There is dumb, there is dumber, and then there’s Gov. Scott Walker. Walker seems not to understand just how easy it is to listen in to anyone’s conversations in this day and age. He has a capital building and grounds filled with protesters and never once considered the possibility of high-tech listening devices that could be aimed at his office. He also has a staff too stupid or arrogant to consider the idea that the phone call placed by Buffalo Beast editor Ian Murphy might be a prank, even after Murphy, pretending to be billionaire David Koch, gave a lame excuse of his “maid” washing his phone to explain why the call was being made on Skype. His Mexican maid washed his phone? That one ranks with “the dog ate my homework” for stupid excuses.
The full transcript of the punk phone call placed to Gov. Walker Wednesday by Buffalo Beast.com’s Ian Murphy became more available last night. Walker thought he was talking to David Koch, billionaire funder of the Tea Party Express, major donor to the Republican Governors Association, a man who with his brother Charles has spread money thick and fast to defeat Democratic candidates. During the course of the conversation, Walker bragged about his plans to destroy the unions and talked about conversations he has had with other Republican governors, specifically naming Nevada’s Brian Sandoval and Ohio’s John Kasich. We had already heard speeches from Kasich that sounded like scripts he was sharing with Walker. The prank phone call, however, made it appear that the Republican governors really are sharing a script.
Walker revealed that his staff had discussed planting agitators in the crowds of protesters to discredit them, but they had dismissed the idea because Walker didn’t want to deal with any “ruckus” that might result. He compared himself to Ronald Reagan, claiming that Reagan’s stand against the air traffic controllers union “was the first crack in the Berlin Wall and led to the fall of the Soviets.” He came across as unbelievably puffed up about himself and his role as the breaker of unions.
The Koch brothers, who own Koch Industries, the largest private company in America, are the sons of one of the founders of the John Birch Society. They are on the extreme end of the conservative spectrum and have been pouring money into Republican and Tea Party campaigns and into their own PAC and other 501(c) organizations to advance their personal agenda of killing labor unions and getting businesses totally deregulated. Wednesday’s phone call proved that $43,000 in direct donations to Walker’s campaign gives the Koch access to the governor to discuss strategy and legislative agendas. Walker bragged about how he was going to stand fast against the union’s offers to meet all his demands for concessions to balance the budget because that’s not what this battle is about. He will not negotiate. The goal is to break the union. He even talked about plans to trick the runaway Democratic Senators into returning to the state so that the Senate Republicans could pass the bill while the Democrats were naively thinking they were negotiating.
There is a real possibility that Walker delivered enough information for the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees to push for criminal conspiracy charges against the Republican governors for their orchestrated effort to destroy the unions. Walker made it too clear that this is not about balancing the budget, but about fulfilling the Koch brothers’ dream of destroying the unions.
Republican Governor Mitch Daniels of Indiana has already taken a “right to work” bill off his state’s legislative agenda, and urged other governors to back off on union busting. The others would do well to follow suit and remove bills that would destroy the unions’ rights of collective bargaining. Walker’s call with the fake David Koch is raising too many questions about who is directing the actions of these Republican governors. Walker was already losing the battle within his own state, with only 48% of Wisconsinites supporting his position late last week. This prank call may cut his support even further.
Liberals have been saying for years that the Republican Party is bought and paid for by big business and multi-national corporations. Walker has just given the Democrats a gift. He proved the truth of the allegations.