I read this very interesting article, recently.
In 2010, both Wisconsin and Minnesota faced similar budget woes and a worrisome economic future amid a national recession. Both are also Midwest states, deeply invested in manufacturing and agricultural economic drivers. The only difference was that Minnesotans elected DFL Gov. Mark Dayton to turn Minnesota around, while Wisconsinites chose Scott Walker to lead their state’s recovery. Only one governor was successful.
Then he gets harsh.
In Minnesota, Dayton has moved forward Democratic policies like increasing the minimum wage, expanding Medicaid and investing in the middle class, and now we are seeing one of the most business-friendly states in the country. Just this year, Forbes ranked Minnesota as the ninth best state for business, seventh in economic climate and second in quality of life. In Wisconsin, Walker opposed a minimum-wage increase and equal-pay legislation, rejected federal funds to expand Medicaid, and attacked Wisconsin workers with right-to-work and anti-collective-bargaining policies. As a result, the cost of doing business in Wisconsin is higher than the national average, and median household income is thousands less than in Minnesota. The facts are clear: Walker and the Republican trickle-down economic policies have made it practically impossible for Wisconsin to recover from the recession, and the state consistently sits at the bottom of the region in private-sector job growth.
The Minnesota-Wisconsin comparison has dogged Walker ever since the press and the general public first noticed it. (This is partly because Dayton, while a fine governor, has a very eccentric attitude toward tooting his own political horn — to wit: he won’t do it. Drives political people up the wall.) And, judging by what he said to his carefully screened audience in the Twin Cities — once again, Scott Walker bravely faces down his political opponents by avoiding them — it’s starting to get under Walker’s skin more than a little.
Walker’s closed-door session with legislators — and later gatherings with top business leaders and a conservative group — come as he nears an announcement on a White House campaign after taking several preliminary steps toward a bid, including hiring staff and taking repeated trips to states with early primaries. He said a formal decision would come once Wisconsin lawmakers set a new budget, probably in early June…”You’ve had the advantage of other than a two-year period of having Republicans in charge of at least one part of government for some time. Before we came into office for many years, there was a Democrat governor, a Democrat assembly and a Democrat Senate,” Walker said, noting the state’s peak 9.2 percent unemployment rate before his election in 2010 and its 4.6 percent standing now. Nationally, the unemployment rate was above 9 percent throughout 2010 and has fallen to 5.5 percent now.
Wisconsin has trailed the national average in private-sector job growth since six months after Walker took office. He fell short of a signature campaign promise to create 250,000 private-sector jobs, although 145,000 new positions appeared, and Wisconsin ranked 40th nationwide in private-sector job growth in the 12-month period ending in September. As he tours the country, Walker has boasted that new businesses are starting up in Wisconsin at a higher rate than the rest of the country and that income growth for residents exceeds the national average.
To which Dayton replied.
Dayton, a supporter of former Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, offered a polite “Welcome to Minnesota” to Walker and said he should come back as often as he likes. “I’m not going to engage in presidential politics at this point,” Dayton said.
Like I said. The guy is a real fireworks display.
It is becoming part of the general campaign narrative that we have at least three potential Republican candidates — Walker, Chris Christie, and the increasingly ludicrous “Bobby” Jindal — who are running on their interpretations of how well they’ve done in office. All three currently have approval ratings in their own states that are headed toward the root cellar. All three of their states are a complete mess in one way or another. Yet all three of them are out there, pitching fantastical visions of states that have nothing to do with actual reality. It’s campaign by karaoke.
Now, the idea that governors make the best presidents is largely shibboleth, as has been noted elsewhere. But, if the Republicans are looking for someone to make that case in actual reality, then John Kasich is their only choice. (I am not in any way endorsing this proposition, because Kasich is running his campaign based on The Worst Idea In American Politics.) He’s relatively popular. When he tried to Walkerize his state workforce, the voters beat him over the head with a hammer and he backed off, and he hasn’t tried again. He took the Affordable Care Act’s FREE MONEY (!) He’s got Green Room cred that the others — except possibly Christie — don’t have. Unlike Christie, Walker, and Rick Perry, he’s under neither indictment nor investigation, always a plus.
Economically, the man’s ideas are from Jupiter, but that’s to be expected. He is a Reagan cultist, after all, But, compared to, say, Jindal, whose state university is preparing for the possibility of bankruptcy, Kasich looks like Pericles. Yet, when it comes down to it, the basic problems for Kasich in a Republican primary process are that: A) he can’t raise money, and B) he has made the barest modicum of sense on too many occasions. That bespeaks a deeper problem, I’d say.” [Source]
And then there is Lady Hillary with all her…ahem, ahem, money problems.
2016 should be really interesting.
Finally, someone just sent me this interview I did with another blog a few years back.
Thought I would share.
“Interview With Wayne Bennett, Author of The Field Negro
Wayne Bennett’s blog, The Field Negro, explores race in America in an unexpected way. His writing mixes cultural polemics with humor to provoke conversation and insight about one of our country’s most fraught subjects. He’s always a good read. The following interview was conducted by e-mail …
1. You write a blog called “The Field Negro.” That’s a provocative name for a blog. Why did you choose it?
I chose it because of one of my favorite speeches of all time: The Malcolm X speech to the SNCC workers in Alabama in 1965. This is where he outlined the dichotomy between the house and field Negroes in America, and why, as a result, it is hard for black folks to unify around particular causes.
I wanted to identify with the field Negroes in my writing because that’s how I view myself in the ongoing debate. Someone who works hard and represents the masses.
Besides, I wanted a title that makes people uncomfortable.
2. Do you ever get called out for what you write on your blog? What’s the one thing that, in retrospect, you most regret having written? What was the post that generated the most controversy?
I get called out all the time. I get more nasty e-mails than you could ever imagine.
I rarely regret anything I write, but if you put a gun to my head I would have to say calling Condy Rice “the bad perm lady.” After the Don Imus incident where he called the Rutgers basketball players “nappy headed hoes” and I ripped him for it, I realized what a hypocrite I was, because I was in essence doing the same thing to Secretary Rice.
It’s hard to say which post generated the most controversy. I have had a few. My post about white people and their pets pissed off a lot of white folks. And my post about the 12% rule for black folks pissed off a lot of black people. I always get a lot of heat for supporting the Jewish people on various issues as well.
3. [The foundation I work at] administered a poll to [the members of a] giving circle …, and one of their questions was this:
In the long run, the most effective way to address a region’s racial inequities is to (choose only one):
- engage the entire community in discussions about race and white privilege
- address systemic issues (e.g., laws, policies, etc.) that lead to unequal outcomes
- empower low-income communities politically (through voter registration drives, etc.)
- bring more low-income people into the middle class through literacy and skills training, small business development programs, and improving public education
- just wait another 50 years until younger, less bigoted generations assume positions of responsibility and power
How would you answer this question and why?
I love numbers 3 & 4. Education. Education. Education. It is the greatest equalizer in America. I would also push for more political involvement among underserved communities—if it’s one thing a politician fears is numbers at the ballot box—and financial education for poor people. It is very important that we learn how to save and manage our money.
4. As regards conversations (and actions) in the public sphere touching on matters of race and ethnicity, what trends have you seen over the past ten years?
It’s getting better, but folks in the majority are still afraid to talk openly about race and ethnicity. The mainstream media won’t touch it because they know that it makes most folks in America uncomfortable. The only time we talk about it (race) is when we have to. (See the Henry Louis Gates incident at Harvard which led to Obama’s “teachable moment.”) And when it infringes on the political debate such as the case with immigration reform.
5. What do you regard as the most definitive work (book or article) for anybody wishing to understand race in America?
Oh my, where do I start? There are so many great ones … I have a couple: Why Black People Tend To Shout by Ralph Wiley. The Racial Contract by Charles Mills. The Arrogance Of Race by George Fredrickson. The Mis-Education Of The Negro by [Carter G.] Woodson, and All God’s Children by Fox Butterfield. From the conservative side I would recommend Shelby Steele’s The Content Of Our Character. There are more, but those jump out at me.
Oh, and how could I forget? You have to read The Field Negro.
6. In your view, how important a force has Hip Hop been in bridging racial divides? What are the cultural and other forces that you believe have the most promise in helping to unite us?
Hip Hop, in a way, has helped to bridge the racial divide. Especially among young people. They are our future, and young white kids from the burbs are trying to relate to young black kids from urban areas. Which, to me, is a good thing. Music and the arts is probably the best way to bridge the racial divide without actually getting down and talking to each other. But this comes with a caveat from me. Unfortunately these kumbaya moments can be somewhat superficial. We still have to explore our differences and try to understand each other on a deeper level and in more meaningful ways to have true racial harmony in America.
7. What can we look for in The Field Negro in the coming months? What other blogs would you recommend to our [readers]?
I am just going to keep writing about what I see every day and how I feel regardless of who it offends. I hate to say it, but I really don’t have time to read a lot of other blogs. Still, there are other bloggers who I admire. Rippa from the Intersection Of Madness & Reality comes to mind, and I love all the bloggers in the Afrosphere. They all work so hard and put so much energy into their blogs” [Source]
I don’t think the blog responsible for this interview is with us anymore. Like so many others before them, I think that they fell victim to blog burnout.
Sadly, I am starting to relate.