Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Train Wreck Walker Still On The Wrong Track

In the shuffling madness
Of the locomotive breath
Runs the all-time loser
Headlong to his death.
He feel the pistons scraping--
Steam breaking from his brow--
Thank God, he stole the handle and
The train won't stop going--
No way to slow down
-Jethro Tull "Locomotive Breath"

Talk about slow learners.

Yesterday, U.S. Secretary of Transportation Ray LaHood made it clear to Scott "Train Wreck" Walker that the funding for high speed rail, by federal law, is meant for high speed rail only, and not to reward his magnanimous road builder campaign donors.

Today, U.S. Representative Gwen Moore re-emphasized the point. Even his ally, U.S. Representative Tom Petri told him that it's not going to happen. Republican darling, Paul Ryan, won't climb aboard Walker's Train Wreck Express.

Businessmen in Wisconsin are telling Walker they want HSR to come to Wisconsin so they can remain competitive. Some people have even called Walker's opposition to HSR as "economic treason."

So how does ol' Train Wreck respond to this growing groundswell of support for HSR and the undeniable fact that his oppositional stance is folly?

He responds the same way he always has. He ignores the people and the facts and clings to his irresponsible and irrational ideology. Not only does he not blink before reality, but he stokes the engines on his crazy train and fires off a letter to Secretary LaHood not only continuing to pursue his own vainglorious publicity stunt, but shows himself to be totally delusional. In Walker's eyes, because he and two other fools don't like to have the train, he says that the federal government should just scrap the whole push for a nationwide rail system:
I strongly encourage the federal government to halt all investments in new passenger rail lines and instead devote this funding to state and local road projects. All across the country, in states like Wisconsin, Ohio and Florida, the voters chose new governors who are opposed to diverting transportation funding to passenger rail. I believe it would be unwise for the Obama Administration to ignore the will of the voters.
Too bad for Train Wreck Walker that this isn't the case. New York State's Governor Elect Andrew Cuomo has already put dibs on the funding that should be Wisconsin's. State officials in Illinois, and yes, even Florida, have expressed desire to get that HSR funding.

And for something that no one wants and no one will ride, according to Walker and his acolytes, it sure seems to be doing really well in Minnesota and Illinois. I wonder how Walker will respond to his old buddy, Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty, when he tells Walker to stop hurting his state's economy with his ideological grandstanding.

I foresee only three real possible outcomes from this. One, Walker will cave to reality and allow the HSR to be built, using some lame excuse to cover his butt. The other option is that he emulates his hero, George W. Bush, and alienates the state from any possible bonhomie with our neighbors for the sake of his misguided ideology. The third is one of the smarter governors, like Cuomo, takes a page from Tom Barrett's playbook and just takes matters into his own hands and gets the feds to walk away from Walker.

The first outcome will only cost him a little political face, which he could easily recover from in short order, and possibly make it play out in his favor. The other two would cost the state any chance of economic recovery in the near future, including hundreds of millions of dollars being squandered and thousands of jobs being lost.

Whether Walker's continued grandstanding is due to political pandering, ideological obstinacy or just plain obtuseness, well, there is a word for that kind of behavior.

And that word is not leadership.

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