Gov. Scott Walker (R-WI) recently defended his union busting efforts, claiming that no one should be surprised because it’s what he campaigned on (Walker actually didn’t campaign on busting unions). Walker’s defenders on the right such as Rush Limbaugh and Newt Gingrich, have picked up on this meme. “He’s actually doing what he campaigned on,” Gingrich said.
Now the false talking point has made its way up the usual right-wing echo chamber chain to Fox News’ “straight news” anchor Chris Wallace. Yesterday on Fox News Sunday’s online discussion “Panel Plus,” Juan Williams noted that a majority of Americans support the public unions’ right to collectively bargain “when it comes to the governor in his bullying way is trying to take away their negotiating rights.” But Wallace interrupted:
WALLACE: Why is it a bullying way? … The question is, he ran on this issue, he was elected, you got a Republican majority. I mean, you know, with Barack Obama you kept saying elections have consequences, why is it bullying to say, “I was elected, I want to enact my agenda”? [...]
WILLIAMS: Well no but this is bullying when you won’t even sit down and negotiate and talk with people talk with the Democrats –
WALLACE: Aren’t the Democrats over there in Illinois?
WILLIAMS: Because they had to flee because this guy was just going to ram it through. But let me just say, it’s that kind of tactic –
WALLACE: Which they never did on health care.
Watch it (starting at 2:50):
Politifact Wisconsin took a look at this talking point last week and determined that it’s not true:
But Walker, who offered many specific proposals during the campaign, did not go public with even the bare-bones of his multi-faceted plans to sharply curb collective bargaining rights. He could not point to any statements where he did. We could find none either.
While Walker often talked about employees paying more for pensions and health care, in his budget-repair bill he connected it to collective bargaining changes that were far different from his campaign rhetoric in terms of how far his plan goes and the way it would be accomplished. We rate his statement False.
And contrary to Wallace’s suggestion, President Obama actually did campaign on reforming the health care system and he didn’t get everything that he originally wanted, including a public option.