Scott Walker

Scott Walker's Brave Stand Against Big Labor

The Wisconsin governor has shown courage under fire from organized labor and its allies.


One threatening letter to Wisconsin governor Scott Walker promised to attack his wife and "gut her like a deer." Another talked about killing his sons: "I already follow them when they went to school." Then there was the time the governor's car was attacked by protesters who, as Walker recounts in his book, "surrounded the car and began beating on the windows and rocking the vehicle."

The Associated Press reports that another Republican presidential candidate, Senator Ted Cruz of Texas, is preparing to release a book modeled on John F. Kennedy's Profiles in Courage. A third Republican presidential candidate, the former governor of Florida, Jeb Bush, wrote his own Profiles in Courage-style book called Profiles in Character.

Well, nothing against either Cruz or Bush, but as a profile in either courage or character for our time, Governor Walker himself turns out to be a pretty good example. The Badger State executive withstood an occupation of his state capitol, pickets outside his home, and a recall campaign. All of this was in response to his 2011 budget bill that required public workers to make increased contributions toward their pensions and health insurance. The bill also cut back collective bargaining rights for public employee unions.

Some might object that a governor backed by wealthy donors squeezing government workers isn't courageous, but a bully. But that ignores all those others—Wisconsin taxpayers with children in public schools, private-sector employees with less generous pension and health benefits—who were helped by Walker's actions far more than any out-of-state donors were.

Kennedy used to greet questions about his own World War II heroism, which included swimming for four or five hours towing an injured boatmate for four or five hours, by joking that it was involuntary, because a Japanese destroyer had sunk his PT boat. Some might see an echo of that humility in Walker's Midwestern modesty, which is rare in modern politicians.

The John F. Kennedy Library Foundation, which keeps a trademark on the Profile in Courage Award, would, alas, be unlikely to give it to Walker, even though his actions in Wisconsin surely fit the award's criteria of standing up for principles even in the face of pressure to bend from powerful interest groups. Last year the award went to President George H.W. Bush, who betrayed Kennedy's tax cutting record, and his own "read-my-lips" campaign promise, by raising taxes.

A JFK Profile in Courage Award for Walker might actually be a good fit. As a senator, after all, John Kennedy championed a law, opposed by the AFL-CIO, requiring stricter financial disclosure from labor unions. In an April 4, 1957, speech to the Lynchburg, Va., Chamber of Commerce, Senator Kennedy warned that "Labor racketeers are using their positions with a union to practice extortion, shakedowns and bribery; threatening strikes, labor trouble, physical violence or property damage to employers who fail to give them under-the-table payments, personal gifts, or other contributions which the union members never see." Robert Kennedy famously took on the Teamsters union as counsel to a Senate committee investigating labor corruption.

Alas, mainstream liberalism of the sort that used to embrace Kennedy's willingness to take on the excesses of organized labor now seems to have lost interest. There's no better example of this decline than the New Yorker magazine. That magazine helped launch Kennedy's political career by publishing John Hersey's account of the PT-109 shipwreck, under the headline "Survival," in its June 17, 1944, issue. The New Yorker recently wrote about Governor Walker in an article that began, "let's stipulate up front that Scott Walker, the governor of Wisconsin, is an odious politician whose ascension to the Presidency would be a disaster."

Let's stipulate up front that if Scott Walker becomes president, it will be without the support of the John F. Kennedy Library Foundation or the editors of The New Yorker. And let's stipulate, too, that ugly threats aren't confined to unions or to the left side of the political spectrum; I wouldn't want to be getting Barack Obama's hate mail. 

But holding steady for public employee labor reform when the incoming hate mailers are threatening to kill your kids and gut your wife like a deer—well, let's just say that as far as an executive personality and grace under pressure goes, it sure looks like a profile in courage for our times.

NEXT: How to Free-Range Your Kids (And Not Get Arrested)

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  1. It is truly stunning that the very birthplace of the communist movement in America is now a Right to Work state. If you had predicted six years ago that this would happen, everyone would have thought you were completely insane.

    Representative government may be a dead letter at the federal level, but we can all rejoice a little that it is still very much alive and well in the states.

    1. Just checked, and by gosh he just signed the right-to-work bill.……html?_r=0


      And, yes, this restricts the “freedom” of businesses to sign closed shop contracts with unions. However, that freedom is an illusion in the context of current labor law, which denies the business the freedom to refuse to sign a contract with a union, and imposes innumerable requirements on the union/employer relationship.

      Get rid of the NLRB, and we can talk about getting rid of right-to-work laws.

      1. I think there are some businesses legitimately who are, or at least might be, interested in such arrangements. There can be a benefit to having a predictable supply of labor and a single representative to negotiate with.

        But the NLRB fucks all that up and leaves you with a shitty situation that you can make somewhat less shitty with so-called “right-to-work” laws.

        1. kbolino|3.9.15 @ 4:58PM|#
          “I think there are some businesses legitimately who are, or at least might be, interested in such arrangements.”

          Is there anything that would prevent such a company from setting up a ‘company union’?

          1. Yeah, the company can do that. But then the employees would simply form an actual union and refuse to recognize the company union’s legitimacy (even if they’re forced to pay dues to it). Many battles in the labor wars were because the company was trying to force a company union on unwilling employees.

            1. Possibly the employees might do so, but I was an employee in a very large company in the midwest in my youth which had a company union.
              When the IB (of whatever) posted organizers at the entrance, there was a garbage can just behind them for the flyers they handed out.
              Why do you presume the union would be favored? They’re certainly not now, except for the pub-sec trough-feeders?

      2. I was just thinking that, under libertarian philosophy, shouldn’t workers and employers be able to sign such contracts? But this clears it up.

    2. …and the black heart of the Progressive movement as well.

    3. Well, Walker also supports the ethanol mandate, so my enthusiasm for this is somewhat tempered.

  2. Ira Stroll purposely trolling Bo?

    1. Trials and Trippelations|3.9.15 @ 4:46PM|#
      “Ira Stroll purposely trolling Bo?”

      Pretty sure that anyone making any statement at all it ‘trolling’ that insufferable twit.

  3. One threatening letter to Wisconsin governor Scott Walker promised to attack his wife and “gut her like a deer.” Another talked about killing his sons: “I already follow them when they went to school.”

    Isn’t this pretty much an SJW-style “some nut on the internet sent me a nasty tweet, therefore all my opponents are thugs and I’m brave to stand up to them” claim?

    1. Yeah, it doesn’t say anything substantive about the issue, Walker, or his opponents. Now, if they actually did any of those things…

    2. Other than these messages were sent in support of a movement known for its ongoing use of violence to achieve its ends, yes, there are similarities.

    3. It wasn’t just some nut on the Internet sending a nasty tweet.

      The teachers went full thug on him for threatening their little racket, laying siege in various places to scare the shit out of the guy.

      I’ve observed some scary shit involving the USWA (they ran a friend of mine off the road when he was leaving the AK Mansfield Plant during the lockout; one guy followed me around slapping a wrench meaningfully into his hand while I walked through a warehouse full of steel coils after I documented about $20,000 weekly incentive fraud taking place in one of the mills).

      The SJW’s deal with tweets by dorks; the people who cross unions get their pets killed and cars shot up by snipers.

      American unions are, in my experience, horrible institutions run by very evil people who encourage the little brownshirt wannabees that join up to engage in thuggish and murderous behavior.

      1. A friend’s father, many years ago, challenged his union leader in an election. A rack of full beer kegs fell and crushed him to death “accidently.” Foul play was never proven, but the family maintains to this day that someone tipped the rack on purpose.

        1. That’s…fucked up.

      2. What is “weekly incentive fraud” and how does it work?

        1. To encourage productivity, workers were paid a bonus for each foot of steel coil run through an ancillary mill.

          Since steel intended to become the door of a Camry had to be run through the mill at a much lower speed than steel intended to become the wall of a 55 gallon drum, each grade and alloy of steel had it’s own per ton rate.

          The pay system was set up so the foreman reported the grade and quantity of steel run through the mill.

          One day an industrial engineer working on qa issues called my boss and asked how we could have run 3,000 feet of toyota steel per hour (400 fpm was the max speed for that product), and my boss asked me to find out what was happening. I wrote some code to reconcile the different production reports and uncovered widespread fraud to boost their incentive pay.

          Every week, those assholes were ripping us off by $20,000 in undeserved extra incentive pay.

          1. Every week, those assholes were ripping us off by $20,000 in undeserved extra incentive pay.

            But I’ll bet they still were making less than the CEO! They had to be fraudulent because of income inequality!


    4. A family friend was an independent trucker back in the 70’s/80’s. The property and threats of violence against him were quite real.

    5. Yes, because unions don’t have a history of violence and are just a bunch of fat nerds who only post on the internet

  4. The Associated Press reports that another Republican presidential candidate, Senator Ted Cruz of Texas, is preparing to release a book modeled on John F. Kennedy’s Profiles in Courage.

    So Ted Cruz is having a book ghost-written for him?

  5. Let’s stipulate up front that The New Yorker hasn’t been worth a bucket of warm spit since the death of Harold Ross.

  6. Government coercion is OK if it’s the right team’s ox getting gored. Why does organized labor, which is on life support in this country, have “excesses,” but no such thing can ever be said about corporations?

    1. Oh Tony, Tony, Tony.

      I know reading comprehension isn’t your strong suit, so rather than assuming that you are being a mendacious fuck, I’ll give you a remedial lesson.

      Let me google it for you: corporatism

      You’re welcome!

      1. …”so rather than assuming that you are being a mendacious fuck”…

        You’re entirely too kind; he is a mendacious fuck.

    2. Man, you’re an idiot.

    3. Come here and sit on daddy’s lap. Give me some sweet herpy-derpy-derpity-doo you’re spreading all over the place.

    4. There’s so much said and written against corporatism, and for individual freedom it’s not even funny.

      Are you really that dense? Why not pick up “The Bastiat collection” (which includes the law) by Claude Frederic Bastiat. Hell, I’ll lend you my copy if you want.

  7. One threatening letter to Wisconsin governor Scott Walker promised to attack his wife and “gut her like a deer.”

    1. Beaten by Stormy. That’s gotta sting.

  8. Does anyone know why in photos Scott Walker always looks like someone just poked him in the left eye?

    1. That’s because he never graduated from college.

    2. I do not know, but it augurs ill for his performance in live debate against Hillary. I’m going to vote for someone with much more bilateral symmetry in his face.

      You think I’m joking?

  9. The New Yorker: “let’s stipulate up front that Scott Walker, the governor of Wisconsin, is an odious politician whose ascension to the Presidency would be a disaster.”

    That was a link to a blurb with a link to the New Yorker article. Here ya go.…

    Killer photo. Walker is actually a gay odious Wizard of Oz. You’ll see several billboards on Sunset Blvd in West Hollywood (just drove that way this morning) that are advertising something or other, and they look just like that (to my untrained eyes).

    1. The need to stipulate that up front because they can’t actually argue the point.

  10. I’m not a Soctt Walker fan nerd but he embarrassed the public sector unions and the Democratic Party on two separate occaissions. That’s why they hate him so much. They sent in the big guns and they still couldn;t get the job done.

    1. So did Chris Christie. But as we discovered there, it takes more than just being a jerk to Democrats to make someone a good leadership choice.

      1. Walker is doing much better than Christie in many ways, from what I can see.

        1. To be fair to Christie, New Jersey starts farther down the throat of Liberal Statist Idiocy. He did well in the beginning, and the way the Media kept trying to get blood out of the stone of Bridgegate speaks well for him. Still rather have Walker.

  11. “promised to attack his wife and “gut her like a deer.”


    Civil discourse?

    /said in Costanza’s ‘menage a trois’ tone.

  12. Do you know what would be braver? Just getting government out of employer-labor contractual relations, period.

    1. One step at a friggin’ time, man. The Statist Twits have had more than a Century to get this far. It ain’t going back in one election cycle. Or even one decade.

  13. what are the effects on professional nursing unions? number of patients/RN limits were written by unions due to historical back injury in a profession that requires fast thinking and heavy lifting. nursing unions are responsible for breaking minimum wage limit for a extremely challenging profession. it’s not courageous to conflict with RN’s, its foolish.

  14. RN unions set patients per nurse limits secondary to back injuries. professional nursing requires fact thinking, safe medicine delivery and heavy lifting. what effect does the governor’s stance have on nurse safety and patient safety?

  15. RN unions set number of patients/nurse limits. this makes for safer patient care and less nursing injury, especially lumbar. what effect does Mr Walker have on hospital nursing unions?

    1. what effect does Mr Walker have on hospital nursing unions?

      Why don’t you tell us?

      When you find if Walker’s reforms of public sector unions actually impacts nurses feel free to tell us how exactly that will have an impact nurse/patient ratio.

      1. Looks like the smell attracted both of us.

    2. cynicalretiree|3.9.15 @ 11:16PM|#
      “RN unions set number of patients/nurse limits. this makes for safer patient care and less nursing injury, especially lumbar. what effect does Mr Walker have on hospital nursing unions?”

      Uh, let’s cut through the crap and see what you really propose.
      Are you suggesting that the nurses are the source to define the extent of their efforts? Is there some reason a functioning market couldn’t do better?

    3. You must be in California, you dolt.

      The RN’s lobbied for more RN’s and less nurses aides, you know the husky young lads that are capable of helping RN’s moving patients so they don’t tweak their backs.

      You are an idiot if you think it was about anything related to patient care…it’s about more union RNs.

    4. My wife, an LPN, would love to thank the RN union for completely fucking her out of a living in some states. Because of their lobbying they have managed to make it near impossible for LPNs to obtain employment anymore. As mentioned by MLP they are also trying to screw nurses aides as well. They think it requires a RN to change a bedpan.

  16. Where is Walkers courage on Prohibition? On Nixon’s race war?

    “Look, we understood we couldn’t make it illegal to be young or poor or black in the United States, but we could criminalize their common pleasure. We understood that drugs were not the health problem we were making them out to be, but it was such a perfect issue…that we couldn’t resist it.” – John Ehrlichman, White House counsel to President Nixon on the rationale of the War on Drugs.

    “[Nixon] emphasized that you have to face the fact that the whole problem is really the blacks” Haldeman, his Chief of Staff wrote, “The key is to devise a system that recognizes this while not appearing to.”

    1. One freaking battle at a time. We can have a candidate who knows how to fight thecriminal organisations known as Unions. To date I have not heard of a main party candidate who is willing to ashcan the drug war, much though it deserves it.

  17. Why doesn’t Reason track, and report on, the evil, anti-freedom machinations of the so-called “right-to-life” movement? The drive to insert big government into doctors’ offices and into female citizens’ reproductive organs is as anti-libertarian as the organized labor movement and the gun-control movement.

    1. Since this is your hobby horse you proggy fuck we will let you continue this stupidity. There are libertarian arguments for both sides of the abortion issue and only complete asshats like you and Hihn can’t see that.

      1. Lions and Tigers and FUQ oh my!!

    2. At least the Pro-Life people are not risking the lives of millions of young brown women in barely regulated ‘clinics’ like the abbatoir run by Kermit Gossnell because they don’t like little brown babies, but are scared of flat out calling for Eugenics.

      See, two can play the “take the worst case and pretend it’s the norm” game. Please go troll in a thread that at least has SOMETHING to do with abortion.

  18. Actually, the truly brave legislator is in Michigan, and it is State Rep. Gary Glenn. He has introduced legislation to extend Right To Work to police and firefighters who were exempt from the law when it went into effect. We’ll see how much support he gets on this from his so called “conservative” colleagues…..

  19. The magnetic ball cube using the mutual attraction between magnetic poles can be freely combined into infinite geometry. As long as your imagination, you will create a variety of wonderful shapes and patterns.

  20. I worked in several factories while going to college and never was able to jump the void between the factory floors and the college classroom.

    If the factory jobs I had while in school were still available today, there would be thousands standing in line to get them including college graduates. Free trade economics is more about divorcing investments from production. Production is moved anywhere in the world for the sake of cheaper labor costs and more profits for investors. The value of workers and labor is degraded with this representing trillions of dollars in value lost forever. On top of that the trade deficit which has broken records for many years also represents trillions of even more dollars lost forever. The same may apply to the trillions borrowed from future generations when free trade economics failed in 2008 and President Obama had to rescue the situation.

    Production workers unions are virtually gone. Still anti labor groups hammer unions that no longer exist. Yes, unions were sometimes arrogant and even were used my major corporations as a way to put out smaller competitors. The foreman were the real heroes of our time. They had to balance out the demands of management and the dignity of workers all their lives.

    See Is Free Trade a Structural Sin at and Are You a Gladiator in the Global Economic Arena at

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