Pay No Attention to the Men Behind the Curtain, Wisconsin (or how I learned to stop worrying and love the Kochs)

We’ve been hearing a lot about the Koch Brothers lately. All of a sudden, it seems that they run the whole show, that being the systematic destruction of the middle class. David and Charles Koch own Koch Industries, the second-largest private corporation in the U.S., and a trans-national conglomerate of refining, pipeline, chemical and paper businesses. They employ 3,000 people right here in Wisconsin.

A Koch-founded advocacy group — Americans for Prosperity, whose foundation David Koch chairs, states that it aims to educate citizens on “a return of the federal government to its constitutional limits.” This group’s site links to their petition in order to get followers to show support for the governor’s policies.

AFP says it spent $40 million in the 2010 election cycle in about 100 races. Koch Industries alone gave $43,000 to Walker’s 2010 campaign, making them his #4 contributor.
AFP bussed in a bunch of their tea-partiers to parade in front of the Fox News cameras on Saturday. Bystanders were baffled, but no one seemed fooled. After Walker’s repeated accusations that the anti-budget bill protesters were “mostly from out-of state,” this is hypocracy incarnate.

OKOKOK, let’s get to the good stuff. Buffalo Beast (NY) is a blog/website that generally acts as an agitator, but what their editor Ian Murphy got away with this morning was priceless. He got ahold of someone in Walker’s office, claiming to be David Koch, and set up this golden interview that lasts for 20 minutes. Walker just can’t stop talking. It sounds like he’s reporting to his boss, honestly.

Listen to it here.
Here’s part 2 (I love the image).

Holy shit! “once you crush these bastards, I’ll fly you out to Cali and really show you a good time.” “All right,” Walker says, “That would be outstanding.”

Most importantly, when talking about the new governors in Ohio, Florida, and Michigan, Walker says that “we got elected to do something big… this is our moment.” The Koch-impersonator calls Wisconsin “the first domino.” Walker seems to be talking about union-busting. They seem to know that in these “blue” and “purple” states, they may never again get the chance to make such a concerted effort nationwide to destroy workers’ rights in order to increase their campaign donors’ bottom line.

In a statement, Walker spokesman Cullen Werwie (who holds a combative contempt for the press  — I know because I’ve spoken to him several times)says, “Throughout this call the Governor maintained his appreciation for and commitment to civil discourse. The phone call shows that the governor says the same thing in private as he does in public and the lengths that others will go to disrupt the civil debate Wisconsin is having.”

If you don’t listen to it, at least read this, perhaps the juiciest bit:
Walker on the 14 Democrat senators currently “hiding out” in Illinois: “but I’ll only do it if all 14 of them will come back and sit down in the state assembly…legally, we believe, once they’ve gone into session, they don’t physically have to be there. If they’re actually in session for that day, and they take a recess, the 19 Senate Republicans could then go into action and they’d have quorum…so we’re double checking that. If you heard I was going to talk to them that’s the only reason why. We’d only do it if they came back to the capital with all 14 of them…”

So, he is being completely disingenuous, this is all about a union-busting corporate Republican power-grab! And Walker and his people come off as complete morons for letting this guy through with that ridiculous voice and his stupid cracks that make him sound like a cartoon villain.
The coming brain-drain in Madison apparently starts in the capitol.

P.S. the Kochs just opened a lobbying office in Madison on the square.


About Joe Doolen

I am a graduate student at the University of Wisconsin-Madison's School of Journalism and Mass Communication. My aim is to write on science and international issues with a focus on environmental policy and justice. Topics range from local and domestic politics to international communications and culture, and anything cool about science really!!
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3 Responses to Pay No Attention to the Men Behind the Curtain, Wisconsin (or how I learned to stop worrying and love the Kochs)

  1. Deborah Blum says:

    Now I did not know that the Koch’s had opened a lobby office in Madison. Again, Joe, excellent journalism here.

  2. Eric Verbeten says:

    Thanks for the info on the Koch Brothers, I was wondering about their connection

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