There seems to be a growing tide of GOP buyer’s remorse sweeping the country.
Republicans campaigned in 2010 on creating jobs and cutting spending and the deficit. But once in power, both in the U.S. House of Representatives and in numerous states, all those promises went out the window. Instead they’ve offered a steady stream of items from the traditional far-right wish list: union busting, blocking abortion, redefining rape, limiting voting rights, going after public radio, etc. Even their budget priorities were not in tune with their campaign promises, as unpopular tax cuts for the rich will outpace their proposed budget cuts. (Not not to mention the petty-seeming far-right initiatives, like going after a mural supporting labor in Maine and reversing environmentally friendly cafeteria policies in the House, while spending money to add signs to federal buildings mentioning God.)
Unsurprisingly, voters have been unhappy.
In Wisconsin, a governor, Scott Walker, who never campaigned on union busting, offered as one of his first proposals the virtual gutting of public sector unions (except for police and firefighters who, not coincidentally, supported his campaign; to their credit, police officers and firefighters nevertheless joined in protesting Walker’s union-busting bill). He followed that up with a proposed budget that offered tax cuts for the wealthy but cut programs for the middle class, most notably hundreds of millions of dollars in education cuts (paired with rules that would prevent local school districts from doing anything to raise education funds locally).
So in addition to nearly a month of protests at the Capitol (the largest in Madison since Vietnam), polls show overwhelming disapproval of Walker’s far-right initiatives, and one survey found that if the November election were held again, Walker would be handily defeated. Some Republicans are speaking out against Walker, regretting their votes for him. And the disapproval is not just poll-based. The governor’s opponents have begun recall drives against eight Republican senators (several with good chances of actually leading to recall elections), as well as shining unprecedented attention on April’s Wisconsin Supreme Court justice election, with Walker ally and incumbent David Prosser being targeted by angry anti-Walker constituents.
Wisconsin is not unique in this regard, either. A poll revealed that voters in Ohio would not vote for their governor again if they had the chance.
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