News, notes, and observations from the James River Valley in northern South Dakota with special attention to reviewing the performance of the media--old and new. E-Mail to

Thursday, September 24, 2015

One schmuck down

A schmuck at work

When Scott Walker "suspended" his campaign for president, the media attributed his precipitous drop in the polls to being overshadowed by the likes of Donald Trump and his own blundering responses on issues. One reporter from the Washington Post who accompanied him on the campaign lists nine things she noticed about him. The traits she noted can be summarized in a word. Schmuck.

Schmuck is derived from a Yiddish word for penis.  The closest English equivalent is prick.  A schmuck is someone who is mean, foolish, or inept.  Or all of those.  That's Scott Walker.   The Washington Post reporter says,  "Walker would often slip up, making comments that didn't quite make sense or taking stances he didn't mean to take — but then hesitating to take a different position or admit that he had misspoken, perhaps for fear of cementing an image of being a flip-flopper."

There is an aspect to Walker's decline that is mentioned as one of his achievements but only  a few have seen it as his major detraction.  It is his obsessive assault on working people.  In his campaigns for governor and president, he has emphasized his major accomplishment to be union-busting.  He wrote a campaign book about it with Washington Post wing nut voice Marc Thiessen, titled Unintimidated, in which he portrays himself as heroically standing up to the big, bad unions.  When a hundred thousand people protested his union busting legislation in Madison, he portrayed the event as a mass attack by thugs who he so bravely faced, when it was in fact a civil protest.  He said the  rampage would cost $7.5 million for repairs to the Capitol, when in  fact the clean-up cost was $270,000, and  law enforcement officials repeatedly stressed how civil and well-behaved the demonstrators were. 

Those thugs he referred to were, in fact, the teachers who taught and cared for the state's children, the workers who maintain the roads and provide the services in government offices.  The puzzling and depressing aspect was that the people voted to retain him as governor during a recall election and then a second term.  In interviews of working people who supported Walker, they often said they thought it was unfair that union workers were paid better than they.  

The significance of Walker was in the change he  reflected in the people of Wisconsin, who once put in place the laws that gave working families the right and ability to have a voice in their own financial destinies.  Walker said the quest for equality was greed.  Since his rapid failure in the GOP primary campaign,  many news commentators have noted that Walker's demise was the result of a lethal kind of stupidity and meanness.  During his  campaign, Walker proved to be an uninformed dolt whose lack of knowledge delivered with egotistical bravado disqualified him as a candidate for president.

However, Walker's downfall was largely a matter of him declaring himself an enemy of working people and of democracy itself.  His denunciation of working people and their unions had the same effect on them that the denunciations of western civilization by ISIS has on most of the world.  He branded himself as a dangerous enemy.  He saw collective bargaining as detrimental to his idea of an economy and shared governance in the universities as an impediment to running higher education, which he slashed in Wisconsin by $300 million.  The word collegial, which describes a basic characteristic of universities, means equal sharing of authority.  At a time when most people who have to work for a living recognize that the concentration of wealth in a few underlies America's burgeoning poverty rate and the decimation of the middle class, Walker has destroyed two means of making people equal--collective bargaining and collegiality.  

When Walker banished collective bargaining among public workers,   a number of other states led by GOP governors followed his lead.  In doing so, they expanded the declaration of war on the working families and the middle class.  Walker is now effectively removed from the national stage and the people of Wisconsin will have to deal with what he has wrought.  However, there are other candidates just as anti-worker and anti-equality.

Walker is down, but there is a herd of similar mentalities ready to take his place to  carry the message of racial and class hatred, the denial of equality, and to agitate for a continued war on the working and the middle class.  Walker's demise is a small victory for democracy, but democracy has by no means won.  

The schmucks and putzes still abound.  

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Aberdeen, South Dakota, United States