Video shows Scott Walker telling Beloit billionaire of plan to curb bargaining rights of public workers

HERE‘s the back-story on the brief video clip below: A newly released video in Wisconsin could potentially have profound effects on the state’s recall election: Republican Gov. Scott Walker shown telling a wealthy supporter in January 2011 — before he introduced his legislation to roll back collective bargaining for public employees — that it was part of a “divide and conquer” strategy to take down organized labor, and potentially turn Wisconsin into a right-to-work state. The video, posted Thursday night by the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, was shot on January 18, 2011, by documentary filmmaker Brad Lichtenstein, as part of a documentary project “As Goes Janesville,” about that industrial city’s efforts to recover from the loss of their old General Motors Plant. The Journal Sentinel notes that Lichtenstein has donated $100 to Walker’s Democratic opponent in the recall, Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett. The video clip shows Walker meeting with Beloit billionaire Diane Hendricks, who has since donated $510,000 to Walker’s campaign. [youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=K1S_Pxw2n-U[/youtube] . UPDATE: There’s more on this matter...

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When cops and firefighters in Wisconsin sided with other public employees against Scott Walker

John Nichols of The Nation explains the failure of Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker’s effort to gain support from public-safety employees for his anti-union agenda. [youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j_DqtZsD94U[/youtube]  

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Democrats gain two seats after nine Wisconsin Senate recall elections

One week ago today, a few of our resident Applesauce conservatives tried their best to put a positive spin on the Republican loss of two seats in the Wisconsin Senate in recall elections of the day before. A few of them predictably clung to visions of vindication as they looked forward to this week’s recall efforts against two Democratic Senate incumbents. Well, as it turned out, both of those Democrats easily turned back their Republican challengers in yesterday’s balloting. Indeed, both of them won by margins considerably larger than the last time they stood for election. That’s a sharp contrast with the four Republican incumbents who escaped recall efforts last week. Each of them won by slimmer margins than in their most recent previous elections. On the whole, the nine recall elections of recent weeks — which were framed as referendums on Gov. Scott Walker’s anti-union policies — saw Democrats capture the majority of all the votes cast as they narrowed the GOP advantage in the Senate to one seat. And that one seat is held by a moderate Republican who opposes Walker’s anti-union stance. The Capital Times offers THIS WORTHY ANALYSIS of the situation: [T]he final tallies from a summer of recall elections confirm that the governor and his allies have suffered not just defeats in districts located in the north, south, east and west of the state but also a serious blow to their authority inside the state Capitol. (Snip) The 16 Senate Democrats — 14 who went to Illinois in February and March to block legislative action on the governor’s proposal and two new members who beat Republican incumbents who sided with the governor — all are defenders of collective-bargaining rights. Add to that total moderate Republican Sen. Dale Schultz, who broke with his caucus to oppose the Budget Repair, and it is indeed the case that the Senate majority is now at odds with the governor on the issue that provoked last winter’s mass demonstration’s against the governor’s agenda and the...

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Democrats fall one seat short of retaking Wisconsin Senate, but Scott Walker still has cause to be nervous about next year

While four of six incumbent Republican members of the Wisconsin State Senate survived recall efforts in Tuesday’s balloting — thereby avoiding a Democratic takeover of the chamber — the overall result was hardly a ringing endorsement of Gov. Scott Walker’s union-busting proclivities. Nor did it necessarily bode well for Walker’s chances of withstanding his own possible recall next year. Consider this point made by political numbers-cruncher Nate Silver: In last year’s gubernatorial election, Walker carried the six senate districts at issue by an average of 13 percentage points, which was more than twice as large as his statewide margin of  six percentage points. In other words, these were thought to be solidly red districts. But Republican incumbents lost two of those districts in Tuesday’s recall election. And the margins by which the GOP retained the four other seats were considerably smaller than those by which these incumbents initially were elected. As Markos Moulitsas argues HERE: “[I]f tonight was a loss, I hope we have many more such ‘losses’ in 2012.” POSTSCRIPT: Incidentally, some conservative pundits are pretending that all the “outside” money spent in these recall campaigns came from unions or liberal groups. This mistaken notion ignores the fact that millions of dollars were spent by such right-wing groups as Club for Growth, the American Legislative Exchange Council, Wisconsin Family Action, the American Federation for Children, the Faith Family Freedom Fund, and Americans for Prosperity (which is a front group for the billionaire Koch brothers). UPDATE: Despite all the inexplicable pretentions to victory among members of the party that actually lost two seats, it says HERE that the real winners also are...

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Why have Wisconsin GOPers who are targeted for recall shunned Gov. Scott Walker like a leper in their campaigns?

As I’ve mentioned here on several occasions, I’m not making any predictions about the outcome of today’s recall elections in six Wisconsin State Senate districts. Call me a coward, but I just don’t have a good sense of the prevailing political vibes in the Badger State. Nor, for that matter, do I even approve of recall elections, as I’ve also made clear on several occasions. But, of course, I’ve paid a lot attention to these recall efforts, mainly because they are of considerable national interest, if only symbolically. THIS PIECE, posted today on the Web site of The Atlantic, offers a good (and long) overview and raises several curious points: Wisconsin is tired of standing. First the state was told to “Stand with Walker.” Ever since then, it’s been “Stand with Rob Cowles.” “Stand with Sheila.” “Stand with Senator Kapanke.”  “Stand with Senator Dave Hansen.” Nationally, the AFL-CIO asked all of America to “Stand with Wisconsin.” Meanwhile, outside parties are waterboarding Wisconsin voters with cash as wild accusations become the norm and the entire state devolves into a Tennessee Williamsian dysfunctional family. On Thursday, Republican Senator Dale Schultz leveled a shocking allegation that Governor Walker had dry-gulched him into missing the vote on the budget bill that eliminated collective bargaining, where, Schultz claims, he had planned to offer a compromise amendment. Schultz, a moderate, avoided recall earlier this year, even though he faced an outraged constituency. That came just a week or so after a Green Bay business leader came forward with a tale of other Walker shenanigans. The businessman told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel that recalled Republican Senator Robert Cowles had confided that the only reason he voted for the bill was because “the governor’s office told us if we didn’t give them our support, they would run a tea party candidate against us.” Cowles immediately shot back against the claims, but the two senators’ allegations together suggest the GOP hardline may be cracking. Indeed, none of the Republican senators facing recall have featured Walker in their campaign ads. A comedic demonstration of this distancing come froms GOP Senator Randy Hopper, whose recall campaign website features the legislator standing beside former Republican governor Tommy Thompson instead of Walker....

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