With the state of Wisconsin mired in one of the worst financial slumps in recent memory, Governor-elect Scott Walker finally got his wish Thursday when it came to killing more jobs.The Obama administration announced that it would pull the plug on the $810 million in stimulus money it had given to the state, which was slated for a high-speed rail project.
Walker had said throughout his campaign that he would kill the project all along, calling the expenditure a “boondoggle.” Outgoing Gov. Jim Doyle (a.k.a. Pussy out Galore) is sitting this one out, wringing his hands instead of pushing the whole thing through.
Milwaukee was getting a manufacturing plant that would build train engines and such.Now, that’s in jeopardy.Walker also managed to screw over Minnesota and Illinois in the process. That’s fine in football, but not so good in politics. He went so far as to call this a “victory” (with every media outlet using quotes around the word “victory.” See, I did it again…).
While this whole thing pisses me off, here’s the one thing that I wish could change:
Don’t take back the money.
Make Walker give it back.
Get a band gazebo built outside of the then-closed-down factory. Have the UW band play “On Wisconsin” and have balloons for the kids. Get a giant fucking cardboard check. Hand the thing off to him with a whole shit load of fanfare.
Make him go on TV later in the day or the week or the month or whatever and have about 50 cameras all going live all around him and make him cut the feds a check back. Get this on video so we can run it again and again and again like TNT reruns the Shawshank Redemption and commercials for “Leverage.”
Since it’s my FD obligation to compare everything to a sporting event, here’s what I see in my mind’s eye: Eli Manning.
In 2004, the San Diego Chargers had the first pick in the draft. Manning was going to be the first pick. Problem: he whined and said he’d rather go to law school than play for the Chargers. He told them not to draft him. He made a whole thing about it.
Leading up to the draft, everyone assumed the Chargers would trade the pick for 10 cents on the dollar because, well, Manning said he didn’t want to play there and what’s the point of picking him if he won’t play? After all, he’s the player, right?
GM A.J. Smith became my hero that day. If he screws up the franchise for the next 990 years, he’s still my hero for this one reason: He said, “Fuck that. We’re taking him.”
Commissioner Paul Tagliabue got up to the podium and announced the pick. Everyone booed. Manning looked like a kid getting called to the principal’s office. The commish handed him the Number 1 Chargers jersey for him to pose with. Manning held it in front of him like it was coated in toxic waste.
The photo is what always comes back to me. That grimacing “I’m trying to smile after I just got kicked in the balls” look on that douchebag’s face. The look of the commissioner that said, “Holy shit, did that take balls.” Sure, they traded him to the Giants later that day, but the let him hang in the breeze for a while and managed to extract two all-pro caliber players out of New York as well as a pretty decent QB.
There are probably 1,012 good, logical, sound reasons why Obama did what he did. It probably had something do with budgets and money and all of the logical things you’re supposed to be worried about as a respectable adult. He was probably figuring, “You don’t want this? Fine. I’ll give it to Jimmy, who does.” However, sometimes a war of attrition is worth winning. This seemed to be one of those times to me.
If you want to gain any kind of respect in any kind of game, you’ve got to be willing to stand up and say, “Not this time.” Forcing people to come through on their empty promises in a very public and demeaning way is one good way to do that.