Walker’s E-Update Hypocrisy
Editor’s note: Friend of the Mudflats Heather DuBois Bourenane is a Madison, WI activist who publishes the excellent Monologues of Dissent, where this is crossposted. Due to the selection of Paul Ryan as VP nominee, Wisconsin is once again in the national news and, as always, Heather’s is an invaluable progressive voice that speaks truth to power.
Dear Scott Walker,
Thanks for your latest E-Update. Considering that it came just a day after the national brouhaha, I was surprised and disappointed that it did not contain an apology or redaction for your embarrassing tripling-down on Paul Ryan’s oft-repeated lie that President Obama is somehow responsible for the closing of the Janesville GM plant that went under during the catastrophic years of wasteful spending under Bush. Had the plant survived into the current administration, it may well have been saved by the automobile industry bailout that help revive so many other American plants. Hearing you not only repeat – but further embellish – Ryan’s lie was excruciating: an embarrassment to all Wisconsinites and a slap in the face to the Janesville workers still reeling from the job losses there.
But what REALLY struck me was what you did choose to discuss in your taxpayer-funded propaganda E-Update: in choosing this forum to make a shockingly whiny and disingenuous complaint that the Secretary of Health and Human Services did not respond directly to your bullying demands that the administration not help our most needy (a demand so arrogant that Mitt Romney has it displayed on his campaign website), you revealed – once again – that your trademark arrogance has not waned a bit post-recall election. Jumping on the “Romney’s lies are my lies” bandwagon, your letter to her ignores the fact that the Secretary’s new welfare-to-work proposal would “be focused on improving employment outcomes” for struggling families and makes a number of absurd and deeply offensive contentions about how the plan would instead discourage people from seeking work.
I find it terribly ironic that you complain that Sec. Sebelius didn’t respond directly but sent you what you claim is a “form letter” response to your complaints about welfare, given that you don’t even give your own constituents the same courtesy. Well, first of all, she did not send you a “form letter,” even though many of her points were probably recycled from other communications. She replied directly and specifically to your concerns. As someone who receives many auto-responses (like the ones you send) and form letters (like the ones elected officials who respond to their constituents send), I know the difference, and find it very unprofessional of you to misrepresent her response like that to the citizens of our state. And you’re probably not reading this letter, but most people who are know that I have been writing you with my concerns for the past year and a half plus. (In outrage over your refusal to respond to the concerns of your constituents, I make my letters to you open. They’re part of the Open Record, anyway, as you’re sure to make threatening note of in your auto-reply.) To date I have received ZERO responses, beyond the auto-reply that tells me you’re too busy to care about what I have to say but will nonetheless “keep [my] specific comments in mind.” If your office produces form letters, I have never received one. Neither, to my knowledge, has a single other person I know. And I know many, many people who write you regularly.
How is it, exactly, that you think you’re so much more important than the people you govern? How is it that you think you deserve courtesies you are unwilling to offer yourself? How is it that you dare pretend to govern those to whom you can not even be persuaded to acknowledge, much less address?
More importantly, though, how dare you brag that Wisconsin so well-serves its poorest families when you broke your own promise not to raise taxes by CUTTING the Earned Income Tax Credit that you claim in your letter to the Secretary helps keep struggling Wisconsinites afloat!?
And how dare you pretend to know ANYTHING about the people in Wisconsin who are suffering under the boot of your tax increases when coupled with your cuts to wages, benefits and social services? How dare you imply that – given just the tiniest bit of Big Government Coddling, we would dance at the chance to never work a day in our lives? How can you so openly show such contempt and disrespect for the hardworking people of your own state? I LOVE working. It’s pretty much all I do. I have four separate state jobs – all of which combined do not provide a living wage post-Act 10. My husband works full time. And we still qualify for Food Share, thanks to your helpful “tools” and “reforms.” So maybe next time you write to Secretary Sebelius you can keep those specific comments in mind. Maybe you’ll keep in mind that the policies you support are the ones that led to the unemployment of all those still-hurting Janesville workers. Maybe you’ll keep in mind that while the rest of the country puts to work the Obama administration’s reforms and sees actual job growth, Wisconsin has led the nation in job losses because of your stubborn refusal to move forward.
And maybe she’ll respond with a nice form letter, letting you know she’ll keep YOUR specific comments in mind, too.
See you at the ballot box in 2014. I won’t hold my breath about hearing from you sooner.
Heather DuBois Bourenane
Sun Prairie, WI