Scott Walker was for H.R. 2400 before he was against it

Surely you noticed the discussion this week over Scott Walker’s negative campaign tactic against Mark Neumann. Walker’s tossed out a mailer and started a television campaign claiming Neumann is just like Nancy Pelosi. The proof, it is said, is they both voted “Aye” on H.R. 2400, a transportation bill.

Well, Scott Walker was a Wisconsin Assembly member from Wauwatosa when that vote took place. He was so happy about H.R. 2400 that he wrote a letter to the editor of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. (Click the image to make it larger.)

So there you go. H.R. 2400 gave us the Marquette interchange instead of light rail. It let gas tax be protected for transportation.

And Scott Walker thought it all a great idea, until he didn’t. Once again Scott Walker has flip flopped his opinion based on Mark Neumann’s lead.


  1. Jonas Wilkerson says:

    I called all my insider Republican friends this afternoon to tell them about the latest Walker flip-flop. They are not happy. No wonder Neumann is dancing in the streets.

  2. I think this is a function of Walker’s media group being so detached. Walker isn’t smart enough to anticipate stuff like this. It’s showing.

  3. Jonas. Today I went to a Neumann campaign stop in my town. They were dancing. Actually brought a nifty little polka band with them.

    The general mood was very positive, down-right happy. Doesn’t seem like a campaign on a downward trend to me. Wonder what a campaign stop with Walker is like these days…..

  4. Well I think you can find out in the next few days. I hear he’s on a brown bag tour.

  5. Jonas Wilkerson says:

    Mark Neumann has my vote. My sense is that Mark’s campaign may have reached “critical mass” sometime in the last 72 hours. I had been hoping it would have happened 10-15 days ago… but if things continue to go well for Neumann and not so good for Scott Walker, then Neumann wins next Tuesday. It seems that rank and file Republicans are now having second thoughts about Walker.

    If Walker does lose next Tuesday, it will be interesting to see where the fingers point – and who will be blammed. I can think of a few names already. Cindy, thanks for your blog… it’s been enjoyable to visit and read.

  6. Well thanks for coming back, Jonas.

    I chose Neumann all by myself. Win or lose, I’m glad to have the chance to vote for him. It’s been fun sharing what I’ve learned.

  7. At least this time it took him longer than 24 hours.

  8. I’m not sure what the problem is. Walker never supported the bill. The bill was already passed and the money was already allocated. Walker merely said that modification that Thompson made was better than it was before. Do I have this wrong?

  9. Yes, Aaron, as usual, you do have it wrong.

    Besides, TOMMY!! was never in Congress, so he couldn’t modify it, could he?

  10. It’s my understanding the language articulating spending was in the bill. That seems to be different from your understanding that Thompson had discretion over the spending.

  11. John Sawyer says:

    Did you see Neumann’s response ad? It’s pure gold.

    It’s even better if you watch Walker’s self-destruction ad first.

  12. I do find it amazing that all this arguing goes on, and everyone loves to slam the opposition, yet no one wants to read the record, nor what’s published.

    Much to my chagrin, Aaron actually has this one right. Walker’s letter, was in support of the governor, who had lobbied the WI congressional members to make sure the bill dropped the requirement that the $241 million be dedicated to light rail, in favor of other transportation uses. Walker was not in favor of the bill (or so he says after the fact – something Neumann’s campaign rightly notes) but rather the change in the wording of the funding.

  13. Ah, but BD, the change happened on the congressional level, not on the state level, so credit goes to Neumann for voting for the altered bill.

  14. Bdad, I guess I don’t understand how that’s different than my understanding the language was articulated in the bill.

    Thompson lobbied for the change, but the change would not have been effective had the bill not passed. The bill became law June 9, 1998, and this letter of Walker’s was published June 15, 1998.

    But you’re saying this letter was not in support of H.R. 2400?

  15. I think you are all missing the point of how normal (and I don’t mean you all) voters think. Legislative nuances are beyond me, but I’m willing to point out the obvious thinking on this for the typical Wisconsin voter.

    We don’t like negative advertising.

    Walker’s unfavorables being higher than Neumann’s may provide information that arguing legislative points do not. Voters think Walker is more negative than Neumann.

    It may be as simple as that. I think most people who vote go with a ‘feeling’ of who they will like as guv, and punch the card for the most memorable positive guy. That is Neumann, hands down.

    The argument about the vote on this bill escapes the interest of most voters, and the take-away for most is that Walker is aggressively attacking his opponent.

    I think Walker went the wrong way on this approach. Neumann comes out ahead despite all the attacks.

  16. Cindy, my late night comment wasn’t meant for you but for our dueling partisan bloggers. Thompson made no changes to the bill (wasn’t in Congress) and Walker’s letter was not in support of the bill. Thompson lobbied heavily to drop the light rail requirement of the bill (foregone conclusion it would be passing) and took some big heat for doing so. Walker and several other Republican legislators wrote letters in support of the governor’s decision, not in support of the bill.

  17. BrkfldDad says:
  18. I suppose Walker thinks that’s ok since it’s what he wanted in the first place.

    He’ll be elected, and then he’ll be grossly ineffective and constantly whine it’s someone else’s fault. It’s too bad. We could have used real leadership about now.

  19. Wilson828 says:

    are we to have a fresh post on the rail initiative this morning to discuss?

  20. Yep. In a half hour or so. I’m on the phone. 🙂

  21. I hope your new post includes how cheap it will be to run, especially when compared to the economic boon it will bring.

  22. Economic boom? I kind of doubt that.

  23. You’re right. Trains never help companies. Just ask RoJo. Ooops, bad example.

  24. Capper, I’m going to call you on that one. You’re just being cranky.

    Go ahead. Tell me how a multi-million dollar passenger train boondoggle between Chicago and Minneapolis is going to singly create an economic boom in Wisconsin. You can have as many words as you’d like.

  25. First of all, you have to get your facts straight. It will be much more than going from Chicago to Minnesota.

    Second of all, because it is going all around the country, it will be much more used than you want to give it credit for. Even the Hiawatha has had a nice jump in readership.

    Third, it will create jobs to build it, albeit temporary ones, but that is how one primes the economic pump, isn’t it?

    Throughout history, towns and cities have lived and died by the availability of transportation. It still happens today. And since it will be happening, we can either hop on and go with the tide, or we can hop off and drown.

    I don’ t like the way Doyle did it, but the deal does make things even cheaper than the right would have us believe.

  26. My facts are wrong but you get to prove your point in generalities.

    Okey dokey. I’m feeling generous today.

  27. Capper. Part of me does not want to trust your opinion because you choose to live in the state’s largest urban center, and your daily perspective differs greatly from mine.

    So, with my stink-eye gaze your way, I’ll give you a glimpse into why I think this train thing is a bad idea.

    Personally, I would love, love, love quicker, safer access to the larger cities in Wisconsin, and would be in my glory if I could hop a train and mindlessly end up in the Twin Cites for a bit of that vibe. Or head south and have easy access to Chicago and beyond.

    Yah, I’d love that about once or twice a year, AT MOST. And, I am not your typical ruralite. Most out-staters would not be intrigued by travel to the combustive energy of said cities. People choose a city, or the country, or a smaller town for a reason – – – it is where they want to live. You see this in the current economic times; people steadfastly remain in their chosen locale despite the lack of local employment opportunities. I’ve seen it firsthand. I grew up in Michigan, and observe the mindset that is ingrained in staying ‘put’.

    Why should ‘we’, all the taxpayers, support your vision of a supposed economic boom by creating a cross-state rail line that ultimately takes riders out of our state? Realistically, the only viable commuter usage is from the Milwaukee/Madison route, which would primarily consist of high-paid attorneys and/or corporate types doing their business thing. I can’t imagine a regular commuter route by any other industry between those 2 cities.

    From my observations, as a visitor to each city, Milwaukee and Madison could not be more different in their cultural and energy. I don’t see Milwaukeans (how does one spell that with those double ees? I am too lazy to look it up.) caravaning westward to Madison on a regular basis, nor do I ever see the snooty elitist crowd from Madison frequenting Milwaukee hotspots on a weekly basis, in any volume.

    So, who will pay for this minimal usage? Why should I? I don’t choose to live an urban lifestyle, so why should I subsidize an entire train line that is woefully lacking in market demand?

    Lest you think I am a Scott Walker fan, I think his high speed fast lane on the freeway is stupider than stupid, and (a ludicrous attempt at) covert payola for his road-building buds.

    Both ideas stink. They don’t make sense because we have no market demand within the state to frequent those cities, we have no market demand out of state to come to our state, and we (in the rest of the state) cannot finance a dribble of ridership just to create some temporary jobs for a year and half of construction.

    We need to create real jobs in this state and a road and train tracks are not regenerative enough to suck the little money left in Wisconsinites pockets into a fake employment scam.

    If someone could prove a financial ROI model, or income-producing plan for a train interweaving throughout Wisconsin, I’d consider supporting this. Or I’d gather some investors and build the thing myself. Otherwise it feels like one more abuse (I would use a harsher term, but think I may not pass the filter) on the taxpayer.

    The only route I can envision making sense for a high speed (or kinda speedy) rail system in Wisconsin is to run it up the lake and get people to Door County and Green Bay in record time. Those two sites are our only true tourism spots and they line up like dots in a coloring book with the existing Chicago line.

    Capper, I don’t pretend to be ‘factual’ on this, and I haven’t any depth of research. Consider this bumpkin feedback. 🙂

  28. No, it probably won’t benefit you directly. I don’t know how far up you go, but I have the good fortune to live in MKE, but often go to God’s country in central WI, so can see things from both angles.

    But what you are missing is that if we, as a state, stay in the travel/business hub, that will bring in more money to the state. That money will move it’s way up and around. For example, Company A in Milwaukee is able to pick up orders from Buyer B on the west coast. But to fill that order, they need a product from Manufacturer X in Wausau, who in turn hires more people to meet demand.

    So even thought the train doesn’t benefit Wausau directly, it does benefit it.

  29. Capper, And the only way to transact such supposed business improvement is by building the train line? Are you saying it will replace the trucking / transport industry?

    Show me the numbers how that actually works and I may buy an itsy-bitsy part of your premise. Even a ballpark guess on your part would be interesting. If something is a really good business idea, you typically don’t have to ‘sell’ it – people are attracted to it and glom on. This train idea is breaking the key rule of marketing; Attract the customer. There is no attraction in this equation, as far as I can tell. Only flim-flam sales attempts to convince us all it is a great idea for the state.