By Will Swaim | Special to Wisconsin Reporter
NEWS ITEM: Politico reports “Obama says he was too busy to visit Wisconsin” during the recall.
Republican Party loyalists think there’s an indictment of the president here — that he’s lying.
They may be right. It’s possible the president stayed out of the recall campaign behind gubernatorial candidate (and Milwaukee Mayor) Tom Barrett because linking the Democratic Party to public-sector unions is a losing proposition. It’s not a loser because, as Washington Post blogger Ezra Klein has said, organized labor’s declining numbers make unions unnecessary to the production of political power, but because public-sector pay and benefits are bankrupting cities, counties and states across the nation.
So it’s more likely President Obama is simply telling the truth when he says, as he did Tuesday on the ABC affiliate in Green Bay, his priorities simply don’t include sacrificing Wisconsin taxpayers to their demanding public-sector workers.
That’s not how the president put it. “I was supportive of Tom (Barrett) and have been supportive of Tom,” he told ABC, but being president comes with “a lot of responsibilities.”
So, you know, he had more important commitments.
What did the president regard as more important than coming to the aid of public-sector workers?
DRINKING BEER WITH IRISHMEN. May 23, 2011, the president hoists a Guinness with locals in an Irish pub in Moneygall, home of his great-great-great grandfather.
MEETING WITH ROBOTS. June 23, 2011, the president tours Carnegie Mellon University’s National Robotics Engineering Center. “You might not know this, but one of my responsibilities as commander-in-chief is to keep an eye on robots,” the president said. “And I’m pleased to re port that the robots you manufacture here seem peaceful — at least for now.”
HANGING OUT WITH THE 1985 CHICAGO BEARS. Oct. 7, 2011, the president hosts his favorite National Football League team. “This is as much fun as I will have as a president of the United States.”
EATING SNOW CONES. Dec. 28, 2011, the president eats ice with tropical fruit juices at a strip center on Oahu, 4,161 miles from Madison where there’s lots of ice, very little of which is covered in juice of any kind.
SINGING AL GREEN. Jan. 20, 2012, the president sings a few bars during a New York City fundraiser.
FILLING OUT HIS NCCA MARCH MADNESS BRACKET PICKS. March 14, 2012, the president bets North Carolina will take it all. In the end, North Carolina didn’t make it to the final, in which Kentucky beat Kansas, 67-59.
DOING PUSH-UPS. April 9, 2012, the president exercises at the White House. Busy? You bet: He’s working out in a dress shirt.
SLOW-JAMMING WITH JIMMY FALLON. April 24, 2012, the president appears on Late Night with Jimmy Fallon to read the news with the former Saturday Night Live cast member. Back-up band Roots sings he’s “the POTUS with the most-est.”
STACKING PAPER. May 3, 2012, ABC reports, “Fresh back from Afghanistan, Obama attended two private, $40,000-a-plate fundraisers Wednesday at the exclusive W Hotel, raising at least $2 million for the 2012 campaign, Democratic officials said.”
HANGING OUT NEXT DOOR. June 1, 2012, just days before the recall, the president too busy to visit Wisconsin is next door — in Minnesota. He’s over there talking about gay marriage. And it’s not that he’s loud, it’s just that he’s so close we can hear him from our back yard!
Will Swaim is managing editor of the Franklin Center for Government and Public Integrity. His email address is email@example.com.