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Republican Gov. Scott Walker might be too busy pre-presidenting to notice the disaster he's been as union-busting boss of the great state of Wisconsin, but a new Marquette University poll suggests that a growing number of likely voters in the state are on to him. Scotty is now running neck-and-neck with his Democratic challenger, former state commerce secretary and Trek Bicycle executive Mary Burke, among those who say they're most likely to show up to the polls in November.


The news comes as Walker continues his quest to lose his race for re-election on the way to his unsuccessful run in the 2016 GOP presidential primary. With Burke shamelessly pandering to the rabble by suggesting the minimum wage might not be enough to live on, Walker has taken a different approach to the issue -- one that's sure to appeal to the reddest, most inflamed outgrowths of the national Republican body politic. Not only is Wisconsin's minimum wage just fine at $7.25, according to Walker, there's no reason for workers to be guaranteed a minimum wage at all.

During an hour-long meeting with the editorial board of the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel, Walker confessed that while he probably can't repeal the minimum wage, "I don't think it serves a purpose." He wants to give people "skill sets" to get jobs that pay more, so what's even the point of the minimum wage anyway? Besides, he flipped burgers in college, so something something, no minimum wage necessary. Contrary to Walker's implication that only kids get paid minimum wages, and they don't need money anyway, the majority of the lowest earners in the economy are not teenagers and college students, but rather, working adults who are struggling to survive and support families on wages that have not kept pace with inflation. But meh. Details.

The idea of abolishing the minimum wage has gained popularity of late among national Republicans, so Walker's attempt to heave himself on the anti-worker bandwagon is hardly a shock. Given the electoral landscape as the governor's race enters the home stretch, however, we wonder if he's really thought this through.

The U.S. Supreme Court just put the kibosh on his plan to exclude up to 300,000 eligible voters without photo IDs from the polls -- voters who disproportionately fall at the lower end of the economic spectrum and are the most likely to be earning the legal minimum. It is possible that these voters, already predisposed to support Democrats, might not appreciate having the governor roll his eyes at them! Could those voters he was trying to keep away from the polls, and who he now says don't even deserve their minimum wage, be not so inclined to vote for him on Election Day? We're thinking yes. Walker, on the other hand, doesn't seem to be thinking at all.

Aside from his dismissal of the need for a minimum wage, his time with the Journal-Sentinel's editorial board was a study in weaselry and evasion on his abortion rights record. He claimed he'd campaigned as a pro-lifer, so no one should be surprised at his push for measures like mandatory pre-abortion ultrasounds, but he refused to say whether he'd support a pro-life group's renewed efforts to pass a ban on abortions after 20 weeks, even after the editors pointed out he'd co-sponsored a bill to do exactly that as a state legislator. And what about that personhood measure he'd co-sponsored that would ban abortions for victims of rape and incest and the sale of "abortifacient" contraceptives?

Walker informed the editors that while they were asking "interesting questions," those questions had nothing to do with what he was hearing from REAL voters on the campaign trail, so really, the editors should stop wasting their time asking about that stuff. REAL voters don't care about issues like the minimum wage and reproductive freedom. They care about ensuring that business owners are free to pay workers as little as they like and that anti-abortion extremists can ban birth-control pills. Duh, stupid editors who don't know anything at all about Wisconsin.

Walker got elected as an economic and fiscal fixer, he says, so voters are not focused on these hot-button social issues. Even by that standard, though, he's been a dismal failure. He hasn't delivered even half of the 250,000 jobs he promised for his first term, and his irresponsible mismanagement of the state's finances has left Wisconsin with a devastating budget shortfall of nearly $2 billion.

No wonder Walker has lost his lead in the polls. Let's give Mary Burke some money and fire Walker for good.

[ ThinkProgress / Marquette University / Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel / Image via Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel video ]

 You can follow Beth on Twitter. Some of her best friends are Wisconsinites.

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Image: Marriott Hotels

Great GOP wordsmith Frank Luntz, the guy who gave us the "death tax" and who urged the George W. Bush administration to talk about "climate change" since it was less politically motivating than "global warming," did some more of his characteristic word magic today! While staying at the Hotel Imperial in Vienna, Austria, Luntz offered this cautionary tale about the evils of socialism, as illustrated by the shoddy conditions in a 5-star luxury hotel owned by Dubai's "Al Habtoor" conglomerate and operated by Marriott:

Talk about your grim hellholes! Apparently, there's only one elevator in the entire building, and it's been broken for three days, proving that European-style socialism is a failure that should never be imported to the USA, where -- damn it! -- all buildings work!

As some smartass pointed out, now Luntz may have to take the STAIRS, like a common Bolshevik!

We're still trying to get our heads around how a delay in getting an elevator fixed in a luxury hotel owned by the United Arab Emirati proprietors of Dubai's

  • Habtoor Grand Resort
  • Waldorf Astoria Dubai Palm Jumeirah
  • Habtoor Palace, LXR Hotels & Resorts
  • V Hotel, Curio Collection by Hilton
  • Hilton Dubai Al Habtoor City
  • Metropolitan Hotel Dubai
  • Al Habtoor Polo Resort

as well as

  • Imperial Hotel, a Luxury Collection Hotel, Vienna (Austria)
  • Hilton London Wembley (United Kingdom)
  • Hilton Beirut Habtoor Grand (Lebanon)
  • Hilton Beirut Metropolitan Palace (Lebanon)
  • President Abraham Lincoln Springfield – a DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel (United States)
  • InterContinental Budapest (Hungary)
  • The Ritz-Carlton, Budapest (Hungary)

is an example of the horrors of socialism, but then, we don't earn the big bucks like Luntz does. Austria is among the 14 richest countries in the world, so we're fairly certain it's not a commie hellhole. Then again, there is a very strong social safety net, so maybe people in subsidized housing stole all the elevator parts. Or perhaps the elevator would have been fixed sooner if only Austria didn't have such strong unions. It's a mystery.

Or maybe it's that NATIONAL socialism that's the problem, seeing as it has socialism RIGHT IN THE NAME!

Adolf Hitler, once a day labourer outside the Hotel Imperial Vienna, returned as the Führer and "delivered a speech to a rapturous crowd from [the hotel] suite's balcony, on 14 March 1938", according to www.famoushotels.org.

We suppose it's worth noting that the Imperial is decidedly not owned or operated by the Austrian government, where a far-Right coalition has recently imploded -- although maybe Luntz is confused about that, since official state guests are traditionally housed there. In any case, the elevator's busted, it's in Europe, Europe is socialist, and Frank Luntz is homesick for America, where no elevator ever goes unrepaired for an entire weekend. It simply has never happened because of our efficient free market!

Still, Luntz's tweet inspired some valuable reflections on how economic theory shapes the reality of everyday life. This is the kind of Austrian economics we can support.



In conclusion, capitalism always allocates resources efficiently and fairly, although that still doesn't explain why Frank Luntz has a job. And now it would be your DOKTOR ZOOM'S BIRTHDAY PARTY OPEN THREAD, if only the socialists would fix the elevator, the end.

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