Archive - Feb 24, 2011

Your Passive-Aggressive Pitchfork Update

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Memo to Scott Walker: YOU ARE EVEN DUMBER THAN ADVERTISED.

Time to check in once again on the Great Wisconsin Rebellion, the closest thing we've had to a proper pitchforks-and-guillotines moment since the New Robber Baron era began. But it's the Midwest, where we're much too polite and folksy to use actual pitchforks, so it's more of a passive-aggressive pitchforking. But we take what we can get.

Yesterday was a rough day for Wisconsin governor Scott Walker, who is still pursuing his plans to effectively eliminate public employee unions in Wisconsin. Walker, whose dickhead rating was already sky-high and growing, took another hit to his likability thanks to Ian Murphy of the Buffalo Beast*, who called Walker's office, claimed to be conservative billionaire and leftblog Satanic figure David Koch.

Walker's starstruck staff put him right through, and Walker, encouraged by the personal attention from one of his favorite Kochs, chatted for half an hour. The conversation was pretty mundane stuff, really - the weather, the best places to buy cheese and antiques at the same time, the benefits of planting fake agitators in the protest crowds to make them look bad, the bludgeoning efficacy of baseball bats, and, of course, plots to lure the Democrats-In-Exile back to the state just long enough to get a quorum, then pass what they want anyway.

I'm pretty sure he got that last strategy from the first episode of the old-school Battlestar Galactica, now that I think about it. Which would make him Smarmy Caped Baltar, not Brooding Stubbled Baltar. In fact... wait a minute...

HOLY SHIT.

The point is, Walker clearly needs to fire whoever screens his calls. Also he should fire that dumbass who talked to a fake Koch for half an hour and didn't catch on. But he should probably give whatever soulless fuckwad he pays to write his spin a huge raise. Walker gave a news conference yesterday afternoon, and here's his official line. First, on the conversation itself:

"I take phone calls all the time. I've talked to individual taxpayers across the state. As I said last night I've listened to people both pro and con in terms of the e-mails I've received. But bottom line, the things I've said privately are the same things I've said all along."

That's a brazen fucking lie, and everyone knows it. Walker has been very, very particular about who he's taken calls from since the beginning of this mess, which is what prompted Murphy to see if he could get through to Walker as a billionaire teabagger backer in the first place. And he certainly hasn't been saying that stuff about luring the Colonials in for peace talks then destroying their fleet** publicly.

But that big lie is the framework. You then establish a bunch of little lies to hang off it like pine air fresheners off of a plastic Christmas tree, so that anyone who doesn't look too closely, a.k.a. the cable news channels who decide what happened each day, will think it's real. On his Baltar move:

"I'm willing to talk, but ultimately I think it has to lead to a vote. I don't think that's a trick."

Well, it's a trick if you tell them the purposes of the talk are to reach an agreement, when the real purpose of the talks, as revealed on the phone call, is to force the talks to happen in a recess session of the Senate, forcing a quorum, and allowing the Republicans to keep the Senate open and vote on it even if the Democrats leave the state again. That's definitely a fucking trick. You could charge $150 for that trick in some parts of Madison. And what about the plan to use fake protesters to cause trouble?

"We've had all sorts of options brought to us by staff and lawmakers and people across the state, but as you heard we dismissed them."

Yeah, but you didn't dismiss it because it was an immoral, underhanded, dirty political trick that you, as a moral, upstanding Republican, opposed on principle. He dismissed it because it might backfire on him. ACTUAL QUOTE TO NOT ACTUAL KOCH TIME!

"You know, well, the only problem with that —because we thought about that. The problem—the, my only gut reaction to that is right now the lawmakers I’ve talked to have just completely had it with them, the public is not really fond of this... My only fear would be if there’s a ruckus caused is that maybe the governor has to settle to solve all these problems... Let ‘em protest all they want... Sooner or later the media stops finding it interesting.

If that's Walker's only problem with planting protestors to cause trouble, then that's another problem we should all have with Scott Walker. Just add it to the list, I guess, right above "awful taste in capes".

*That's a newspaper in New York, not a half-pound burger at Buffalo Wild Wings, just so you know.

*OK, OK. Metaphorically.