It’s pretty easy to see what Scott Walker’s campaign strategy will be in Wisconsin to win back the governor’s office for the GOP — and it won’t be Charlie Crist-like bandwagoning for Barack Obama. In this new ad, Walker blasts Obama for spending almost a billion dollars in transportation funds for a high-speed rail line between Madison and Milwaukee rather than on repairs of crumbling roads that Wisconsin voters have to use every day. And how many permanent jobs will be created by this boondoggle? Er …:
I am drawing a line in the sand Mr. President: No matter how much money you and Governor Doyle try to spend before the end of the year, I will put a stop to this boondoggle the day I take office.
It’s outrageous for Secretary La Hood to suggest that your administration can force Wisconsin to continue building a train it doesn’t want and cannot afford. Almost as outrageous as the fact that the decision to saddle Wisconsin taxpayers with untold millions in operating and maintenance costs, forever, was never debated or voted on by the Wisconsin legislature. If it had been, this letter would not be necessary.
Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett, my opponent in the race to replace Governor Doyle, has made the Milwaukee to Madison train the centerpiece of his economic development plan for Wisconsin. The Mayor tells us that spending $810 million on high-speed rail will create thousands of new Wisconsin jobs, but according to the federal government’s own estimate, the total number of permanent jobs created will be 55. That’s $14.5 million per job, not including any hidden costs!
Only fifty-five permanent jobs? Wisconsin shouldn’t be the only state demanding an explanation of this boondoggle. And we thought that spending $300K or more for every claimed job “saved or created” was bad. Porkulus looks like bargain basement in comparison.
The ad itself, though, is worth a watch, and pay attention to Walker’s attack on Obama’s repetitive speech crutches: “Let me be clear,” “Yes, we can,” and the especially risible “It’s not about me.” Two years ago, few would have imagined that a Republican in a swing state could ridicule Obama in an ad and expect to remain competitive. It’s a measure of how far Obama has fallen that Walker thinks this will play to his advantage in a state that voted for Obama by a significant margin — and that Walker’s probably right in making that call.