Gov. Scott Walker’s Flip-Flops on Late-Night Votes

Wisconsin Republican Governor Scott Walker. Andy Kroll.

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It took a sneak attack in the early morning hours on Friday for Republicans in the Wisconsin Assembly to pass Gov. Scott Walker’s controversial budget bill, the one that would eliminate collective bargaining rights for most public-sector unions. Assembly Democrats savaged their counterparts for ramming the bill through at just past 1 a.m., screaming “shame!” and branding them “cowards.” But if anyone asks Walker about the GOP’s late-night tactic, he’ll find himself in a tough spot: he’s blatantly flip-flopped on the issue throughout his career.

On the campaign trail in 2010, Walker, then a gubernatorial candidate, disavowed late-night votes by Wisconsin lawmakers. At the time, the Assembly was pulling all-nighters in order to finish its two-year legislative session, a common occurrence that’s angered government watchdogs who don’t approve of state business conducted when most people are asleep. In April 2010, Walker pledged to outlaw any votes in the legislature after 10 p.m. and before 9 a.m. “I have two teenagers and I tell them that nothing good happens after midnight. That’s even more true in politics,” he said in a statement. “The people of Wisconsin deserve to know what their elected leaders are voting on.”

A decade or so earlier, however, Walker took the exact opposite position. As an Assembly member representing Wauwatosa, a suburb of Milwaukee, Walker voted to eliminate an 8 p.m. legislative cutoff for the Assembly’s 1997 session, the Associated Press reported. He also opposed an amendment offered by Democrats to reinstate the 8 p.m. cutoff.

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SIX TRUTHS

Reclaiming power from those who abuse it often starts with telling the truth. And in "This Is How Authoritarians Get Defeated," MoJo's Monika Bauerlein unpacks six truths to remember during the homestretch of an election where democracy, truth, and decency are on the line.

Truth #1: The chaos is the point.

Truth #2: Team Reality is bigger than it seems.

Truth #3: Facebook owns this.

Truth #4: When we go to work, we're in the fight.

Truth #5: It's about minority rule.

Truth #6: The only thing that can save us is…us.

Please take a moment to see how all these truths add up, because what happens in the weeks and months ahead will reverberate for at least a generation and we better be prepared.

And if you think journalism like Mother Jones'—that calls it like it is, that will never acquiesce to power, that looks where others don't—can help guide us through this historic, high-stakes moment, and you're able to right now, please help us reach our $350,000 goal by October 31 with a donation today. It's all hands on deck for democracy.

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