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Scott Walker Defies Federal Orders to Close Parks

When the National Park Service told Wisconsin to close its popular state properties because of the federal government shutdown, Governor Scott Walker said no way.

The park service ordered state officials to close the northern unit of the Kettle Moraine, Devil’s Lake, and Interstate state parks and the state-owned portion of the Horicon Marsh, but state authorities rebuffed the request because the lion’s share of the funding came from state, not federal coffers. 

Even though federal lands such as the Apostle Islands National Lakeshore have been shuttered, the WI Department of Natural Resources issued a statement saying all state parks, trails and other recreational properties were open and not affected by the federal government’s budget problems.

The agency also reopened a boat launch Wednesday at Wyalusing State Park on the Mississippi River. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service closed the launch on Tuesday because it was on federal land.

At the World Dairy Expo in Madison, Walker blamed both sides for partially shutting down the government.

The best way to resolve it? Look at what we did in Wisconsin. We had a $3.6 billion deficit; we now have more than a half-a-billion-dollar surplus. Every Wednesday — I did it this morning, before I came over here — I sit down with the legislative leaders and, you know, we figure out a way to solve the problems that face our state. We have an effective line of communication, and we get things done.

I think not just in Wisconsin but in states across the country there’s a lot of governors and lawmakers in both parties who wish the folks in Washington in both parties would act more like the states and less like our nation’s capital.

Of course, that’s easy for Walker to say because Republicans control both houses of the state legislature in Wisconsin. If anything, the lesson to be learned from Wisconsin is what can be accomplished when Republicans are in control.

Do you think more Republican governors should take Walker’s lead and defy the feds? Would this be a PR advantage for the GOP or just one more thing that will backfire? 

  1. DocJay

    PR advantage for sure. Fiscally responsible people beat out psycho liberals, corrupt unions, and the progressive spin machine. They balance budgets and transcend the federal insanity.

  2. J.Maestro

    It’s an important statement of principle — power in this country is supposed to be divided among the people, the states, and the feds. The feds like to think they’re the only authority that matters.

    Alas, the entire concept of separation of powers is unknown to most Americans. Examples like this could serve to educate the people, and might move the PR needle. MSM will work hard to undermine the lesson.

  3. The Mugwump

    Civil disobedience isn’t just for the left.  It’s a natural reaction when tyranny attempts to impose itself on a free people.  Using federal agents to block ordinary citizens from going about their business is without question the most outrageous abuse of power in my lifetime.

    I understand there’s a trucker’s strike scheduled for D.C. sometime this month.  I think this is just the beginning.  The Tea Party put over a million people on the streets of D.C. in 2010.  Why not another rally, this time with 5 million?  The administration is doing everything it can to provoke us.  It’s time we gave them a dose of their own tactics.      

  4. Leigh

    Walker’s argument is partly that under a 1961 agreement the state does have the legal authority to operate the parks.  So it’s not civil disobedience, exactly, just refusing to go along with their little game.  I don’t see how it backfires — does anyone really think Wisconsinites will want their parks closed because the people in D.C. can’t get along, if their own state can do the job themselves?

    I think the feds will ignore it, unless for some reason they really love Scott Walker and want to give an early Christmas present to his re-election campaign.

  5. J.Maestro
    Leigh: Walker’s argument is partly that under a 1961 agreement the state does have the legal authority to operate the parks.  So it’s not civil disobedience, exactly, just refusing to go along with their little game.  I don’t see how it backfires — does anyone really think Wisconsinites will want their parks closed because the people in D.C. can’t get along, if their own state can do the job themselves?

    I think the feds will ignore it, unless for some reason they really love Scott Walker and want to give an early Christmas present to his re-election campaign. · 0 minutes ago

    If Walker intends to bid for higher office he should enter the park personally, and with a Chris-Christie-style camera crew in tow. Then widely disseminate video of the arrival of state-based problem-solvers. It doesn’t have to be depicted as the landing of an expeditionary force — but it should highlight the part where Walker breezes past the “Park’s Closed” sign, quietly directing one of his staffers to “tear that damned sign down.”

    That’s how you construct a narrative.

    Actually, we should all be making entry videos like those.

  6. DocJay

    Leigh, you’re right that it isn’t pure civil disobedience but, like napalm in the morning, it smells like victory.

  7. BrentB67

    Good on Gov. Walker.

    Two things contribute to his being able to work with legislators, one of course as you said is republicans in both the mansion and the legislature.

    I think there is another key element that helps him. Wisconsin can not issue long run debt and run deficits as far as the eye can see.

    If we didn’t raise the debt ceiling there is no doubt there will be wailing and gnashing of teeth, but it may also focus the minds of Washington to look at things like Simpson Bowles (I don’t think it is great, but it is a start).

    When we can just ultimately tax our children to solve any potential short term budget pain, we will inevitably choose to do so.

  8. The Mugwump
    J.Maestro

     

    If Walker intends to bid for higher office he should enter the park personally, and with a Chris-Christie-style camera crew in tow. Then widely disseminate video of the arrival of state-based problem-solvers. It doesn’t have to be depicted as the landing of an expeditionary force — but it should highlight the part where Walker breezes past the “Park’s Closed” sign, quietly directing one of his staffers to “tear that damned sign down.”

    That’s how you construct a narrative.

    Actually, we should all be making entry videos like those. · 8 minutes ago

    Exactly.  Such a move would be clear and unambiguous.  It would also display a common sense answer to everything that screams Big Government.  Sort of like Gandhi picking a grain of salt from the seashore.  Small gestures can have huge consequences. 

  9. Crow

    Shoutout to brother DrewinWisconsin who first brought this to our attention on the Member Feed.

  10. John Hallinan

    This thing is exactly upside down.  Forget the reasons for the shutdown, forget obamacare, the debt, whatever the media is chattering about as they gather to protect the Obamacrats.

    Focus for a moment on the WWII monument, all the parks, rest areas, boat launch facilities, etc., etc.

    I hire out my lawn mowing.  If for whatever reason, I decided to drop the service, could the lawn service barricade my yard and tell me to keep out?  My yard might eventually look overgrown, unless I volunteer myself to pick up the mowing, but its my yard.  I’m in charge here.  I’ll decide.  My service doesn’t get to call the shots.

    We, as a people, own this place.  We hire (elect) people (public servants) to get the place up and running and keep it going.   We, as a people, consent to be governed. 

    For this current administration to make war in this manner on the people who hired them is an outrage.  What level of arrogance, what understanding of government do the Obamacrats operate by?  We should be asking whether any administration acting in the manner we are observing today has the moral capability to actually govern?  

  11. Crow
    J.Maestro

    If Walker intends to bid for higher office he should enter the park personally, and with a Chris-Christie-style camera crew in tow. Then widely disseminate video of the arrival of state-based problem-solvers. It doesn’t have to be depicted as the landing of an expeditionary force — but it should highlight the part where Walker breezes past the “Park’s Closed” sign, quietly directing one of his staffers to “tear that damned sign down.”

    That’s how you construct a narrative.

    Actually, we should all be making entry videos like those. · 22 minutes ago

    Excellent idea.

  12. Larry3435
    J.Maestro

    it should highlight the part where Walker breezes past the “Park’s Closed” sign, quietly directing one of his staffers to “tear that damned sign down.”

    That’s how you construct a narrative.

    Close, but the better phrasing is:  ”Mr. Obama, tear down this sign!

  13. Leigh
    BrentB67: Good on Gov. Walker.

    Two things contribute to his being able to work with legislators, one of course as you said is republicans in both the mansion and the legislature.

    The third, I think, is that he knows how to pick his battles.  He focuses on the important fights and ones that he can win.  The D.C. Republicans, and particularly the Tea-Party type, keep getting out-maneuvered politically onto the wrong side of the PR battle.  Scott Walker isn’t so very different from them on principles, but he’s managed to be on the winning side of that game repeatedly, just by knowing which battles to pick and how to talk to his state about them.

    Of course, the Wisconsin Left helped.  Outrage and defiance alone are not a particularly effective strategy.

  14. Mallard

    As was discussed on Member Feed (thanks again DrewInWisconsin), it’s about pushback. States, counties, city government, but especially common citizens saying: No, I’m not putting up with this crap – I’m walking through the Barrycades and going about my normal day!! Simple civil disobedience done non-violently and with civility.

  15. BrentB67
    Leigh

    BrentB67: Good on Gov. Walker.

    Two things contribute to his being able to work with legislators, one of course as you said is republicans in both the mansion and the legislature.

    The third, I think, is that he knows how to pick his battles.  He focuses on the important fights and ones that he can win.  The D.C. Republicans, and particularly the Tea-Party type, keep getting out-maneuvered politically onto the wrong side of the PR battle.  Scott Walker isn’t so very different from them on principles, but he’s managed to be on the winning side of that game repeatedly, just by knowing which battles to pick and how to talk to his state about them.

    Of course, the Wisconsin Left helped.  Outrage and defiance alone are not a particularly effective strategy. · 5 minutes ago

    If the republicans in Washington passed a clean CR that doubled spending and increased the debt ceiling to $20T they will be vilified in the press for not increasing spending 3x and raising the debt ceiling to $25T.

    It is a fool’s game to give 5 minute’s thought to the MSM PR battle.

  16. D.C. McAllister
    C
    Crow’s Nest: Shoutout to brother DrewinWisconsin who first brought this to our attention on the Member Feed. · 21 minutes ago

    I know how ya’ll hate when we do that (and I do too). Sorry I missed it on the member feed. Blame the fact that I’m working three jobs right now.  :( Thanks for pointing it out.

  17. The Mugwump
    Larry3435

    J.Maestro

    it should highlight the part where Walker breezes past the “Park’s Closed” sign, quietly directing one of his staffers to “tear that damned sign down.”

    That’s how you construct a narrative.

    Close, but the better phrasing is:  ”Mr. Obama, tear down this sign!” · 16 minutes ago

    Beautiful, just beautiful.  Now we’ll see if anyone in authority actually reads Ricochet. 

  18. raycon and lindacon

    “Of course, that’s easy for Walker to say since Republicans control both houses of the state legislature in Wisconsin. If anything, the lesson to be learned from Wisconsin is what can be accomplished when Republicans are in control.”

    From 2002 to 2006 the GOP controlled the Presidency , the Senate and the House.  They spent like drunken Democrats and passed virtually no legislation regarding government operations that wasn’t statist progressive in it’s direction.

    The issue here is State GOP control.  The Feral government is a leviathan beast served by keepers who themselves are feral.  We once had a Civil War for all the wrong reasons and all the right reasons.  The good side won for right and the wrong side won for the wrong.  Slavery was defeated but the feral government was born.

    We are still better off because of that war, but have lost so much.  Will it take another great civil disruption, please… not war, to bring about the death of the feral leviathan?

  19. J.Maestro
    Larry3435

    J.Maestro

    it should highlight the part where Walker breezes past the “Park’s Closed” sign, quietly directing one of his staffers to “tear that damned sign down.”

    That’s how you construct a narrative.

    Close, but the better phrasing is:  ”Mr. Obama, tear down this sign!” · 45 minutes ago

    As much as I like the phrasing, the symbolism is in seeing a Wisconsin citizen to take the initiative. The more important message is: “it’s not worth waiting for federal Leviathan to do the right thing.”

    Thought experiment: Imagine if Reagan’s famous line addressed the people instead of the tyrants: “Berliners, Germans — tear down this wall.” Now that would have upped the ante plenty! Probably too provocative in the cold war context. But it’s exactly the sort of challenge you’d make to a free people.

    To me, the best part of the clip would be the young staff member enthusiastically saying, “yes sir!” as half the staff dispatches itself to go help with the sign removal.

  20. Crow
    D.C. McAllister

    Crow’s Nest: Shoutout to brother DrewinWisconsin who first brought this to our attention on the Member Feed. · 21 minutes ago

    I know how ya’ll hate when we do that (and I do too). Sorry I missed it on the member feed. Blame the fact that I’m working three jobs right now.  :( Thanks for pointing it out. · 7 minutes ago

    Edited 0 minutes ago

    I didn’t think you did it intentionally, Denise, I assumed you’d just missed it. That’s why I just made a note of Drew’s contribution and didn’t make a fuss about it. 

    Three jobs!

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