Saturday, May 12, 2012

Walker's Blue Dress

For all the robotic message discipline he displays whenever his handlers allow him to be exposed to outside air, Scott Walker is actually a fairly chatty guy.

Put him in front of news cameras at a press conference or a public event, and his bland, stilted recitation of the talking points driven into his head can put you to sleep.  But, get him in a room or on the phone with the billionaires he was bought and elected to serve, and he spouts jargon like an excited young pup who can't wait to show them how well he can be a Good Boy, panting and anxious to execute the Grand Plan of his masters.

Democrats have always been at a strategic disadvantage because they tend to do their planning and thinking in open forums, from the bottom-up, with many people and interests in the room, hammering out consensus solutions to government and/or political problems.  On the rare occasion they might try to maintain a little control with Wise Men in a smaller group, they leak like a sieve.

Republican office-holders in the Gingrich/Junior Bush era, on the other hand, take their direction from an Unseen Hand in a nondescript headquarters in Northern Virginia or some place like that, where Karl Rove or a reasonable putrid facsimile issues edicts on strategy and talking points to elected puppets like Walker and lock-step messengers on talk radio, Fox News and the Wall Street Journal.  You are never able to see the bugs and vermin under the GOP rock, as they scheme and plot to fool voters into electing stooges that are willing to enact the bad legislation that allows their corporate bankrollers to continue to pollute, rape and otherwise exploit the unregulated weaknesses of American capitalism.  One of the enormous frustrations with the radical Republican jihad in Wisconsin is that, other than ALEC, you can't tell exactly where they are getting all these bad ideas and who is writing the script.  You just know its not from anyone in Wisconsin.

While the Unseen Hand is never exposed, it can't always control the weak politicians who are hired to carry its water.  So it is with Scott Walker, who has been caught at least twice now with his guard down and his pants around his ankles at the service of the Grand Plan.  Last year, as a result of a brilliant piece of guerrilla journalism, he was caught telling the truth to someone he thought was one of his principal owners, fake philanthropist and real polluter David Koch, talking about how he was going to "drop the bomb" on the State of Wisconsin with his radical disembowelment of public employee unions.  For all he knew at the time, the Koch impostor was just another of the many vested interests looking for a piece of the action -- Walker probably gave the same "feels like Reagan, thanks a million" spiel to a dozen of his wealthy benefactors calling in for the face or phone time with the governor they thought they bought with their enormous contributions to Walker's official campaign or, more significantly, to the off-the-books "groups" that are really the center of the post-Citizens United universe.

Around the same time, Walker was tooling around Wisconsin, sucking up to more local bankrollers like Diane Hendricks. Once again, gone is the reserved, searching-for-the-notes-in-his-head dweeb who appears sparingly in public with a script and a weak smarmy smile on his face.  The Real Walker is a chattering font of verve, excited to discuss his secret designs in what he thinks is the usual safe cocoon provided for him by the likes of Hendricks.

Apparently, though, neither he or Hendricks were bright enough to realize the implications of the camera sitting there, ten feet from their faces, as she greets him at the door.  "Just so you know, nothing I do is going to see the light of day for over another year," film-maker and sudden hero Brad Lichtenstein says. "OK, that's fine," says the clueless Walker before he answers the overheated Hendricks' questions about making Wisconsin a "right-to-work" state by saying that the bomb he was about to drop on public employees was only a "first step", and that he expected to follow the lead of Indiana's Mitch Daniels, who eliminated public employee collective bargaining by fiat before signing a "right-to-work" bill soon thereafter.

As news of the video reached the secret bunker of the Republican Unseen Hand, you could almost hear the Hand slapping his forehead at the idiocy of Walker and Hendricks discussing such things in front of a camera they did not own.  "We train and train and train these people..." he mutters into his scotch as he sends out damage-control talking points to Walker's handlers and the fellow travelers on talk radio.

There is no doubt that Walker and the Republicans were planning on following up the destruction of public employee unions with the "right-to-work" dagger to the heart of all unions.  The bomb dropped on public employees had nothing to do with budget-balancing (the health care and pension contributions could have been imposed by simply taking those items out of those subject to bargaining, leaving the rest in place) and everything to do with destroying all unions and (more importantly) their political influence.

But, when Walker and Hendricks engaged in their happy talk, they could not have imagined the shitstorm that the radical Republican attack on public employees caused -- not only with the employees, but will the majority of state residents.  Given that, they could not now brag about how the private-employer unions are next, since they needed to use them as a wedge -- to "divide and conquer" the union movement, here and throughout the country.

No matter what happens, it seems, you still have idiot, short-sighted local unions like the Milwaukee Police and Firefighters, who are willing to throw their union brothers and sisters under the bus for their own selfish ends. And like this clown (towards the end of the story), Terry McGowan, the business manager of Operating Engineers Local 139, who, when faced with Walker's lies, "was troubled by the footage of Walker with Hendricks, but that he was continuing to take Walker at his word given his public statements and conversations he has had with him." At this point, any union or union member supporting Walker and not actively working to recall him are worse than scabs crossing a picket line.

During the ludicrous effort of another group of radical Republicans to impeach Bill Clinton, there was some, er, material found on a blue dress that ended any question of what had happened in the White House between Clinton and an intern.  The footage of Walker and Hendricks is Walker's blue dress, where the result of his on-his-knees behavior with those who would destroy labor unions and other  institutions integral to American greatness cannot be denied.  The only difference is that Clinton 'fessed up, and Walker continues to deny what the stain on his blue dress means.