Walker Defends Curtailing Evers as he Exits

On the way out the door, Scott Walker signed a bill to take powers away from his successor (and demonstrated a lack of understanding of Venn diagrams).

Via the NYT:  Wisconsin’s Scott Walker Signs Bills Stripping Powers From Incoming Governor.

The new laws will curb the authority of Mr. Evers in the rule-making process and give lawmakers, not the new governor, most appointments on an economic development board until next summer. The measures also will limit early voting, allow legislators to intervene in some lawsuits and limit the power of Josh Kaul, the incoming attorney general.

In addition, the new laws prevent Mr. Kaul and Mr. Evers from withdrawing the state from a lawsuit challenging the Affordable Care Act, and further codify policies passed by the Republicans, including a work requirement for people on Medicaid and a voter ID law.

During a bill-signing ceremony in Green Bay on Friday, Mr. Walker played down the significance of the reforms. He described all the attention paid to them as “hype and hysteria.” And he held up a large poster of a diagram with “SAME POWERS” in red letters, in which he ticked off prerogatives that his successor still gets to have, like vetoing bills.

I have already noted my criticism of the democratic nature of this legislation here.

Here’s the diagram noted in the piece:

Two immediate thought when I saw this:

  1.  That’s not how Venn diagrams work (and Twitter noticed as well).
  2.  If you need a big chart to try and prove you aren’t taking powers away from the incoming governor, then it is pretty obvious that you are taking powers away from the incoming governor.  It usually isn’t necessary to demonstrate that the next administration will have the same powers as the outgoing one.

Let me reiterate that last point:  it is clear that Walker and his GOP allies in the legislature know full well that they are altering the powers of the incoming administration.  His need to pretend otherwise (including comments made at the press conference) are just disingenuous if not outright false and an attempt to convince everyone to, as the allusion goes, ignore the man behind the curtain. Seriously: if you have to have posters to show how everything is normal you are highlighting how abnormal the situation is.

The bottom line remains:  if the bills were passed in the next legislative session, they would be vetoed (and that outcome would reflect the results of 2018 election).  Moreover, the current legislature has a disproportionate number of Republicans in it, relative to vote share, and the next Assembly will be a majority Republican on a minority vote share statewide (see my linked post above for details).  Regardless of the content of the legislation, this a naked power-grab that is not democratic in nature and is also not amendable to a near-term democratic response from voters given the extreme gerrymandering in the state.

Update:  See, also:  Let’s hope Scott Walker’s next job doesn’t require chart-making.

FILED UNDER: US Politics
Steven L. Taylor
About Steven L. Taylor
Steven L. Taylor is Professor of Political Science and Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences at Troy University. His main areas of expertise include parties, elections, and the institutional design of democracies. His most recent book is the co-authored A Different Democracy: American Government in a 31-Country Perspective. He earned his Ph.D. from the University of Texas and his BA from the University of California, Irvine. He has been blogging since 2003 (originally at the now defunct Poliblog). Follow Steven on Twitter

Comments

  1. OzarkHillbilly says:

    Regardless of the content of the legislation, this a naked power-grab that is not democratic in nature and is also not amendable to a near-term democratic response from voters given the extreme gerrymandering in the state.

    Right now, I really want to hear from one of our 2nd Amendment absolutists how “2nd Amendment solutions” are not at all appropriate for these present situations.

  2. Gustopher says:

    Is the assault on democratic process better or worse than the assault on Venn diagrams?

    I think the Venn diagram might actually be worse. Aside from it not being a Venn diagram, it is just a complete lie. It is emblematic of the Republican Party running on lies and a false version of reality — a problem that goes back decades, at least, with the Laffer curve. It’s deliberately misinforming the electorate, far beyond “spin”.

  3. Kathy says:

    Of course it’s bullshit. a bit like making upa rule that the home team can use the forward pass and the visiting team cannot, then claiming they can both run the ball and therefore both have the same offensive options.

    BTW, I was taught sets in pre-school, and intersecting sets by the first grade. It was a regular school, with no special programs or anything. I assume most people can tell a valid Venn diagram. My first grade self would have known that two identical sets don’t intersect, but overlap exactly. and that’s from sets such as “things found at home” vs “things found at school.”

    a naked, undemocratic power grab is bad enough. Insulting the intelligence of the public doesn’t make it any better.

  4. de stijl says:

    If you need a big chart to try and prove you aren’t taking powers away from the incoming governor, then it is pretty obvious that (y)ou are taking powers away from the incoming governor.

    Do these folks not understand they’re screwing up badly and shooting themselves in the foot? It’s a super obvious bald-faced power play by sore losers. Apparently, there are no cool heads in the room.

  5. Moosebreath says:

    @de stijl:

    “It’s a super obvious bald-faced power play by sore losers. Apparently, there are no cool heads in the room.”

    And even more apparently, no Republicans in office who will publicly object. Just as they did not object when this happened in North Carolina after the 2016 election. Just as they are not objecting to it happening in Michigan now. Until it comes back to bite them, they are going to continue to do it.

  6. de stijl says:

    In a zero-sum game, if your opponent is self-destructing, let ’em.

    I can’t recall if that’s from The Prince or The Art Of War.

  7. de stijl says:

    @Moosebreath:

    Members that vote for this stuff are scripting their future opponent’s campaign ads for free and willingly. It’s baffling.

  8. Blue Galangal says:

    @de stijl: Generally speaking, I agree with the sentiments. On the other hand, the past 18 years have shown us that naked power grabs and outright lies are, in fact, rewarded with political power. From what I’ve read, it’s not just a power grab, it’s an attempt to entrench the power grab into the current systems so that future governments can’t overturn it. I’m only surprised the House hasn’t tried something similar, but they might be trying to work the bugs out of the system.

  9. @de stijl:

    Members that vote for this stuff are scripting their future opponent’s campaign ads for free and willingly. It’s baffling.

    Not baffling at all. Their districts are drawn to protect them. And they can tell those voters, which their party chose for them, that they protected Walker’s legacy.

  10. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @de stijl: They don’t care.

    @Steven L. Taylor: I have to wonder, who is going to pay to secure Walker when he’s no longer Gov?

  11. JohnMcC says:

    @de stijl: “Never interfere with an enemy while he’s in the process of destroying himself.” Napoleon

  12. gVOR08 says:

    @de stijl:

    Never interrupt your enemy when he is making a mistake.

    is generally attributed to Napoleon.

  13. Jim Brown 32 says:

    This is what happens when your Governor only has a High School diploma….

  14. Jen says:

    He deserves to be mocked and ridiculed for the chart.

    He deserves to have his political career ended, permanently, by the naked power grab.

    Question: what happens if Gov. Evers just goes ahead and pulls out of the Obamacare litigation? I understand that one thing this legislation does is take away his power to do so–nullifying one of the campaign promises Evers made (a concrete example of how this legislation subverts the will of the Wisconsin electorate). I’m assuming doing something like that would trigger a lawsuit, but maybe that’s a good outcome?