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Unintimidated: A Governor's Story and a…

Unintimidated: A Governor's Story and a Nation's Challenge

by Scott Walker

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Please note that I borrowed this book from my local library.

Unintimidated by Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker is more about Madison’s sweeping battle over government unions’ collective bargaining privileges than it is about Governor Walker himself, although as any good writer shows us, we see the characters’ positive and negative traits through their actions. Despite the worst the unions threw at him — and nobody could forget the coverage of protestors living in the capitol building — the repeal of collective bargaining gave municipal and county governments the tools to balance their budgets when Wisconsin’s fiscal reforms led to the widespread cutting of trickle-down funds from the state.

However, it’s unclear how the Madison battle would translate directly to the national level, as federal employees don’t have the privilege of collective bargaining. (And nobody believes this book is anything except Governor Walker’s 2016 résumé to U.S. voters, right?) To put it bluntly, should he run for president and be elected, what precisely would he reform to close the federal budget deficit and balance the budget without laying off federal employees or reducing services? The book doesn’t say and the only hint I found was the discussion of reforming welfare so recipients took part in skills training and extended their job hunting to continue receiving benefits. Any reforms further are left open. I don’t doubt he has ideas; it’s just that he hasn’t yet spelled out what those are.

That said, I was a fan of Governor Walker’s before reading his book and I remain a fan upon conclusion, although with some of my notions tempered. His handling of health care (actually health insurance) for Wisconsinites smacks a bit of self-congratulation. Yes, all Wisconsin residents below the poverty line are eligible for Medicaid, but everyone above that level without insurance is pushed onto the Healthcare.gov exchange for federal subsidies. Considering the way the exchange is working out, or not working out, I’m wondering if he’d like to rewrite that particular section of the book. Also note that letting a higher government subsidize those he cannot help directly would not be a winning strategy for a U.S. president.

A relevant point can be found in approval ratings. Governor Walker’s fell to 37%, roughly the same level as the current president’s after the last two months (since the October 1 rollout of Healthcare.gov). Governor Walker’s approval ratings recovered and he won the recall election; however, it remains to be seen how the White House will handle the challenges weighing it down. Of course the president is now term-limited; it’s also true that Governor Walker hasn’t been caught in flaming lies.

Finally, Unintimidated is not a long book; I finished it in two days. It’s written in a clear, simple style with lots of repetition of major points and phrases (so readers won’t forget them). Told thematically rather than strictly chronologically, it opens with the protestors overrunning the Madison capital building on March 9, 2011, then bounces back to Governor Walker’s time as a county executive from 2002 to 2010, showing his earlier unhappy interactions with unions before proceeding with the collective bargaining battle. It’s a good choice; read the opening chapter on Amazon. It’s much more effective than books that start, “I was born…”

Five strong stars. ( )
  GunnarGrey | Dec 11, 2013 |
No big surprises...exactly how it happened.
I was glad that someone asked the Governor to document his account of how Act 10, and the chaos that ensued, went down. Not pulling any punches by pointing out that the legislature acted sooner than he wanted and that the 'fleeing fourteen' did not negotiate in good faith.
Walker's view of public reaction was spot on.
Wish more people in politics, Republican and Democrat, would do what they say and find ways to get things done. ( )
1 vote gopfolk | Nov 26, 2013 |
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A controversial governor recounts his fight to reform his state and issues a call to action for the whole country. In 2010, Scott Walker was elected governor of Wisconsin with a mandate to improve its economy and restore fiscal responsibility. With the state facing a $3.6 billion budget deficit, he proposed a series of reforms to limit the collective bargaining power of public employee unions, which was costing taxpayers billions in pension and health care costs. The reaction was swift and severe. Angry protesters gathered outside the capitol, teacher unions accused him of sabotaging education, and the media descended on Wisconsin to make it a national controversy. Soon, liberals nationwide were denouncing Governor Walker. He stood his ground despite relentless political and personal attacks with the help of supporters across the country who hailed him for having the courage to drive real change. In June 2012, he won a special recall election with a higher share of the vote than he had for his original election, becoming the first governor in the country to survive a recall election. In this book, Governor Walker shows how his commitment to limited but effective government paid off. During his tenure Wisconsin has saved more than $1 billion, property taxes have gone down for the first time in twelve years, and the deficit was turned into a surplus. He also shows what his experiences can teach defenders of liberty across the country about standing up to the special interests that favor the status quo"--… (more)

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