died Wednesday at the age of 92. He was a colossal failure as governor of Illinois--when he left office at the end of his single term in 1977 the state was in terrible financial shape. But Walker left behind two time bombs that would make matters worse.
He proved himself to be a 1980s kind of guy by getting involved in a savings and loan scandal for which he served 17 months in prison. But unlike many pols who spent time in the joint, Walker didn't blame anyone else and he was contrite. For that he deserves respect.
As for the time bombs, Walker accelerated the unionization of state employees which set up a financial downward spiral of unions backing public officials, mostly Democrats, who would reward state workers with generous wages and pensions that Illinois taxpayers can't afford.
Pat Quinn, the Chicago Democrat who was voted out of office last fall, became governor in 2009. He proved to be an even worse financial manager than Walker. He served in the Walker administration, including time as a ghost payroller.
Rest in peace.