Monday, November 8, 2010

Walker Is Already On The Wrong Side Of The Tracks

Yowza! I take a few days off to do some work up north, only to come back and find that in just days after winning the election on his false promises of saving money and creating jobs, Scott Walker has already tied himself to the railroad tracks in front of an oncoming high speed train.

Because of his tantrums over the high speed rail that was going to make Wisconsin part of a nationwide system, all work on the rail has stopped as Governor Doyle said that he will leave it to his successor to work out how he is going to fix the problems that Walker himself created.

Walker's grandstanding on an issue that he clearly doesn't understand, there has been a lot of fallout in such a short amount of time.

Talgo, the company that came to Milwaukee to build the trains, has threatened to pull up stakes and move elsewhere. Walker quickly responded to this threat and begged Talgo not to go, saying that no decisions to kill HSR in Wisconsin were written in stone. Needless to say, this caused quite an uproar among his base. True to his nature, Walker flip-flopped again saying that he was again opposed to HSR in Wisconsin and was going to kill it.

Meanwhile, Andrew Cuomo, Governor Elect of the State of New York, has already called dibs on the federal funding that would have come to Wisconsin. Showing that Cuomo's efforts might not be in vain and to reinforce what the Democrats have been saying for months, Transportation Secretary LaHood had to explain to Walker that he could not use the rail funding for other purposes, like giving it to the road builders who donated so generously to Walker's campaign.

To add to the misery, if Walker gets his way and the train is stopped, it would immediately cost Wisconsin tax payers $100 million up front for the broken contracts, maintenance of train sheds and a new facility to maintain the Hiawatha trains. Just as, if not more importantly, Walker's conniption fit could lead to the loss of 400 jobs. In a larger picture mode, killing HSR would cost an estimated 5,500 construction jobs.

Before adding to his self-induced pain, perhaps Walker should consult with his hero and good buddy, Governor Chris Christie of New Jersey, whose Walkeresque grandstanding has just nailed his overburdened state's budget for a whopping $271 million due to his pulling out of a rail program in the Garden State.

The truly frustrating part of all this is that Walker is willing to throw away all of this money and all of these jobs for a lousy $750,000 a year. Any self-respecting business person would jump at the chance for that kind of turn around on an investment.

Either way, Walker will end up already breaking one of his campaign promises. Either he is going to set the state backwards by refusing the jobs and inflow of money or he is going to allow the train to go through and rile up his TEApublican base.

No one should be surprised that Walker has already made such a mess of things. All one had to do was take a honest look at this history to know that he is all show and no substance. Why do you think that he got his clocked cleaned in Milwaukee County last week? It's because we already know him all too well.

But I have to ask: Is it too soon to say, "I told you so!"?

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