MADISON — Gov. Scott Walker’s new book isn’t exactly a tell-all. In fact, it glosses over or just leaves out many pieces in the story related to Walker’s successful drive to take power away from public unions and the subsequent recall battle.
“Unintimidated: A Governor’s Story and a Nation’s Challenge” will be released Nov. 19. The Associated Press obtained an early copy.
Some issues Walker avoids in the book include:
JOBS PROMISE: Walker promised in his 2010 election campaign that after four years with him as governor the state would add 250,000 private sector jobs. It was a lynchpin of that campaign, and Walker reiterated it during the recall two years later, even though numbers at that point showed he was on pace to only add half that many.
Walker never mentions his jobs creation promise in the book. Instead, the book focuses on how many jobs the state lost prior to his taking office and how Walker argued during the recall that monthly job-collection data being used against him was inaccurate.
JOHN DOE: Six people, including three of Walker’s former aides, an appointee and a major campaign contributor, were convicted of criminal charges as part of a secret John Doe investigation that was ongoing during the recall.
Walker doesn’t say anything about those close to him being convicted, or the fact that Walker himself was interviewed by investigators and spent $650,000 on criminal defense attorneys.
In fact, Walker’s only mention of the probe comes as he criticizes his recall opponent, Democratic Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett, for raising the issue during the campaign. Walker calls that move by Barrett a “strategic error.”
RECALL PETITIONS: Forcing the 2012 recall election required collecting more than 540,000 valid petition signatures in just two months, a mammoth task never undertaken in Wisconsin history. Petition circulators not only met the mark, they turned in more than 900,000 valid signatures from all corners of the state, exceeding nearly everyone’s expectations.
While Walker talks a lot about why he thinks he won the recall election, he barely mentions the massive petition drive that forced the vote. None of signature collections totals are reported. In fact, he only makes passing reference to the petition circulation process, mentioning that “unions began gathering signatures for my recall” around the time that a motorist drove by his home in Wauwatosa and made an obscene gesture.
DIVIDE AND CONQUER: Walker spends a lot of time talking about why his proposal to effectively end collective bargaining rights for most public workers was the best and most responsible way to deal with a $3.6 billion budget shortfall.
What he doesn’t write about is comments he made to Beloit billionaire Diane Hendricks in January 2011, just before he unveiled his plan. Walker told her that going after public employees’ bargaining rights was the “first step” in his strategy to “divide and conquer.” The comment was caught on tape by a documentary film crew and released in May 2012, just before Walker won the recall election.
Many thought the comment, because it came in reaction to a question from Hendricks about making Wisconsin a right-to-work state, meant that Walker intended to go after private unions next. Walker has denied that is his intention, but he doesn’t discuss the controversy in the book.
PROTESTS: Walker derides the protesters throughout his book, recounting the most salacious examples of them behaving badly, such as when one dumped a beer over the head of Assembly Speaker Robin Vos. “The media like to comment on how ‘peaceful’ the protests were,” Walker writes. “They must never have tried to get around the Capitol in a suit and tie.”
But what Walker fails to report is that the protests, which grew to as large as 100,000 people and would be intense for over a month, went off without major incidents. Law enforcement officials, and Democrats, repeatedly praised those who gathered to oppose Walker’s proposal for being well-behaved.
Walker also doesn’t mention the original $7.5 million estimate his administration said it would cost to repair damage to the Capitol caused by the protesters. The number failed to stand up to scrutiny and Walker quickly distanced himself from it. The actual cost for Capitol cleanup referred to in the book is about $270,000.
LEGAL FIGHT: Walker goes into little detail over the still ongoing legal fight against the law. He completely ignores a 2012 ruling, which still stands, striking down portions of the law as it affects local governments and school districts. Walker writes instead that the law “still stands.”