Over at CNN.com, you can read a full transcript (URL below) of Scott Walker's meandering, pandering appearance on the cable network's weekend "State of the Union" political talk show. In that appearance, the Wisconsin governor essentially blamed America's vast pool of unemployed for their own misery. Then he prescribed the best thing politicians could do to get the jobless and the underemployed the work they need: "Fix Obamacare." Because, you see, that would reduce economic uncertainty and happy job creators would simply go ballistic and it would be morning in America, again! Or something.
As for Wisconsin's significantly higher than average unemployment rate and nationally topmost ranking in new jobless claims? It didn't come up, no thanks to host Candy Crowley. But no matter because, as Walker would have it, those conditiions have nothing -- nothing! -- to do with his supposedly wonderful economic policies. Rather, Mr. and Ms. Unemployed: joblessness is all your fault! You're just not trying hard enough!
Asked by CNN's Crowley if federal unemployment benefits should be extended a few more months, Walker implied otherwise, but mostly by-passed the question, instead laying more cold compassion on the biggest victims of the Great Recession:
I don't know about you, Candy, but if I was out of work, I'd be looking more than twice a week for a job. I'd be looking for every day except maybe today. I take Sunday off to go to church and pray that I could find a job on Monday, but I think there need to be reforms in that system.
Did Walker mean to suggest when his mouth ran on to "reforms in that system" the system by which he thinks praying will solve the problem? No, but it sure came out sounding that way. Did he mean reforms to strengthen the social safety net? No. He meant, he said, stuff like improved technical training, which might indeed be helpful but which isn't going to be happening in Wisconsin, where in his first budget Walker whacked $70 million in state aid to technical colleges, a 30 percent cut. Boy, that'll help!
But even if cutting technical school funding could teach more skills to more of the jobless, how would it create jobs they could all fill? Walker tried covering that. The way to create jobs, he said, is to "create an environment" where employers will create jobs. Just fix Obamacare! Speaking-in-tongues translation: Do what we've done in Wisconsin. Hold down the minimum wage so overhead is lower. Hand out big tax breaks and grants to businesses. Cut wages and benefits to hundreds of thousands of public employees. Hike taxes on the working poor. And the jobs will just start to flow. Well, actually not.
The other way to create jobs, according to Walker: Ensure that Americans have "equal opportunity," one of those civil rights terms that Republicans lately have been co-opting by the truckload. Walker made the co-optation obvious, noting as he did how many immigrants have come to the US looking for work. By inference, Walker thinks -- like his red-meat base -- that immigrants are taking away "American" jobs, and not just crummy, low-paying, unsavory ones. "The problem," Walker free-streamed aloud, "is too many Americans right now don't have that equal opportunity and we should be making a case about how we're going to make it easier to create a job, easier to get in the workforce, easier to get the skills that they need to fill those jobs, artificially raise things."
"Artificially raise things"? What a thoughtful national employment and economic strategy! But if freely associating rhetorician Walker is worried about jobs being taken away from "Americans" through vague discriminatory means, what has he say about off-shoring and outsourcing to low-paying, right-to-work states? Nothing, because he are one. Walker is okay with those strategies, and may yet even convert Wisconsin into a right-to-work hell hole, if he can get away with it.
Oh, and Walker also suggested other states should do like Wisconsin and (you thought welfare was a dead horse no longer worth beating) reform the food stamp program, requiring recipients to attend work retraining and actively look for work. "I say you got to put your money where your mouth is," Walker said. Well, governor, in fact, your mouth is where the food is supposed to enter. It's not where mindless political rhetoric is best left to exit.
And then there was that other Walker admonishment to the jobless: Pray! Or maybe he meant "prey."
Indeed we should pray, but pray instead that more and more voters realize that this guy isn't on their side. The best way to get more jobs out there to Wisconsin's unemployed? Arguably, it's to make Scott Walker jobless.
The obnoxious, mindless appeal of Walkerism is really so very simple. Notwithstanding his cynical nod toward worker training programs, his greater message is this: Out of work? Get a job! Problem solved! Government needn't really get involved whatsoever, except to denigrate you in your misery and make it harder for you to obtain jobless benefits and support your family through hard times. Shorter version: The beatings will continue until morale improves!
In Social Darwinist America, the thinking is that nothing suceeds like success, so if you're downtrodden, you're a loser and it's entirely your own damned fault. Walker and his party faithful nevertheless will help you out by sending more tax dollars to corporations and pretending not to send less money to technical colleges, while tasking you with useless distractions and disincentives. At which point, they hope you'll simply give up and just try praying.