This one is going to be difficult. I don’t hide the fact that I’m liberal, nor do I pretend to like my state’s governor. In fact, during the lead-up to the 2012 recall election, I was campaigning from Lithuania as best I could. But I also believe that gathering evidence that only reaffirms my political beliefs is not going to help move my state forward. So with no little amount of trepidation, I picked up Scott Walker’s book from the library (because as fair as I try to be, no way was I going to buy it).
It’s really not so bad, and maybe I should thank his ghost-writer for that, former speech writer for George W., Marc Thiessen. The book humanizes Walker and actually made me consider the 2011 collective bargaining fiasco in a different light, with a little more sympathy for his side. There is, of course, plenty of bias – I know the facts have been spun by both sides, so I can’t only blame Walker for doing it.
My problem comes when he suggests the massive protests in Madison were organized by the “union bosses.” The distress I saw on the faces of the educators I knew – college professors or public middle school teachers – said clearly that they weren’t being directed by any union thugs. This was a real battle against ordinary people, not unions. Whether the battle was fair is up to your politics. The title itself, Unintimidated, is a little silly to me. The book practically screams, “Those big mean unions tried to scare us!” Who was he afraid of? The college students or the public school teachers? I don’t doubt that he got death threats, but he had the money and manpower to protect himself.
I could go on ad nauseam, but I’m not here to talk about politics. The point is, the book is a good summary of Wisconsin’s battle regarding collective bargaining and public employee benefits, albeit with plenty of conservative spin.
It’s not terrible. It gave me some sympathy for a man I really, really dislike, while reinforcing the fact that I will do whatever I can to make sure he is not re-elected in November. The book could serve as an introduction to non-Wisconsinites into the collective bargaining debate that has spread across the country.
Unintimidated: A Governor’s Story and a Nation’s Challenge is available now from Sentinel.