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Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker speaks at CPAC 2013.
Bragging about his job creation record during his state of the state speech Wednesday, Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker failed spectacularly at a basic function of politics: vetting. As a politician, you want to talk about average everyday citizens as examples of policy in action, but you don't, heaven forbid, want that small business owner helped by a tax cut to turn out to be a tax cheat. Or, as in Walker's state of the state, you don't want to tout your job creation programs by pointing to someone whose earlier trouble finding work was because he was in and out of prison for a range of offenses including sexual assault.

To demonstrate that his job creation record is better than the statistics show, Walker named a series of people who've found jobs during his time as governor. One of them was Christopher Barber:

Records show that Barber, who grew up in Marinette, was convicted of one felony count of forgery in 1999 and sentenced to one year in jail and five years' probation. His probation was later revoked.

In 2005, he pleaded no contest to third-degree sexual assault as part of a deal in which prosecutors agreed to drop two drug charges. The judge sentenced Barber to three years in state prison, with an additional five years of extended supervision. Again, his probation was later revoked.

In addition, he was convicted of a misdemeanor battery count in 2009, and he has a handful of criminal traffic offenses, including three drunken-driving convictions, the most recent three years ago.

It's not just that Walker is a member of the party that's spent decades pushing for felons to serve longer sentences and have fewer rights and less chance at a job when they've served their time. There's a basic test of political competence here. Again, it's called vetting, and apparently Walker's aides didn't do it even a little bit. I guess when you're desperate to make it look like your job creation record is better than it is, mistakes will be made.

Originally posted to Laura Clawson on Thu Jan 23, 2014 at 12:41 PM PST.

Also republished by Badger State Progressive and Daily Kos.

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