MADISON – Scott Walker said the state would ink a $3 billion contract this week with Asian tech giant Foxconn Technology Group, even as he downplayed the deal and pointed to other jobs being created through his administration.
As Walker launches his bid for a third term and as the polling on the Foxconn project has been lackluster so far, the governor has taken a different tone on the bid to bring a flat-screen plant to Racine County.
After spending months touting the up to 13,000 jobs at the proposed plant, the GOP governor didn’t mention Foxconn at his 2018 re-election kickoff on Sunday. He kept his distance again on Monday when conservative talk radio host Jerry Bader asked Walker about Sunday’s omission.
“Those 13,000 jobs are no more important than the 13 jobs that we helped the small business (create) in Green Bay or Superior or La Crosse,” Walker told Bader, who is based in Green Bay. “Whether it’s 13 jobs, 130 jobs, 1,300 jobs or 13,000 jobs, they’re all important to us”….
Oh dearie me: Walker flacked those Foxconn job projections incessantly, and now he won’t even mention the deal in his re-election announcement.
A few simple questions:
1. Did Gov. Walker ever truly believe in the 13,000 jobs figure? If he did, why did he do so? If he didn’t, why did he allow the number to be offered without rebuke or correction?
2. If Gov. Walker no longer believes in the 13,000 jobs figure (assuming that he once did), then what’s changed his mind?
3. Does Gov. Walker – or any policymaker – really think that 13, 130, 1,300, or 13,000 are implicitly numbers of equal importance?
If he thinks any number is important, why not stop at 13 jobs created for the 3 billion investment, and call it a day?
4. The obvious question for JS reporter Jason Stein: does Walker downplay Foxconn only because it’s polling poorly? (“A survey last month from the Democratic firm Public Policy Polling found 34% of registered voters statewide supported the deal and 41% opposed it, with 26% undecided.”) Alternatively, is he also downplaying the deal because he knows – at least now – that it’s not going to live to his own hype?
If the problem is that the deal was always over-talked, what does that say about the competency or honesty of Wisconsin’s governor?
5. Finally, here in Whitewater, we’ve had more than one man push WEDC projects, one after another, for years. So faithfully have some offered apologetics for WEDC and other publicly-funded business deals that Whitewater even has a WEDC 2012 Main Street Best Business Citizen recipient.
Gentlemen, gentlemen: WEDC and Gov. Walker need you now. Will you not help them calculate prospective employees for Foxconn, and afterward help them distinguish between amounts of 13, 130, 1,300, or 13,000?
I’m sure they’d be so very grateful for your assistance.