The governor has a rough week

As far as accomplishing his political objectives, Gov. Scott Walker has had a sweet run of it since taking office in January, bolstered by the Fitzgerald boys ruling the Legislature and a functional majority on the Supreme Court.

From Walker’s perspective, he has had more good weeks than bad of late

This past week, however, did not go as pleasantly or as smoothly as he would have liked.

It began when Walker traveled to the Gateway Technical College in Racine on Tuesday to partake in the college’s centennial celebration.

Keep in mind that this governor has slashed the state’s funding for education and revoked the collective bargaining rights of teachers.

I don’t know what the Walker team or the college administration expected when they booked him speak at the Gateway event, but they certainly should not have anticipated a marching band and warm embraces.

"It’s insulting to all of the students, staff and businesses who depend on technical colleges to have someone who just slashed our funding by 30 percent," Michael Rosen, a state board member with the Wisconsin Technical College System, told the Racine Journal Times. "He can’t be seriously attending this celebration.”
Rosen was among 400 people attending the event. More than half of the attendees, however, came to jeer Walker, rather than celebrate the centennial.

Walker tried to speak at the ceremony, but even with an amplified sound system, he could barely be heard above the crowd’s chants of “recall Walker” and “Shame!”

As the jeers grew louder, Walker continued to speak, though many in the crowd turned away.
The entire uncomfortable incident was captured in video here.

On Wednesday, the results of the latest Badger Poll were released, showing that 55 percent of Wisconsin residents are dissatisfied with the way things are going in the state. Furthermore, 59 percent do not approve of the way Walker is handling his job as governor and 60 percent disapprove of the way the State Legislature is handling its job. A full 78 percent support the recall option in the state.

Walker’s week took another bad turn Wednesday night when he was among about 1,000 travelers stranded at the Denver International Airport after a hail storm delayed flights departing from the Mile High City.
On his Twitter feed Thursday morning, Walker wrote, “Headed 2 bi-partisan Nat Gov’s Assn meetings. Got stuck in Denver airport & slept on the floor (did get a pillow & blanket).”

In another Tweet, Walker wrote, “We slept on the floor in a conference room (security recommended it) on the A concourse. Airport staff grabbed us a blanket and small pillow.”

Later Thursday morning, Walker added, “I’ve been in this same suit for the past 28 hours but we are about to depart for Salt Lake City, so I’m happy. The staff here was … outstanding.”

Walker, a Republican, apparently opted not to seek more comfortable shelter from Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper, a Democrat.

However, perhaps the most troubling event of the week for the governor came with Thursday’s news that new applications for unemployment benefits fell nationally last week to the lowest level in three months, but rose in Wisconsin. The initial claims for unemployment in Wisconsin increased to 13,547, up from 11,973 in the previous week.

Steve Jagler is executive editor of BizTimes Milwaukee.

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