AUSTIN, TEXAS — Facing a potential recall election battle in his home state, Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker (R) went to the conservative Texas Public Policy Foundation’s annual policy conference in Austin, Texas this week to try to rally conservative support for his continued tenure.
While Walker shared his love of breaking public sector unions and pushing deep budget cuts, about 100-150 protesters with the Texas AFL-CIO and Occupy Austin gathered outside to share their displeasure with Walker’s policies.
Just as the speech was beginning inside the downtown Hilton hotel, a group of demonstrators charged into the lobby and “mic checked” Walker, even though he wasn’t within earshot. “Recall! Scott Walker!” they chanted as security ushered them out. There were no arrests.
The think tank Walker to which Walker spoke is a major player in Texas’s most conservative policy circles, and was once even labeled “extreme right-wing” by the late Texas liberal writer Molly Ivins. Their views are essentially aligned with Walker’s when it comes to public sector unions, and they played a key role in turning Texas into a so-called “right to work” state, where unions are few and far between.
The Wall Street Journal’s Steve Moore introduced Walker to the waiting crowd by calling the governor’s potential recall battle one of the most important elections in the nation. Walker went on to say that he believes the right to collectively bargain with the government is no right at all, but “an expensive entitlement” that, if not destroyed, will limit conservative governors’ ability to shrink government.
“We believe in welcoming all comers to Texas, and we won’t break with that tradition today,” Texas AFL-CIO presient Becky Moeller said in a prepared statement. “But we must protest the anti-union zealotry, if not the presence, of Wisconsin Gov. Walker. Walker has played the partisan labor-bashing game since his election, doing the bidding of the Koch Brothers and other money players who want to tamp down worker rights, who can’t stand the idea that health care has become available to more of America and who would love to shave percentage points off democratic election participation.”
The deadline for Democrats to submit petition signatures to trigger a Walker recall election is on Tuesday, Jan. 17. They need 540,208 verified petition signatures, and Wisconsin activists feel confident they’ll eclipse that figure.
A recent poll by Wisconsin Public Radio found that if Democrats do manage to trigger the recall, Walker faces a very serious threat: 58 percent of respondents said they’d vote to recall, a jump of 11 percent since the last poll was taken in April 2011.
The video below is from 99videos.org, published Thursday, Jan. 12, 2012.
Photo credit: John Jack Anderson