Thursday, February 24, 2011

Call Me

As you probably heard, Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker got a prank phone call from Ian Murphy, a blogger for the Buffalo Beast, posing as one of the Koch brothers.

According to the audio, Walker told him:

* That statehouse GOPers were plotting to hold Democratic senators’ pay until they returned to vote on the controversial union-busting bill.

* That Walker was looking to nail Dems on ethics violations if they took meals or lodging from union supporters.

* That he’d take “Koch” up on this offer: “[O]nce you crush these bastards I’ll fly you out to Cali and really show you a good time.”

Aside from the hilarity factor (“Governor, I’ve got Hugh Jardon holding on line 2…”), there’s the very good point that Ezra Klein makes about who Gov. Walker will talk to and who he won’t.

But if the transcript of the conversation is unexceptional, the fact of it is lethal. The state’s Democratic senators can’t get Walker on the phone, but someone can call the governor’s front desk, identify themselves as David Koch, and then speak with both the governor and his chief of staff? That’s where you see the access and power that major corporations and wealthy contributors will have in a Walker administration, and why so many in Wisconsin are reluctant to see the only major interest group representing workers taken out of the game.

Last year, when the Tea Partiers were making their voices heard, we were told by the GOP that they were “the voices of the people,” and that it was true democracy at work to see them out there with their signs calling for change. Now that the shoe is on the other foot, they’re nothing but a bunch of thugs trying to intimidate the duly-elected representatives. How quickly they change their view of people power. It might also have something to do with the fact that there were powerful interests behind the Tea Party such as the Koch brothers pulling the strings. What this call to Mr. Walker reveals is that the right-wing rallies were just a lot of window-dressing to cover the fact that a GOP governor will listen to the people… as long as they’re the ones with the money and the influence.