huge step forward in the history of economic security in the United States, because there’s going to be – for the first time – a backup system where everyone can buy health care.”
So to build up his far-right cred and national profile as he prepares to run for his party’s 2016 presidential nomination, Walker has broken with other governors in his party and will turn his back on some $12 billion in funding through the ACA that would have all but eliminated the waiting list for insurance for the poor and working families who have their Medicaid payments delivered through the BadgerCare program.
To ensure that the poor people of Wisconsin will suffer when the ACA begins enrollment, Walker’s biennial budget made major changes to BadgerCare. Counting on public ignorance, he’ll attempt to position the problem as a consequence of the ACA.
To placate his donors for the losses they'll incur as less patients are insured, Walker and his GOP band of Not So Merry Men are giving hospitals more than $73 million in taxpayer money.
Yes, you read that right. Refuse those federal funds and just use state taxpayer money instead. After all, hatred of the ACA is what this is all about and common sense, basic math, citizen health, and job creation don't factor in. He's running for President, you know.
Despite Walkers plans, non-profit organizations are stepping in to help Wisconsinites (particularly those losing Medicaid, which now, in Walkers latest budget, requires incomes at or below the poverty level, called BadgerCare in Wisconsin) navigate the federal health insurance exchanges that, despite Walkers very serious obstacles, are coming online October 1.
The most sickening tactics are in full use:
Besides making it difficult for people to acquire coverage under the ACA, Walker and other Republican leaders have been criticized for promoting false statistics to scare people into avoiding the ACA. The Cap Times reported last month that anonymous emails were being circulated claiming that if medical tests prove to be flawed, the ACA will not pay for retesting; that the only pain medication covered under Obamacare is aspirin and that people on Medicare will lose the right to choose their own doctors.(bolding is mine)
Republicans have focused a lot of their efforts to sabotage the ACA on young people, who are being hit with pleas not to sign up for health care coverage, as required under the “individual mandate” provision in the law. GOP leaders believe that by keeping young, healthy people from joining the system, they can make it fail by limiting the risk pool only to the sick and elderly.
At the beginning of September, Walker’s administration was condemned for releasing a phony analysis that tried to terrify consumers with the specter of dramatic premium rate increases under the ACA. But the analysis didn’t take into account federal tax subsidies, which are expected to lower premium costs as much as 77 percent. It also failed to show the comparative costs related to the benefits or co-pays under different policies.
When asked by media to provide the premium costs on which the projected percentage increases were based, the administration refused to release the numbers and then later admitted that the increases were not based on actual numbers.
Walkers big political gamble is going to lose. Yes, he's all over the country fundraising and pressing the flesh with supporters, but his future ambitions are well out of his reach. As the exchanges come online, people access health coverage (some for the first time), and the new insurance policies activate on January 1, people are going to LOVE ObamaCare.
And Republicans who blocked, obstructed, lied, and scared people are going to lose. Big time.