BI­PAR­TI­SAN GROUP TO WALKER: VETO BILLS, DON’T STAIN LEGACY

Chicago Sun-Times - - NATION/WORLD - BY SCOTT BAUER As­so­ci­ated Press

MADI­SON, Wis. — A bi­par­ti­san group of po­lit­i­cal fig­ures ap­pealed to Gov. Scott Walker to avoid stain­ing his legacy and be­hav­ing like a sore loser by sign­ing leg­is­la­tion that would weaken the pow­ers of the Demo­crat who de­feated him.

Rather than notch­ing an­other par­ti­san vic­tory in his fi­nal weeks in of­fice, they said, Walker should think big­ger. Think of your re­cently de­ceased fa­ther, they pleaded. Think of for­mer Pres­i­dent Ge­orge H.W. Bush. Think of Christ.

“You can have a long, suc­cess­ful ca­reer ahead,” long­time Repub­li­can and ma­jor GOP donor Shel­don Lubar wrote to Walker in a deeply per­sonal email. “Don’t stain it by this per­sonal, poor-loser ac­tion. Ask your­self, what would my fa­ther say, what would the great­est man who ever lived, Je­sus Christ, say?”

Walker, never one to shy away from a fight, gave no signs Thurs­day of tip­ping his hand. A spokesman said only that he was re­view­ing the bills. He’s been gen­er­ally sup­port­ive of the mea­sures in the past, with­out promis­ing to sign or veto them.

The choice is whether to sat­isfy fel­low Repub­li­cans, who passed the bills over ob­jec­tions from Democrats, or strike them down to let his suc­ces­sor, Tony Evers, take of­fice un­der the same rules in place when Walker was in charge.

Demo­cratic state Sen. Tim Car­pen­ter asked Walker to con­sider the let­ter Bush left for his Demo­cratic suc­ces­sor, Bill Clin­ton, wish­ing him well.

“Gover­nor Walker, PLEASE do the right thing and leave Gover­nor-elect Evers your best wishes for him, his fam­ily and the state of Wis­con­sin,” Car­pen­ter said in a state­ment. “Gover­nor Walker, what do you want your legacy to be?”

Char­lie Sykes, a for­mer con­ser­va­tive talk ra­dio host in Mil­wau­kee, made a sim­i­lar ap­peal men­tion­ing Bush, who died last week.

“Look at the way Ge­orge H.W. Bush is be­ing re­mem­bered and the way that he han­dled his tran­si­tion af­ter his very, very bit­ter de­feat by Bill Clin­ton, the grace by which he handed over power,” Sykes told MSNBC. “I do think Gover­nor Walker needs to re­flect on the kind of legacy he’s go­ing to leave.”

It’s not clear how his po­lit­i­cal prospects would be af­fected by sign­ing the leg­is­la­tion. Walker won three elec­tions pur­su­ing a strongly con­ser­va­tive agenda, and he nearly won re-elec­tion last month de­spite heavy Demo­cratic turnout.

Walker has six days af­ter the bills are de­liv­ered to him to ei­ther sign them into law, al­low them to be­come law with­out his sig­na­ture or veto them. He may also be able to line-item veto por­tions of them, de­pend­ing on how they are drafted and whether they spend money.

The GOP power grab in Wis­con­sin comes as Michi­gan Repub­li­cans vote on tak­ing ac­tion be­fore a Demo­cratic gover­nor takes over in that state. North Carolina law­mak­ers took sim­i­lar steps two years ago.

SUN-TIMES FILE PHOTO

Wis­con­sin Gov. Scott Walker re­laxes at the Billy Goat Tav­ern in 2015.

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