Monday, February 23, 2015

Under the Iron Fist of Scott Walker: "He’s slick: Fast-talking, confident, and dishonest" - Author and Republican John Dean

Since the media has decided not to make the miserable record of Republican governors an issue in their run for president, then how about their rightwing authoritarian driven policies? Come on, isn't becoming a dictatorship scary enough to garner a few headlines? 

Since Scott Walker is in the spotlight, I thought a little primer on his authoritarian style of governing is in order. Walker's shocking vilification of teachers and protesting Wisconsinites is only just scratching the surface. He detests protesters so much that he decided to require a fee and license to exercise their 1st Amendment right, arresting and fining those speaking out against his policies in the Capitol rotunda without permission. A court just struct that down as unconstitutional. 

Here's a compilation of video clips and audio that together, painted a frightening picture of an America under Scott Walker. The massive crowds filling the streets...ignored. Below the video, Republican and author John Dean's actual analysis of Scott Walker, who he couldn't help but notice him way back in 2012. 

Politico just wrote about this not to be forgotten moment:
One of his low points came in 2011 when he carried on a phone conversation with a liberal blogger impersonating one of the billionaire Koch brothers. When the blogger suggested infiltrating the anti-Walker crowd with “troublemakers,” the governor nonchalantly responded: “We thought about that.”
Here's John Dean's jaw dropping look and warning about Scott Walker, from April 6, 2012:
My focus here is on Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker, who strikes some who have written to me as a distinctively prototypical authoritarian politician; what social science has labeled as a “double high” authoritarian; and the type of person which I described in my book as a conservative without conscience. There is another type of authoritarian. Social scientists labeled these people “Double Highs.” They simply see the world as a place where they are always in charge.  I worked for and with a number of Double Highs at the Nixon White House, from the president on down through his senior staff.  But based on what I found, there is little doubt in my mind that Scott Walker is a classic authoritarian.

Opposition To Equality … There are many examples of Walker’s harsh and uncaring treatment of those whom he does not believe to be entitled to equality.  None is more glaring than his intolerance of gays and lesbians … as Governor, he has worked to end Wisconsin’s recognition of the rights of same-sex couples. He fired the law firm defending the state’s domestic-partnership law.  And he appointed a woman to the state’s Labor and Industry Review Commission who believes that gays can be harassed in the workplace.

One attorney familiar with Walker’s thinking states, “Everything that Governor Walker is doing is ideological; I don’t see that his administration has any particular respect for the law per se.”

Desirous Of Personal Power. Scott Walker has been seeking personal power his entire life, and has never stopped reaching for it.  By age 7, Walker had formed a “Jesus USA” club, which was a mix of his father’s Baptist ministry and his attraction to patriotism.  By age 8, he had undertaken a door-to-door fundraising campaign to take charge of purchasing a flag for the village hall of his small Iowa town. At Marquette, he was elected to the student senate, and twice sought but failed to get elected president of the student body.  He ran for the Wisconsin State Assembly the same year that he lost his bid to be student president at Marquette, losing the Assembly race as well.

As governor, Walker sought to remove civil service jobs, in order to make them political appointments, and thus subject to his control.  Most strikingly, he has sought to undercut the public-employee unions so that he would not have to deal with them, thus increasing his power. He has increased his personal power over some fifteen state agencies … move to break public employee unions is his most notorious personal power play.  Walker’s push … was done in about as authoritarian a fashion as you will ever see, outside of a dictatorship. Part of Act 10 has already been struck down by a federal judge.

Walker’s amorality is conspicuous.  It is found in his history of ethics violations and the record of his lying … his Marquette University days, when the college newspaper called him “unfit” for student office. Later, in the Assembly (in 2005), Walker would earn the distinction of receiving the second-highest fine for an ethics violation in Wisconsin history. With respect to 44 statements that Politifacts examined, Walker was found to have been truthful only on six occasions.  The fact that 38 statements were pants-on-fire false, false, mostly false, or half-truths is stark evidence of amorality.

I watched a video of a Walker speech at the Goldwater Institute.  He’s slick: Fast-talking, confident, and dishonest—I watched him distort facts with which I was familiar.  And indeed, the most striking … his views on crime and punishment. As a member of the Wisconsin Assembly, in 1996 Walker was the moving force behind the building of a 500-bed “Supermax” prison, which he claimed worked better than normal facilities; others had doubts.  Also, when state officials sought a 200-bed unit, Walker insisted on more than doubling the request. Another instance of Walker’s punitive aggressiveness can be found in an example from 1997, when Walker pushed legislation that eliminated all parole, while increasing maximum criminal sentences by fifty percent.  Walker also pushed for draconian legislation that would send juvenile offenders to adult prisons at age 15, although his colleagues in the Assembly rejected this excessively harsh approach. These, too, are examples of classic authoritarian behavior at work.

Scott Walker is Mr. Conventional.  He has long been an active member of a fundamentalist church. He wears conservative, off-the-rack clothing. His hair is always closely trimmed, and his manner polite and pleasant. (I cannot find a single radical right-wing position that Walker rejects.)

I have only sketched in digest terms the reporting I found on Scott Walker’s political career.  To me, it is clear that Wisconsin has a double high authoritarian governor, a conservative without conscience.  If I lived in Wisconsin, I would be uncomfortable with this man, whom I find more Nixonian than even Richard Nixon himself (the authoritarian leader with whom I was, and am, so very familiar).

Please understand that these authoritarian leaders and their followers are not necessarily bad people.  To the contrary, I have many friends who fall into this group, who are wonderful people. But none of my double high authoritarian friends are suited to serve as governor of any state … Democracy and democratic institutions do not function well with dogmatic, unbending authoritarian leaders … and as Bob Altemeyer’s work has shown, they can be dangerous to democracy.

Hopefully, one or more social scientists or political psychologists in Wisconsin, where there are many, will step forward and tell the people of Wisconsin more about what they have on their hands, with Scott Walker as their governor. The June 5, 2012 election is a true opportunity to discourage another leader who is a conservative without conscience.  Altemeyer estimates that about twenty-five percent of the population has, in varying degrees, the disposition to follow a double high authoritarian, many blindly or simply because it assuages their fears.  And, of course, these are aggressive followers who can attract others who are unaware of the nature of the person they are electing, thus enabling an authoritarian leader like Walker to gain ever-growing control. Good luck, Wisconsin.

1 comment:

  1. General strike on Tuesday