LETTER: Walker’s type not needed hereTo the Telegram: You had it right if you saw a resemblance between Scott Walker and Charlie Chaplin in “The Great Dictator.”
To the Telegram:
You had it right if you saw a resemblance between Scott Walker and Charlie Chaplin in “The Great Dictator.”
Recently, John Dean, former counsel to Richard Nixon, was quoted as saying “There is little doubt in my mind that Scott Walker is a classic authoritarian.” (Capital Times, April 16). He went on to say, “If I lived in Wisconsin, I would be uncomfortable with this man, whom I find more Nixonian than even Richard Nixon himself.”
Now, 40 years after Watergate, Dean has become a serious critic of the modern Republican Party, claiming that it has drifted dangerously into the realm of authoritarianism. He believes it no longer represents legitimate conservative principles and would be unrecognizable to true conservatives like Barry Goldwater. Former Sen. Russ Feingold praised Dean as a patriot.
After WWII, the authoritarian personality was the subject of extensive research as the world tried to make sense of Hitler and the Holocaust. In 1950, psychologists at University of California Berkeley developed the F Scale, which purported to measure fascist tendencies. Subsequent research has confirmed the link between authoritarian personalities and right-wing ideology (The Authoritarian Specter, 1996). The basic concept refers to a person who is anti-democratic, amoral, power hungry and has little concern with equality; one who is careful not to offend superiors but is contemptuous and even brutal in dealing with those he considers inferior. Let’s take a look at how Scott Walker stacks up:
His Dishonesty: He has an atrocious record. The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel’s Politifact found 31 of his statements ranged from “mostly false” to “pants-on-fire false.” Think of his whopper that he warned us before his election that he would attack the collective bargaining rights of workers. Think of his many close subordinates who are under criminal investigation.
And why has he hired personal criminal defense attorneys?
His servility with superiors: If you have a strong stomach and need a lesson in abject groveling listen to his conversation with the prankster pretending to be billionaire David Koch. And don’t forget how closely his policies have followed the blueprint that ALEC gave to Republican governors for slashing public programs and giving tax breaks to the rich. And then, there’s his signature on the NRA’s pernicious concealed carry law and Castle Doctrine.
His brutality toward the weak: Think of his many attacks on women, gays, minorities, children, students, and seniors. Think of massive cuts in education, K-12 and the UW System. Think of his voter ID law designed to discourage poor and disadvantaged citizens from voting. Think of his cuts to Badger Care. Think of his repeal of the Equal Pay Enforcement Act, which protected working women from wage discrimination.
Clearly, Walker matches the criteria for the authoritarian personality, but what of his followers, are they infected too? Yes, many on the fringe are. Dean states that up to 25 percent of the population might be considered authoritarian followers. These are the clueless ones who listen to hate mongers like Rush Limbaugh and Ted Nugent. In the Islamic world, these are the suicide bombers; in Wisconsin, they join the Tea Party and empower tyrants like Scott Walker.
To stop this authoritarian onslaught vote for Tom Barrett for governor June 5.