Brian Fraley thinks
that the Milwaukee County Board overrode almost every budget veto
made by Scott Walker because Walker wasn't tough enough.
According to Fraley, "someone seems to have told Scott to extend an olive branch to the County Board with the hopes that this soft approach would curry their favor. All it did was empower them. They viewed his passivity as a weakness, and they successfully thwarted much of his agenda this budget cycle."
Who could that "someone" be? Fraley suggests the culprit a few paragraphs earlier: "Perhaps this failure is a result of some of the personnel Scott has himself empowered. While they may be good, decent individuals, he has life-long partisan democrats, bureaucrats, and liberals in many key leadership positions on his staff and throughout his Administration."
Of course, Fraley offers no examples in the post of how Walker "extend[ed] an olive branch to the County Board" during the latest budget cycle. And Fraley conveniently ignores the fact that last year, when Walker took a hard-line approach by vetoing the entire budget -- declaring
, with his hands metaphorically thrown it the air, "It's their budget now" -- he essentially came away with the same thing as he did this time around: nothing.
The fact is that the board has enough votes to override Walker on just about every point of the budget, and over the years Walker's incessantly combative relationship with the board hasn't exactly endeared him to a large percentage of supervisors. While he doesn't need to be drinking buddies with anyone on the board, a respectful working relationship between the executive and the board is clearly in the best interest of the county; and hitting the talk radio circuit at every chance to bash the supervisors isn't the most effective way to forge respect.
But even more fundamental than that is Walker's unwillingness and inability
to engage in meaningful budget dialogue with the board as a result of his zero-tax increase campaign pledge, which he'll almost surely make again when he officially declares his re-election bid for next year.
Walker isn't extending any olive branches when it comes to the budget. To be sure, he can't sit down at a table with supervisors to negotiate because starting and ending at zero provides him with nothing of substance to invest in a compromise.
But Fraley, ever the political consultant, is attempting the trick of making a weakness (Walker can't compromise) into a strength (Walker shouldn't compromise) by claiming it's not that Walker's approach was too rigid, it's that it was too soft.
And that line about liberal moles in the Walker administration who are causing the softness? Just pure rhetorical gold.
Labels: milwaukee county budget, scott walker