First Impression of Scott Walker Resonates With What We See Now by Thomas Martin Sobottke


He is the Napoleon of crime Watson, he is the organizer of half that is evil and nearly all that is undetected in this great city.”
Sherlock Holmes, the “Red Headed League”, the Memoirs of Sherlock Holmes

“Scott Walker is a bad and dangerous man. There is something fundamentally wrong with Walker’s personality that makes him unfit for office –both then and now. That’s my and many other’s conclusion after seeing how abusive and ill-tempered he was then. And how bad of a political bully he has become.”
Dr. Glen Bary, Classmate and Student Government Opponent of Scott Walker at Marquette University 1986-1990 “Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker STILL Unfit for Office,” Essay, Wisconsin Citizens Media Co-op, 25 May 2012.

“There were around a hundred loud, and obnoxious Bush-Cheney campaign Republicans loudly calling for four more years for President Bush and yelling insults at Democrats via bull horns and air horns. They continued their barrage for almost four hours . . . Senator Kerry even politely thanked George Bush for “sending out his goons.”
Thomas Martin Sobottke Diary, 2 August 2004

The man with the bullhorn leading cheers of “Four More Years,” and mixed with demeaning comments about a Kerry Campaign event in Pere Marquette Park on the afternoon of Monday, 2 August 2004 had everyone’s attention. There were less than a thousand of us waiting there for John Kerry and his wife to appear at a Kerry for President Campaign Event in Milwaukee, Wisconsin just behind the Wisconsin County Historical Society at the Milwaukee River. The bullhorn and background chanting of dozens of voices, perhaps more, came from the bridge that overlooks the river to our right and from behind us where we had entered the event through security. Nearly all of us were Democratic activists, Union leaders and liberals out to see Kerry.

But after a minute or so of the loud voice calling insults at us on the bull horn I noted that the voice was somehow familiar. Then one, two and dozens of people started buzzing about the man with the bull horn making such a complete ass of himself. It was none other than Scott Walker, the newly-elected Milwaukee County Executive. I remember my reaction. I was stunned. Even someone I profoundly disagreed with politically could not be that stupid, obnoxious, and lower himself to that sort of boorish behavior as an elected public servant for Wisconsin’s greatest County—a man with such huge responsibilities. I recognized the voice from campaign ads I had seen on Milwaukee TV. Not many, but enough. His voice left the scene after ten to fifteen minutes and was replaced by younger voices that were still more strident and obnoxious. There were more bull horns.

Eventually, the “four more years” chants were interspersed with obscenities. We were informed that these were the area’s most active “Young Republicans.” Needless to say I do not look forward to meeting them as older Republicans.

No one at the Kerry rally that day objected to their right to speak and be heard. And heard they were. Free speech is a much valued right under our law and democratic form of government. Here it was useful that these people be heard. They made an impression all out of proportion to their numbers and actual influence. And the event marked my first geo-political and time-bound crossing of paths with Scott Walker. First impressions mean a lot they say. I am inclined to agree.

Dr. Glen Bary relates his experiences with Scott Walker in an essay currently posted on Wisconsin Citizens Media Co-op. At Marquette University where Walker attended from 1986 to 1990 but never graduated for reasons that are far from clear or established, Bary describes Walker’s personality as narcissistic, authoritarian, and going even so far to label the Governor as a sociopathic personality. Oddly, just the weekend before, I had attended a niece’s graduation party from college in Evanston, Illinois and we got talking of Wisconsin’s turbulent political scene. The guy I met as a friend of my brother-in-law wanted to go into detail about Scott Walker the Marquette University undergrad that he knew quite well as a classmate. The manner in which the man, a by no means progressive democrat, white and Walker’s age, rolled his eyes practically out of his skull spoke volumes. This Walker guy was not popular at Marquette. He made an ass of himself there as he did that day on the bridge near Pere Marquette Park in 2004.

The most salient observations made by Dr. Bary concern Walker’s political campaigning style and moral character in that role. When the Marquette Tribune Bary tells us endorsed a liberal social-justice oriented student over Walker but declared that both would do fine as student body presidents, Walker and his operatives removed thousands of copies of the paper endorsing his opponent. He ran dirty campaign stunts and was sanctioned for his misbehavior. The incident ended in the Marquette Tribune’s next issue declaring Walker “Unfit for office.” Walker suffered a humiliating political defeat campus-wide as a result. The experience may have left him embittered.

I read the essay this morning and it immediately called to mind my first experience with a guy named Scott Walker. The collision was mighty and led me to write this piece today. I kept a diary from 1993 to 2010 then switched to blogging. I had no idea my diary would serve so well in providing still more insight into the present Walker Recall election.

Tom Barrett has many deficiencies. He is not a loud and boisterous guy that moves the masses. He has had the character though to work with people on all sides of our political scene to make very difficult decisions. He put his very life at risk and was seriously hurt at Summerfest in defending people from attackers who were attempting to rob or assault them. He is a good, decent, and honest man who has not betrayed the public trust over a long career of public service. Look at what Walker has done that is so consistent with the picture I got in a nutshell in 2004, what Dr. Bary observed and still another classmate did back when Walker was at MU.

Walker turned away 4,800 high-paying jobs and an infusion of nearly a billion dollars all told, in projects connected to the Obama Stimulus Package for Wisconsin in the high-speed rail from Milwaukee to Madison. Even if the train would have been a white elephant, the jobs and capital brought to build the train and related road bed and track improvements would have helped us immensely. Walker’s principled refusal to accept the money and the project AFTER it was approved and the State had spent millions in laying the groundwork for the project actually cost Wisconsin taxpayers millions. And the train company that was to put up shops in Milwaukee, and a second firm doing the same thing were sent packing off to Illinois. The money was not saved from adding to the Federal budget deficit. And this guy has the gall to say that Barrett’s jobs record in Milwaukee was and is bad. He took jobs away from the city and he made that decision even before taking the oath of office as Governor. It was the first sign that this guy was trouble.

Walker introduced a budget bill that went beyond money to attacking worker rights in the workplace. That’s not just dollars and cents. Walker betrayed the public trust here by ending collective bargaining for public servants in Wisconsin. We are not talking about the payments state workers and teachers make to their health benefits or pensions here at all. In point of fact, the Unions came forward and offered and made good on their promise to give up thousands of dollars of disposable income per worker each year to aid the taxpayer in our state. $660 million every two years. And every one of these demonized Union workers are taxpayers and full citizens of the State of Wisconsin like everyone else.

Walker told a Congressional Committee under oath and penalty of perjury that the taking of collective bargaining rights from public servants at all levels in Wisconsin was budgetary and not related in any way to some sort of political vendetta or move to break the power of people to speak and to oppose him. In short, we now know he lied outright to the committee. A videotape of his January meeting in the days before his inauguration with a billionaire constituent from Janesville, not denied to be true by Walker, and confirmed for weeks shows him promising even before anyone publicly knew of his plans to enact such a sweeping policy with such deep ramifications for hundreds of thousands of people he took the oath to serve that he would end collective bargaining to “divide and conquer” state unions and make Wisconsin an entirely Red Right-to-Work State.

When prison guards talked of walking off the job the Governor was quick to act to prepare to call out the National Guard not only to secure State prisons but to prevent protests from coalescing around the collective bargaining issue.

He openly discussed and seriously considered planting people in the large crowds coming to the people’s house, the lovely Wisconsin State Capitol in Madison, so that the incredibly loud and vociferous but peaceful and orderly people seeking redress of their grievances before government could be discredited. Planting people who would employ actual violence, and that is what Walker is heard speaking of, would have placed thousands of people’s lives at risk unnecessarily. And this threat of violence was for personal political gain and not any need to keep public order. By contrast, it was a plan to promote disorder and lawlessness. That he decided not to do it is less important than that he must be the first governor since Jeremiah Rusk ordered police to shoot down workers at the Bay View Rolling Mill in May 1886, to deliberately seek to do violence to Wisconsin citizens.

Walker is the subject we learn this morning of the John Doe Probe conducted by the Milwaukee County District Attorney’s Office that has already racked up 14 Felony counts of misconduct and law-breaking. Three of those charged have already plead guilty. Now we can better see that Walker as County Executive and as Governor of Wisconsin and perhaps as a presidential candidate in 2016 or VP pick this summer if he wins June 5th is really acting in ways that are consistent with his political behavior throughout his political career, which we are told began at Badger Boys State in the mid 1980’s. Did Walker pull some shenanigans to get selected by counselors at his high school? Why would that not surprise me now?

What is so shocking is that what to supporters of Scott Walker will seem like character-assassination is really just reporting factually what he does and who he is. The high speed train project debacle, the collective bargaining “divide and conquer” anti-worker strategy, threatened violence against peaceful protestors at the State capitol and using the National Guard against Wisconsin workers have all been accomplished in just a year-and-a- half in statewide public office as Governor. Never mind 250,000 good paying jobs that have yet to appear here.

No one would compare the level of political divisiveness and meanness on both sides in the Walker Recall struggle to that under Walker’s predecessor, Jim Doyle, or even Scott McCallum, Tommy Thompson, Lee Dreyfus or anybody else going way back for decades in Wisconsin politics. The new intensely partisan and divisive political climate and dirty politics of our State are a Walker innovation. Love him or hate him you must see that—know that. Walker is the common denominator in all this unrest in our state.

He is Wisconsin’s Napoleon of Crime. He is the author of half of all that is evil but so much that is now becoming detected in our great state. We still have June 5th to set this right: all of us. Not just liberals or Democrats or Union people. Scott Walker is a fundamentally flawed individual. We should pray for him and love the man enough to help him let go of the reigns of power in the State and settle in a good job and be with his family in peace and tranquility. We should feel sorry for him. He reaches for greatness but has no conception of what it is. Sherlock Holmes’ Professor Moriarty was similarly flawed.

Perhaps Tom Barrett and Scott Walker could fly to Switzerland this week and meet at the Reichenbach Falls. I’m betting on Barrett, just ask the guys he took on at Summerfest.

If he wins on June 5th in the Recall, Scott Walker will hang himself. Not literally, but figuratively. He is going too far and he’ll soon destroy himself. People like this always do. His wife has told him to go into the private sector and cheat people there for a lot more money. Perhaps there is an opening at Bain Capital now that Romney has left. Mrs. Walker’s suggestion to her husband is the very best kind of advice.

Dr. Thomas Martin Sobottke
for Struggles for Justice

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