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Posted at 12:22 PM ET, 02/23/2011

What a prank call proves about Wisconsin

By Ezra Klein

Gonzo journalist Ian Murphy noticed one of Wisconsin's Senate Democrats complaining that Gov. Scott Walker was impossible to reach on the phone. So Murphy came up with a prank call: He posed as right-wing financier David Koch and called Walker's receptionist. Shortly thereafter, he was on the phone with the governor himself. You can listen to the conversation here -- though the site seems overloaded by the traffic -- or read Adam Weinstein's summary here. Walker's office has confirmed the call was real.

To Walker's credit, he doesn't say anything incriminating. When Murphy/Koch offers to plant demonstrators, Walker declines. The worst you can say is that when Murphy/Koch makes a lewd comment about Mika Brzezinski, Walker doesn't challenge him on it. But that portion reads to me as Walker politely grunting in response to an odd provocation. I imagine politicians are pretty good at gently moving the conversation along when their contributors say crazy things.

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.

The critique many conservatives have made of public-sector unions is that they both negotiate with and fund politicians. It's a conflict of interest. Well, so too do corporations, and wealthy individuals. That's why Murphy -- posing as Koch -- was able to get through to Walker so quickly. And it shows what Walker is really interested in here: He is not opposed, in principle, to powerful interest groups having the ear of the politicians they depend on, and who depend on them. He just wants those interest groups to be the conservative interest groups that fund him, and that he depends on.

By Ezra Klein  | February 23, 2011; 12:22 PM ET
 
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Comments

Ummm, actually, when "David Koch" asks about planting demonstrators in the crowd to cause trouble, Walker responds:

"Walker: 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…[explains that planting troublemakers may not work.]"

BECAUSE WE THOUGHT ABOUT THAT. If that's not damning enough, there's also quid-pro-quo going on at the end as well.

Walker's done.

Posted by: kumicho | February 23, 2011 12:31 PM | Report abuse

I curious if you have any proof that Gov. Walker is refusing to take MIA Wisconsin Senator's calls, except for the word of the same missing Democratic Senators? Besides I wonder what they really have to talk about. Gov. Walker is proposing the same changes to the relationship between the government and it's unionized workers that he campaigned on and got elected on in 2010. The Wisconsin Democrats are adamently opposed to the point that they've abandoned their posts and left the state (hopefully their pay is getting is getting docked). Don't see much common ground there.

Posted by: RobT1 | February 23, 2011 12:33 PM | Report abuse

Basically to follow up my last post, the headline in tomorrow's paper will be:

"Walker contemplated planting demonstrators in the crowd to cause trouble"

Posted by: kumicho | February 23, 2011 12:34 PM | Report abuse

I curious if you have any proof that Gov. Walker is refusing to take MIA Wisconsin Senator's calls, except for the word of the same missing Democratic Senators? Besides I wonder what they really have to talk about. Gov. Walker is proposing the same changes to the relationship between the government and it's unionized workers that he campaigned on and got elected on in 2010. The Wisconsin Democrats are adamently opposed to the point that they've abandoned their posts and left the state (hopefully their pay is getting is getting docked). Don't see much common ground there.

Posted by: RobT1 | February 23, 2011 12:34 PM | Report abuse

Ezra,

Koch Brothers give $43,000 to Walker's campaign that spent $11,000,000! That's fractions of 1%. Koch Brothers don't even rank in the top 30 political contributors to WI politicians.

It's obvious the Left has gotten its talking points (LA Times, NY Times, Ezra, etc.) and Koch Bros. are to be excoriated as the center of evil Right Wing influence in the US.

Your selective concern about money in politics is enlightening. It's time that we end taxpayer subsidization of the Democratic Party through public employee union coerced paycheck contributions. Scott Walker is doing the Lord's work on this.

BTW, WI public employees won't have to worry if they're underpaid compared to their private sector counterparts (as Ezra claims). Certainly, they'll be snatched up for employment by eager companies desiring fresh productive employees. Can't wait to see that experiment carried out.

Posted by: ElGipper | February 23, 2011 12:36 PM | Report abuse

ElGipper - Koch Brothers gave $43,000 directly to Walker's campaign.

Koch Brothers also spent $3.5 MILLION in "independent" attack ads against his opponent.

That kind of money buys quite a bit of influence, wouldn't you say?

Posted by: kumicho | February 23, 2011 12:42 PM | Report abuse

Ezra,

Koch Brothers give $43,000 to Walker's campaign that spent $11,000,000! That's fractions of 1%. Koch Brothers don't even rank in the top 30 political contributors to WI politicians.

It's obvious the Left has gotten its talking points (LA Times, NY Times, Ezra, etc.) and Koch Bros. are to be excoriated as the center of evil Right Wing influence in the US.

Your selective concern about money in politics is enlightening. It's time that we end taxpayer subsidization of the Democratic Party through public employee union coerced paycheck contributions. Scott Walker is doing the Lord's work on this.

BTW, WI public employees won't have to worry if they're underpaid compared to their private sector counterparts (as Ezra claims). Certainly, they'll be snatched up for employment by eager companies desiring fresh productive employees. Can't wait to see that experiment carried out.

Posted by: ElGipper | February 23, 2011 12:42 PM | Report abuse

maybe not "incriminating" per se, but i thought it pretty revealing and quite unflattering when the governor revealing his ruse to lure the democratic reps back to wisconsin under utterly false pretenses.

Posted by: ebproducer | February 23, 2011 12:45 PM | Report abuse

I have grunted at all kinds of racist, sexist and assorted other kinds of crazy comments to move a conversation along so I don't really have any problem that the governor would do the same. But it's everything else that's a problem...

Posted by: theamazingjex | February 23, 2011 12:50 PM | Report abuse

Mr. Klein,

What part of no deal don't you get. Elections matter and you lost. If you want a better deal, run on it in 2012.

The Democratic Party stopped representing the poor and the low-income working people a long time ago and has become obsessed with winning elections at whatever cost. They've ruined out government budgets AND our schools, caused wide-spread unemployment, and misery.

Spending on schools has gone up somthing like 300% since 1959 with NO improvements. Imagine that money spent with the old system that worked well, i.e., teachers are paid what they are paid and they can look for a better offer otherwise and they are a fired at will. If you don't like that system, get a different job or be a teacher elsewhere. That is how 95% of the economy works and why the USA and the West is the workers paradise they are. It is the workers children whose lives Democrats are ruining generation after generation and the public service unions are among the worst aspects of our society presently. This is not social justice, but gangsterism.

By the way, the term is not "gonzo journalist" but rather lying dirtbag; a microcosm of what passes for "justice" in Democratic circles and explicative of why whatever Democrats say, they hide their real purposes, greed for power, prestige, privilege, and untoward wealth.

Posted by: Commenting1 | February 23, 2011 12:50 PM | Report abuse

Wow, incredible strawman Ezra. Even if this bill is passed, unions CAN contribute to campaigns and influence elections. Workers just won't be forced by law to pay union dues if they don't want to.

And if , as you apparently believe, public employees are underpaid relative to private sector counterparts, aren't the unions failing at their job as being "the only major interest group representing workers." Shouldn't we give union members the option of a majority vote each year to disband the union if the union continues to fail at securing adequate compensation relative to the private sector? Why should the union be a protected monopoly if it is failing these hard working public servants at securing compensation in line with the private sector? Don't these teachers and public servants deserve better?

Posted by: cdosquared5 | February 23, 2011 12:54 PM | Report abuse

Elgipper,

$43,000 directly, PLUS $65,000 laundered through the Republican Governors Association, PLUS 3.4 million on campaign ads.

Posted by: clhoneyc | February 23, 2011 12:55 PM | Report abuse

elgipper

In typical conservative fashion, it is again time for you to ignore the facts and corrections others here have provided you and repost your dogmatic propaganda.

Posted by: lauren2010 | February 23, 2011 1:00 PM | Report abuse

Wait, also; the entire purpose of the protest is to cause trouble, i.e., to physically interfere with the democratically elected government.

He can explain that away by saying he politely did not correct "Mr. Koch" but meant send representatives into the crowd to make their case to the protesters.

Anyway, Democrats are wrong on Keynesianism, wrong on public unions, were wrong on Jim Crow, and wrong on slavery. The compassionate conservatism of Reagan/Clinton-Gingrich/Bush I/Bush II is the centrism that will win out and beyond the basic necessities compassion warrants, the social liberalism you enjoy so much you must pay for yourselves. If you want to change your wealth or the distribution of wealth, get an education and a high paying job and, after giving so much to the USA conduit for charity to the poor, give even more to charity. After serving in the military, that is the best social work a citizen can do today.

Posted by: Commenting1 | February 23, 2011 1:01 PM | Report abuse

The comments section is amazing. Ezra is rendering an opinion, that is true, but Ezra didn't call the governor, Ezra didn't weigh in on the events in Wisconsin per se. Ezra is opining on an event, one someone else did, and its outcome.

Maybe it's newsworthy, maybe not. But folks, don't extrapolate from reporting on one event, and one opinion, to grand arguments about the Dems or all of the issues of today rolled together.

Posted by: rcd2 | February 23, 2011 1:05 PM | Report abuse

"Scott Walker is doing the Lord's work on this."

...because we all know that God is a Republican?

Posted by: macaroo388 | February 23, 2011 1:06 PM | Report abuse

Ezra, I realize that your job is heat rather than light but I am amazed at the butterfly effect of you and your "journalism" cohort.
Somebody somewhere comes up with some wild theory about how the Republicans somehow cheated somebody someway and then it grows into an actual paper tiger through a thousand retellings and enhancements and then just like a puffy cloud on a summer's day it just seems to drift away un-noticed when the underlying facts prove to be union manufactured.
I'll bet that you have never lived the life of the Wisconsin voters and taxpayers you so easily dismiss as foolish, misguided or cheated. You grab at any whiff of legitimacy to re-assure us that the public employee unions have some sort of "countervailing power" role to play... Ezra, last time I checked the unions were corrupt cash cows for the burly thugs who seem to spontaneously generate in the boss's suites at the union halls. Maybe you're just scared, afraid to say anything, to timid to speak truth to power.
It's OK Ezra, if we stand together we can rise up and deny these thugs the monthly union dues that are their life's blood... or is it that you would prefer to go and scream murderous taunts at the children of Scott Walker?
One thing is increasingly clear, you have very little credibility, your "facts" are designed like chicken mcnuggets, salty and yet of questionable origen. I see that the republican senators got an average of $300 apiece from some sort of conservative operation and I am shocked.... it's comforting to know that the dem senators have gotten nearly $30,000 each over the last week or so, from some unnamed source (could it be afscme?) for skipping the state. I would hate for the dem senators to actually have to report to work to be in touch with the Governor, every state legislator should be able to phone in his thoughts to the floor of the senate, any other way of doing things would just be crazy.
Ezra, go to Wisconsin, meet the people who voted Walker in, talk to them... as it is now you just insult them by implying that they were fooled by big money or are too back woods to understand what's good for them.
As it is now, your silence on the influx of teamster thugs from New York, you silence on the shameful protest against Mr. Walker's children is dangerous to the citizens of Wisconsin. Leave the people of Wisconsin alone, the New York Teamster's union, Hoffa, doesn't speak for the citizens of Wisconsin.
Get off your high horse and speak up against this dangerous influx of thugs before someone gets hurt. Say publically what you must surely privately feel, tell the teachers that if they must protest they should do it on the week-ends because the school children are not pawns in their greedy battle.
Do something honorable
Steve

Posted by: Cheesy1959 | February 23, 2011 1:20 PM | Report abuse

Sounds like we should all call Walker and say we are David Koch.

Posted by: RZ100 | February 23, 2011 1:22 PM | Report abuse

At the end, Walker claims that Reagan busting the ATC union brought down the USSR. The man is Glenn Beck/Michele Bachmann-level crazy.

Posted by: IHATETHISFACKINGLOGIN | February 23, 2011 1:24 PM | Report abuse

--*Gonzo journalist Ian Murphy noticed one of Wisconsin's Senate Democrats complaining that Gov. Scott Walker was impossible to reach on the phone.*--

Apparently "one of Wisconsin's Senate Democrats" was lying. Or Ian Murphy is.

Posted by: msoja | February 23, 2011 1:26 PM | Report abuse

Ezra, believe you should read/listen more carefully. Walker makes clear with comparison to Reagan and firing of air traffic controllers - which he links to fall of Berlin Wall - that the current dispute IS about defeating the unions, and not about the budget deficit. That was his pre-roll out pep talk to his own cabinet! And he also reveals a plan to get Dem senators back and proceed with legislation under false pretense. Watch the Wisconsin press, they are following very closely.

Posted by: BillB10 | February 23, 2011 1:27 PM | Report abuse

I understand why Ezra wants to draw attention away from the fact that 14 Democratic senators have fled the jurisdiction. To try to suggest that Gov. Walker's phone availability is more important than one side not showing up for work at all is laughable, though.

What's happening in Wisconsin is a filibuster by the Democrats. Remember that even very recently, Ezra used to write about how the filibuster is a bad thing. I don't think we've heard that from him again, since the Wisconsin Democrats fled from a vote.

Posted by: tomtildrum | February 23, 2011 1:27 PM | Report abuse

"What part of no deal don't you get. Elections matter and you lost. If you want a better deal, run on it in 2012."

Isn't this exactly what the Tea Party did to President Obama in early 2009? The President won fair and square, but the DC groups that riled up what became the Tea Party immediately began planting the seeds of illegitimacy -- and then took to the streets.

Posted by: flynnb | February 23, 2011 1:28 PM | Report abuse

@cdosquared5:
"if , as you apparently believe, public employees are underpaid relative to private sector counterparts, aren't the unions failing at their job"
.
You do realize that there is more to compensation than 'pay' right? The Unions successfully negotiated wages that were lower than the private sector but with increased pension and health care benefits.
.
Given how important retirement planning and health care are, that seems to be a pretty astute negotiation. Now, the state is trying to renege on those promises. It is *not* because they are too expensive; they are cheaper than private sector employees overall. It is because they want to destroy the power of the unions to negotiate at all.

Posted by: rpixley220 | February 23, 2011 1:29 PM | Report abuse

Money talks. And "right" now, the Kochs are singing an opera. Don Giovanni would be appropriate here.

Posted by: deconstructiva | February 23, 2011 1:31 PM | Report abuse

thank you for this post.

governor walker has shown himself to be a foolish man and a poor leader. his most famous moments are now behind him.
but, he has done wonderful things, in helping to re-unite and awaken democrats.
and with the disastrous leadership in the republican party now, you can be sure that all reasonable people will be voting democratic.
this has surely worked in our favor!
also, i heard a segment on television, of rush limbaugh, speaking about michelle obama. the things the said, were so offensive, not just to the first lady, to the first family, to sasha and malia...but to all women. and to this country.
i believe that the power of these dangerous people, is on the wane.
their own hatred and ignorance will consume them.
it is already beginning to happen.

Posted by: jkaren | February 23, 2011 1:41 PM | Report abuse

@RobT1:
Asking whether there is proof that Walker won't take Dems calls is reasonable. But should they produce evidence that they can't talk to him, you will admit he is wrong yes?
.
The Dem legislators are using the only measure available to them, civil disobedience. It is harsh and difficult to sustain but if they feel it is worth the harm they believe this legislation will do, then that is their right to not allow it to come to a vote.
.
There will be accountability for their actions and that is certainly expected and just. What that accountability will be remains to be seen. One person's bad actors are the other's heroes.

Posted by: rpixley220 | February 23, 2011 1:42 PM | Report abuse

walker bought and paid for by koch industries, talk about bowing down to your masters.

Posted by: calif-joe | February 23, 2011 1:47 PM | Report abuse

Keep up the great work on this issue Ezra. This story is much larger than one governor versus unions. It's about whether or not our representative democracy can continue to function in the face of unchecked corporate influence in all phases of our political process. Your post hits the nail on the head.

Posted by: prairiepopulist1 | February 23, 2011 1:48 PM | Report abuse

"What part of no deal don't you get. Elections matter and you lost. If you want a better deal, run on it in 2012."

The methods Walker has been using in pursuing his agenda and the public outrage subsequently generated demonstrate that he is not necessarily acting in good faith, which I think both sides of this debate can agree should be a perquisite for public service. If you know that a large number of your population is going to take issue with an item on your agenda, it is at least common courtesy to allow for public presentation and an opportunity for hearing. I think it is reasonable to expect this at all levels of government, isn't it?

The fact though that his budget proposal includes the option to sell state heating, cooling, and power plants with minimal oversight and no bidding shows who his true constituents are. Whether you think the state should be in the position of owning these assets or no, surely you conservatives can agree that the public is owed full oversight and as much of a return on such a sale as possible? Lack of oversight = something stinks.

Posted by: arm3 | February 23, 2011 1:49 PM | Report abuse

It's so funny to watch these bitter reactionaries in Wisconsin cling to their pensions and unions.

Posted by: warnerme | February 23, 2011 1:50 PM | Report abuse

"What's happening in Wisconsin is a filibuster by the Democrats. Remember that even very recently, Ezra used to write about how the filibuster is a bad thing. I don't think we've heard that from him again, since the Wisconsin Democrats fled from a vote."


the democratic senators who fled, are heroes.
thank goodness, they are staying strong, and defending our principles.
they will always be regarded as heroes, now, and especially, for a younger generation.

Posted by: jkaren | February 23, 2011 1:53 PM | Report abuse

"It's so funny to watch these bitter reactionaries in Wisconsin cling to their pensions and unions."

I'm certain when the time comes, you'll gladly let your pension go, then. I know I love when contracts with me are broken.

lol. What are you getting out of being a corporate apologist, anyway? A nice pat on the head? If you really want the sort of society you profess to desire, why not just go ahead and move to China? I guess it isn't quite "Christian" enough, though the ethics seem to be about right.

Posted by: arm3 | February 23, 2011 2:08 PM | Report abuse

@tomtildrum wrote:
"What's happening in Wisconsin is a filibuster by the Democrats. Remember that even very recently, Ezra used to write about how the filibuster is a bad thing."
.
The filibuster as implemented in the US Senate is a bad thing, and Erza has said so. The 'filibuster' being waged by the WI legislators is how the US Senate *should* work. High profile AND high cost for its use.

Posted by: rpixley220 | February 23, 2011 2:11 PM | Report abuse

Lethal? Lolz.

How many times has your boy Trumka been to see Bambi?

If you think this prank call means Walker is D-U-N, you're sillier than I originally thought.

Weak tea, indeed.

Posted by: bzod9999 | February 23, 2011 2:21 PM | Report abuse

On a related note, why aren't more people discussing the portion of the legislation which would allow the Wisconsin government (i.e. Walker) to essentially give away public utilities to whoomever he wants without oversight? And guess who owns the companies that are poised to benefit?

http://blogs.forbes.com/rickungar/2011/02/22/a-secret-deal-between-gov-walker-and-koch-brothers-buried-in-state-budget/

Posted by: laurie10 | February 23, 2011 2:24 PM | Report abuse

Do you really think that if a major donor called a Democratic governor during a time of crisis, the governor wouldn't answer? If, say, the teacher's union rep called the governor, the governor wouldn't answer?

This is a non-story to anyone who (a) knows anything about how politics is practiced in this country and (b) is being intellectually honest. You know (a), so (b) must be the problem here.

Posted by: ostap666 | February 23, 2011 2:32 PM | Report abuse

Well, people shouldn't be surprised at all. They got what they elected. Tell me of a time when a Republican didn't have as a major concern the interest of the powerful? The conservatives (Tea Parties and all)keep making a mess out of the economy with the only intent of chopping at the middle class, then they claim needs for austerity of which they never complaint when their party was in power. And who does always pay? The little people. When is America going to wake up?

Posted by: juve04 | February 23, 2011 2:37 PM | Report abuse

To me the truly damning aspect of the discussion about planting troublemakers is the reason Walker decided against it.

Was it that it would be dishonest, and that would be wrong? No.

Was it that the property of merchants on the square might be damaged, and that would be wrong? No.

Was it that citizens on the square and in the Capitol might be injured, and that would be wrong? No.

Was it that the law enforcement officers dragooned from across the state on short notice (who have been terrific, by the way) might be injured, and that would be wrong? No.

Was it because he thought he did not need to go to the trouble to discredit the protesters? Yes.

Is this someone who deserves public office?

Posted by: bill_who | February 23, 2011 2:41 PM | Report abuse

rpixley220-- you must be a product of the public school system. If "they (public sector employees) are cheaper than private sector employees overall" then can't we conclude that the unions are failing, ie, even with monopoly bargaining power, they can't win compensation on par with the private sector? Shouldn't we give workers the benefit to opt out of the union since the current union has failed to secure compensation in line with the private sector for workers of similar ability and demographic? The union is systematically holding down its members' wages!

Posted by: cdosquared5 | February 23, 2011 2:54 PM | Report abuse

Talk about the Left manufacturing a story.

Word is that the Obamas needed a bigger bed so that Union heads Andy Stern and Richard Trumka could sleep in their bed with them....before that they had Barak sleeping on the floor!

Posted by: ELF2 | February 23, 2011 3:17 PM | Report abuse

The money quote from the punked Governor Walker who shows his devious and dishonest approach at negotiation.


Walker:
"I would be willing to sit down and talk to him, the assembly Democrat leader, plus the other two Republican leaders -talk, not negotiate, and listen to what they have to say, if they will in turn, but I'll only do it if all 14 of them will come back and sit down in the state assembly," said Walker, according to transcripts of the call.

"They can recess it to come talk to me, but they'll have to come back there. The reason for that is, 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 because they started out that way, 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, and my sense is, hell, If they want to yell at me for an hour, I'm used to that. I can deal with that, but I'm not negotiating."

Posted by: FoundingMother | February 23, 2011 3:43 PM | Report abuse

it was plenty incriminating...he admits to have already thought about planting counterprotestors (thankfully he didn't, but that's beside the point). Also he admits that he is planning on scamming the 12 missing senators back for a negotiation session, with no intention of negotiating, but only so that rebublicans can go ahead with the vote due to them being there---which is decietful. He also seems very intent on making sure that koch is clear that though it may appear that he's negotiating with the dems, rest assured, he is not negotiating, in essense, don't worry, buddy. He also praises the help that prankster-koch has sent in for support, namely brietbart, while in public the governer derrides the outside forces that have come into the state to support the protestors....

Posted by: ButterBiscuit | February 23, 2011 3:49 PM | Report abuse

Doesn't Walker actually say in the conversation that he has spoken with a specific democrat lawmaker?

Something doesn't jive with this claim of "We can't get ahold of him".

It is more like "We can't chance his mind, so he is ignoring us and we'll claim he isn't listening or taking calls and call it a day."

Posted by: VAGuy01 | February 23, 2011 3:51 PM | Report abuse

NONE of you media people can tell the truth about any of this, can you? Walker is a like an expert gardener with a hoe: His is an excellent hoer. He is a natural born "sucker" for the Kochs. AND he plans to sell-off Wisconsin's assets in a no-bid garage sale, to the buyers of his choosing, at prices that HE sets.
Are you getting the picture here? It's time to get him out of office, one way or another, at any and all costs.
Time for Mister Walker to start walking before the people get out the tar and feathers.

Posted by: TOMHERE | February 23, 2011 3:54 PM | Report abuse

Umm, isn't taping someone and not getting them to agree to the taping, and then publicizing it the way this guy gleefully admits he did AGAINST THE LAW!? I don't know Wisconsin statutes, but, in my state we watched how the State Police used it against a guy who videotaped his arrest, and while the guy did not get it used against him, it was a charge and required legal representation.

So, Walker is being ridiculous, and by the way, so are the unions. We watch clueless fight selfish, and who wins? I'll tell you who loses, the public who gets screwed by either side. Face it Americans, the Republicans and the Democrats only care about their limited, selfish, greedy agendas. This is the conflict that should make moderate, independent voters, who are the majority group of voters, finally tell these extremist losers to go find other people to prey on!!!

For me, right now I would rather watch the unions lose, because they lie and game the system as much as the Republicans, only the unions look you in the eye and tell you they care and want to help the public, while they hold a bat in their other hand behind their back, ready to club you when you turn your back.

At least Republicans tell you they don't give a fecal impaction about everyday Americans and make you figure out how to avoid depending on them for help.

I'd rather know my enemies and avoid them than be screwed by my alleged allies.

That is what the Democrat party has devolved into. Third party time folks!!!

Posted by: Joelhassfam4 | February 23, 2011 4:03 PM | Report abuse

Walker's just another tough talking Tea Party Patriot who is a complete coward like the most of them.

Never served a day in our armed forces despite our country being at war for most of the past twenty years.

Yet, didn't stop old tough talkin' Walker invoking Reagan's name and claiming on the call, of all the stupid things, that the air traffic controller strike settlement caused Communism to fall.

Boots on the ground caused that .. not cowards like Mr. Walker. Find another dead hero to hide behind Mr. Walker.

Posted by: tslats | February 23, 2011 4:07 PM | Report abuse

The left is so desperate!

First they run, then they try political entrapment.

Shameless. Pathetic.

Posted by: dnara | February 23, 2011 4:09 PM | Report abuse

70% of Wisconsin 8th graders can't read this.

Prank call? I call Ian Murphy a liar and a fraud. What is so virtuous about a liar? Is he the left's hero for being a liar?

Why don't journalists report that 70% of Wisconsin 8th graders can't read this????? That is not lying, and it is not fraudulent.

This should be part of the discussion, but we know journalists are in lockstep with the socialists like obama and the democratic chicken anarchists in the WI state house.

Posted by: jim000122 | February 23, 2011 4:12 PM | Report abuse

Someone tell Walker he has Koch Bro. spooge on his tie.

Posted by: coogene | February 23, 2011 4:12 PM | Report abuse

Ha – This is great, the governor came out smelling like a rose and the far-left criminal impersonator is going to jail.

How is it that in the 21st century America we still have corrupt unions that force employees to join their mob and pay a union dues (protection money) every payday if they want to work. I thought these "shakedowns" ended years ago.

Fortunately only 7% of the private sector belongs to unions, but no government employees should be forced to pay union dues as a condition of employment.

The only purpose unions have anymore is to be a fund raising arm of the Democrat party.

Unions gave $400 million to Democrats in the 2008 campaign cycle, and they expect to get something in return, like exemptions from Obamacare or the card check bill that would effectively abolish the secret ballot in unionization elections

Posted by: eureka60 | February 23, 2011 4:19 PM | Report abuse

Walker did not campaign on this, he campaigned on jobs. And he has not created job one. In fact, he passed on the opportunity to create jobs on the high speed rail initiative. And here, in this call which is more damning than Klein thinks, he uses public jobs as nothing more than political bargaining chips. He's playing with people's lives like they're pawns on a chessboard. That is despicable.

Posted by: jmgoldman1 | February 23, 2011 4:21 PM | Report abuse

Ha – This is great, the governor came out smelling like a rose and the far-left criminal impersonator is going to jail
---

Really?

I see the fat lil ko0k threatened and perhaps realizing he is in over his head.

I mean, no matter what the Post says, and lets face it, at least for the moment the coverage is less than flattering, but I suppose with a phone call that can be changed, but anyway, the guy looks out of his depth.

And no matter how the press portrays this over the next few days, before, you know, you all slip further into denial about what has happened here, well, it must bother him he was so roundly booed. That first glimpse of reality is scary, isn't it?

Poor fat lil conservative ko0ks -- I would venture all your press adventures end in failure (Iraq, Social security, et al), but you don't seem to get why that is, so I won't.

Posted by: thegreatpotatospamof2003 | February 23, 2011 4:27 PM | Report abuse

Yep. This is how money buys power: it gets access.

Can't get through to your elected officials? Your right-wing billionaire can. He bought access you don't have.

This is why it's common for the money to spend on both parties. It gets access no matter who wins.

Posted by: jpk1 | February 23, 2011 4:39 PM | Report abuse

Responding to:

And if , as you apparently believe, public employees are underpaid relative to private sector counterparts, aren't the unions failing at their job as being "the only major interest group representing workers." Shouldn't we give union members the option of a majority vote each year to disband the union if the union continues to fail at securing adequate compensation relative to the private sector? Why should the union be a protected monopoly if it is failing these hard working public servants at securing compensation in line with the private sector? Don't these teachers and public servants deserve better?

~~~~~~~~~~~~~
The Economist documented a 14% pay gap between public sector employees and private sector employees with the same skill/ educations set. So, Ezra is correct to write that public sector employees make less pay. The reason is not union failure, however, it was a matter of priorities. The lower pay was offset by job security and generous benefits and pensions. Now, that deal is jeopardized by states that want to renege on the deals they struck. Nice.

http://www.economist.com/blogs/democracyinamerica/2011/02/wisconsin_public_unions

Posted by: truly1 | February 23, 2011 4:41 PM | Report abuse

Actually Ezra, I think there's a pretty big difference between the two. The public employees union financially supports the Dems, and the Dems, in turn, give tax dollars away to the unions. Assuming the Dems ever intend to honor these benefits promises to the unions, it will likely require higher taxes to be paid by people who aren't treated nearly as well as the public employee union members. Conservatives want to be keep more of the money that they earned (i.e., pay less taxes). Is there anything that Dems do that doesn't involve taxing certain people more and then giving that money to someone else. Do Dems ever support having people keep more of their money as a general matter -- that is without dividing it up on a class basis.

Posted by: willdd | February 23, 2011 4:47 PM | Report abuse

Walker, and Palin, and the rest of the extremists seem to be targets of rather bizarre prank calls. The wanting-to-be-connected-to-the-rich-and-famous politicians set themselves up for mess like this. Walker is a smoothe talking I-shall-not-be-moved worst kind of politician.

Posted by: EarlC | February 23, 2011 4:48 PM | Report abuse

THANK GOD that the 'financier', or any important big-wig is able to get through to the political figures because, if these people had to waste their LIMITED TIME talking to RADIO STATION RIFF-RAFF all the time, THEN, NOTHING WOULD EVER GET DONE.

So, I'm LOVING the PRIORITIES that WALKER has set up in his administration. He is a political leader that CAN GET THINGS DONE and not just a back-slapper or Good-Time-Charlie in the political game for EGOCENTRIC reasons alone, though we don't begrudge him of one.

Screw the Unions, the DemonRATS, and the Progressive/Marxists in the White House.

Posted by: notindc2 | February 23, 2011 4:48 PM | Report abuse

We threw the bums out in 2008 and now we will have to throw the bums out in 2012.

That's the way it works in a well oiled democracy. But we will be in great shape in the long run if we have fair elections and enough oil or alternate fuel.

But society can never go back to the good old days like the Tea Party wants to do. You know, "How you gone to keep them down on the farm after they have seen gay paree!"

We are addicted to oil/automobiles and the end is near as far as oil goes; that is we will be out in 50 or a 100 years or so and may have to drive scooters. But let the good times roll in the meantime.

Going back to the good old days would be scooping horse manure up in the cities daily and shipping it to farms like they did before autos (early 1900s). Can't go back.

Posted by: LL314 | February 23, 2011 4:49 PM | Report abuse

So, what we now know is that Gov. Walker has never met David Koch and barely knows who he is, but even when talking privately to his supposed ‘corporate master,’ Walker doesn’t say anything that he hasn’t said in public. Yes, I am quite shocked and scandalized.

Posted by: tulsa_dave | February 23, 2011 4:55 PM | Report abuse

Walker, like the rest of the Republican pond scum really don't give a damn about the deficit - their only goal is to destroy the only firewall that people who work for a living really have - unions. May each and every terminally greedy, ethically bankrupt GOP weasel rot in hell in 2012. Sooner, if at all possible, would be even better.

Posted by: Bushwhacked1 | February 23, 2011 4:58 PM | Report abuse

SCOTT WALKER didn't recognize the FAKE David Koch.

What does that mean ? David Koch is NOT a frequent caller you idiots !!

Doesn’t this prank call prove that Scott Walker is not close to Koch? He doesn’t recognize his voice! He doesn’t drift into a more personal style of speech. He treats him like a generic political supporter.

That’s not how the lefties are spinning it, but then what else have they got lately?

Posted by: pvilso24 | February 23, 2011 4:58 PM | Report abuse

Back in 1974 the, people 'in the know' all said that, by the year 2000, the World's OIL would be gone, used-up, exhausted.

Now, we know that Canada has at LEAST 6-times more petroleum that Saudi Arabia will ever have, though in different form and that the U.S. too has MASSIVE deposits of petroleum yet to be exploited at least in the quantity of the Middle-Eastern reserves locked up in coal, shale, gas, and other forms.

North & South Dakota are the place to be if you want that ol' SOLVENT feeling.

Posted by: notindc2 | February 23, 2011 5:00 PM | Report abuse

Actually listening the to first 10 minutes of the phone call reveals some incredibly disturbing ideas from the governor of Wisconsin -- ideas that seem more in place in a totalitarian regime than in a democracy.

Gov. Walker talks about coercing the Democrats into returning by passing a law that would require them to pick up their paychecks in person if they miss two consecutive meetings of the legislature. (I'm surprised he doesn't get the Republicans to pass a bill that cuts off their health benefits if they miss two consecutive meetings).

He talks about tricking them back by agreeing to a session that does not bring up the union-busting legislation, then halting to meet privately with the Democrats, and having the Republicans reconvene on the theory (perhaps legal in Wisconsin) that once you have a quorum, you don't lose it even if legislators leave the chamber.

The Governor reveals himself to be a despicable creep whose real goal is simply to bust the unions, not just public employees, but private sector too.

Given that there are slews of other ways to balance the state's budget without eliminating collective bargaining rights, and that the state's public employee unions are willing to pay more of their salary for health insurance and to fund their pensions, it's becoming abundantly clear that Scott Walker is interested only in breaking the unions, both public and private.

He's a right wing radical's wet dream. Those who wore brown shirts in 1920s Germany would be most proud of Governor Scott Walker. He's a kindred spirit.

Posted by: dl49 | February 23, 2011 5:02 PM | Report abuse


Soros SLEEPS in the White House, but Klein is more impressed with a PHONE CALL to a Governor.

LOL

Posted by: notindc2 | February 23, 2011 5:05 PM | Report abuse

It's Been A Bad 2011 for the Teapublicans So Far:

Walker and Repuppies get caught on the side of Evil State Govt. against the little people.......again.
Bush-Dolt " Concience Clause " for Health workers junked by Executive Ord...er - no legislation necessary.
The Great "CONSERVATIVE" hero Hosni Mubarak just eliminated, other conservative dictators are doomed.

Reading Constitution Aloud Skit Bombs.
John "Darkie" Boner loses his Jet Engine.
Pin-Down on Tax-Cuts for Uber-Piggies.
Sarah Palin slapped down like a Monkey.
Jared the Tea-Party Assassin.

Health Care Repeal Fails (unless the activist Right Wingers on the Supreme Court decide to overturn hundreds of years of case, again, for their right wing corporate overlords (Koch bros)
Texas going Bankrupt.
Abortion Repeal Fails.
Egypt & Obama dominates news & blows Repuppy focus off track.
Chump-Change Budget Cuts not going anywhere.

Craigslist Pervert Republican Resigns.
John Kyl Resigns.
Republican Oil Spill.
Gay Republicans causing fits in GOP.
Tea-Baggers causing internal Trouble for Standard Corporate Pigs.
No interesting or credible Presidential Candidates.

Not good days for the Teahadists.

.

Posted by: DrainYou | February 23, 2011 5:19 PM | Report abuse

*****************************:) :) :) :) *******************************************
For a HILARIOUS web site: http://www.wix.com/demandthetruth2/obamajokescatalog

UNREAL!!! SOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO FUNNY!!! (Political parody of Obama, Michelle, Rahm, Barney Frank, Pelosi the Witch, Schumer and more!!!!!!!!!!!!)

"The Official Obama & Washington, D.C. Political Parody Joke & Gift Catalog" (Hilarious political spoofs and fictitious items for sale) !!!!

Posted by: Obamaineligibletoserve | February 23, 2011 5:19 PM | Report abuse

*****************************:) :) :) :) *******************************************
For a HILARIOUS web site: http://www.wix.com/demandthetruth2/obamajokescatalog

UNREAL!!! SOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO FUNNY!!! (Political parody of Obama, Michelle, Rahm, Barney Frank, Pelosi the Witch, Schumer and more!!!!!!!!!!!!)

"The Official Obama & Washington, D.C. Political Parody Joke & Gift Catalog" (Hilarious political spoofs and fictitious items for sale) !!!!

Posted by: Obamaineligibletoserve | February 23, 2011 5:20 PM | Report abuse

*****************************:) :) :) :) *******************************************
For a HILARIOUS web site: http://www.wix.com/demandthetruth2/obamajokescatalog

UNREAL!!! SOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO FUNNY!!! (Political parody of Obama, Michelle, Rahm, Barney Frank, Pelosi the Witch, Schumer and more!!!!!!!!!!!!)

"The Official Obama & Washington, D.C. Political Parody Joke & Gift Catalog" (Hilarious political spoofs and fictitious items for sale) !!!!

Posted by: Obamaineligibletoserve | February 23, 2011 5:21 PM | Report abuse

I hope Murphy used a fake voice like Ferris Bueller's friend Cameron did when he called Ed Rooney:

"Hello Gov. Walker, this is GEORGE PETERSON..."

Posted by: Observer691 | February 23, 2011 5:28 PM | Report abuse

--*the democratic senators who fled, are heroes.*--

Wisconsin Dems: The party of "no".

Posted by: msoja | February 23, 2011 5:37 PM | Report abuse

Suppose I call Nancy Pelosi, posing as a Republican. How soon does anyone believe I could get through to her. But I call back posing as George Soros. Bet I could get right through. How many believe Pelosi wouldn't take the call? How many believe she or her secretary might respond, "congresswoman Pelosi will bet back to you?"

How well does anyone believe Governor Scott Walker knew David Koch, given that he didn't hang up on him for the duration of the conversation, after hearing his voice? Walker didn't know what Koch's voice sounded like. How well could he have known him?

Posted by: bbwk80a | February 23, 2011 5:42 PM | Report abuse

Not only did Walker get pranked, he also demonstrated what a bold two-faced liar he is.

I hope the citizen's of Wisconsin run his yahoo out of Wisconsin on a rail.

Posted by: lcarter0311 | February 23, 2011 5:50 PM | Report abuse

dnara wrote: The left is so desperate!

First they run, then they try political entrapment.

Shameless. Pathetic.
*************************************'
Yeah. Next we're gonna dress up like a pimp and a ho and go bust ACORN, or maybe Planned Parenthood.
You GD conservatives are worthless. You need to watch the movie Soylent Green to get an idea of the ONE thing you MIGHT be good for.

Posted by: TOMHERE | February 23, 2011 5:51 PM | Report abuse

You believe Koch brothers spend money on campaigns? George Soros Sr spent a well publicized $24 million on the failed 2004 presidential campaign of John Kerry.

In 2008, Soros was smarter, burying his campaign money within his numorous political organizations, which then spent money on Obama's campaign, through ads and other means. Moveon.org, the Center for American Progress, Media Matters and dozens of other less known campaign groups were started and are funded by George Soros Sr.

Soros' Secretary of State elections campaign has produced 38 Democratic Secretaries at the state level; you know, those guys who certify election results such as Al Franken's in Minnesota.

Posted by: bbwk80a | February 23, 2011 5:53 PM | Report abuse

And what's Ezra Klein doing writing about another man's exposed covert conversations? Klein the founder of Journolist, that group of 400 liberal journalists who agreed to paint Karl Rove as a racist even though they couldn't find proof of it. They decided to proceed anyway because they believed that just by putting it in print would smear him enough to besmirch his conservative cause.

When exposed, Klein quickly desolved Journolist. Nothing Klein says is to be believed. He's tainted.

Posted by: bbwk80a | February 23, 2011 6:03 PM | Report abuse

And what's Ezra Klein doing writing about another man's exposed covert conversations? Klein the founder of Journolist, that group of 400 liberal journalists who agreed to paint Karl Rove as a racist even though they couldn't find proof of it. They decided to proceed anyway because they believed that just by putting it in print would smear him enough to besmirch his conservative cause.

When exposed, Klein quickly desolved Journolist. Nothing Klein says is to be believed. He's tainted.

Posted by: bbwk80a |

~~~~

It's all over the local and cable news, Goober.

They're even re-playing the phone conversation between Walker and the man who "punked" him.

Don't be angry at Klein because one of your own got busted again, Goober. Until you Goober's start facing the fact's about your corrupt Republican leadership, you are going to continue to get angry at the wrong people and towards the wrong party.

Posted by: lcarter0311 | February 23, 2011 6:14 PM | Report abuse

Gov. Walker needs to work on properly recognizing his master's voice.

Posted by: rhc52 | February 23, 2011 6:24 PM | Report abuse

There is nothing concealed that will not be disclosed, or hidden that will not be made known.

What you have said in the dark will be heard in the daylight, and what you have whispered in the ear in the inner rooms will be proclaimed from the roofs.

(Luke 12:2-3)

The same Bible comes back to bite the GOP in the bottom round gristle and all.....

Posted by: waxtraxs | February 23, 2011 6:28 PM | Report abuse

So, are we to assume that all the behind the scenes calls between the Democratic leaders, sponsors, union supporters and other protestors are entirely devoid of any such trickey and ill intentions? How could they POSSIBLY be resorting to such tactics when their cause is so noble?(snort!)

Posted by: Illini | February 23, 2011 6:29 PM | Report abuse

Walker presents the union busting as common sense fiscal policy to the public, but has a brutally idealogical take on it when talking to a fake supporter Koch. He comes off as cynically two-faced at about the level of Richard Nixon. In fact, this might be a Nixon moment for him.

Posted by: cassandra9 | February 23, 2011 6:30 PM | Report abuse

Be careful Tea Bag Republicans, the mean old liberal left doesn't mind making you look like the sheep that you are. Walker is a dumbass! Welcome to politics in the 2011 internet age. People know you got punked all over the world. I was even laughing so much I sent it to my friends in Germany, who think the USA is one big Jerry Springer Show. And they are on the mark!

Posted by: deadchief | February 23, 2011 6:32 PM | Report abuse

Walker takes calls from Birch Society heirs and fascists but not from Democratic Senators. What does that say about Walker?

Posted by: ElectricBill | February 23, 2011 6:43 PM | Report abuse

Walker and his Republican/Big Business patrons won't be happy until all American workers are serfs. Walker, I suspect, considers this God's plan.

Posted by: jimsteinberg1 | February 23, 2011 6:45 PM | Report abuse

What a lame article.The caller doesnt get the Gov. to say anything bad.Then Ezra tries to say the prankster is a Gonzo Journalist,ha i bet Hunter Thompson RIP, is puking his guts whereever he is.If the senators from Wis want to talk to the Gov why dont they quit hiding in Ill and do the job they were elected to do and head back home to WIS.Lame, Ezra, Lame

Posted by: insaneinthemembrain | February 23, 2011 6:58 PM | Report abuse

One more proven, bought and paid for, Republican politician.

Posted by: pjohn2 | February 23, 2011 7:05 PM | Report abuse

It's Official: Walker is a Koch-Sucker


...and a Tea-tard.


Lie down with Teabagger inbreeds, wake up with a mouthful of Koch.


.

Posted by: DrainYou | February 23, 2011 7:06 PM | Report abuse

It's Official: Walker is a Koch-Sucker


...and a Tea-tard.


Lie down with Teabagger inbreeds, wake up with a mouthful of Koch.

Posted by: DrainYou | February 23, 2011 7:07 PM | Report abuse

Walker did decline the offer to bring in trouble makers but did say it was an option that had been discussed. Walker."You know, the, well, the only problem with that — because we thought about that."

Posted by: Hunt458 | February 23, 2011 7:25 PM | Report abuse

WALKER only CONSIDERED bringing in trouble-makers.

OBAMA and the DEMONRATS in Wisconsin ACTUALLY HAVE brought in UNION and MARXIST trouble-makers ALREADY.

OBAMA, like GADAFFI, is seeking SNIPERS, to take out 'T' Party leaders when the counter-demonstrations start in Madison.

Posted by: notindc2 | February 23, 2011 7:43 PM | Report abuse

I will never vote for another Republican as long as I live. Every time you elect a Republican, you get the missing link between the ape and snake. I made the mistake of voting for Wisconsin Governor Lee Sherman Dreyfus in 1980. After one horrible term, he slinked off to a lucrative private job, one step ahead of the tar and feathers. How many Joe McCarthys will Wisconsinites put up with before you learn?

Posted by: rbmurals | February 23, 2011 7:46 PM | Report abuse

It's high time we ended this "one man, one vote" business. Let's use the corporate model going forward where you get to vote based on your ownership interest. Or, in the case of the public sphere, the more taxes you pay, the more votes you get. Now that would be a fair way to do things.

Posted by: dcmowbray1 | February 23, 2011 7:47 PM | Report abuse

BTW Scott, one problem with you trying to comapre yourself to the Great President Reagan, he was much older than you and did not have your sweet lips. Remember Charles, the thin one, likes to be sucked and David, the fat one, likes to be blown. You are on a roll Scott please do not let us down now.

Posted by: schatter003 | February 23, 2011 8:14 PM | Report abuse

You know what is lamer than this story? All of you commenters who just echo the empty and false promises of your parties and puppet leaders of both parties! Republicans do not give a rat's bottom about anyone else but their cronies and buddies on high, and the Democrats act holier than thou and yet behind the scenes do the exact same. And you idiots just do the work for these scummy "leaders" by carrying their prosthetic devices to hose the public, and think you are in league with them, when, they will sacrifice you all without any hesitation or concern to save their own bottoms. Now there is representation!

Again, moderate and independent voters, say goodbye to all incumbents of more than 10 years in office if we have an election in 2012, because neither party cares about the citizens, believe it by their deeds, not words. And pay attention to who are the high rollers of these "playahs", because you are guilty with who you hang out with.

Walker seems to be an idiot, the unions are just thugs and addicts protecting their interests, and anyone who abandons their job responsibilities to just rally for their own cause should be fired by their superiors, or, if not, that says a lot about the superiors, eh? This is an embarassing exercise of American narcissism and lust for power. Maybe the people in the Middle East who are truly revolting for change for their country are on the internet, and when not reading about information on their own issues, see this pathetic display of "gimme that, it's mine" mentality of this country and realize that their own leaders are guilty by association with us.

Yeah, there is the parallel. Egypt and Libya are like Madison, only the difference is they are literally laying their lives on the line for a principle, not a buck.

Step back and see it for what it is. Two extremist interests who in the end do collude for one endpoint: separate as many idiots who are the public from any and all dollars they can collect. And, you vote or work with these con artists. America, whatta country!

Posted by: Joelhassfam4 | February 23, 2011 8:26 PM | Report abuse

That prank call proves Walker is indeed corrupt and he needs to step down and resign. He showed the country today that money in his pocket talks and he could careless about Wisconsin, the people and as we also know the GOP in his State.

Posted by: sumo1 | February 23, 2011 8:34 PM | Report abuse

As most Tea Bag Republicans need to do is forget about changing history and change their diaper.

Posted by: kacameron | February 23, 2011 8:34 PM | Report abuse

Kochsucker

Posted by: Marcaurelius | February 23, 2011 8:44 PM | Report abuse

Scott Walker: Koch addict, or Koch sucker?

Posted by: raschumacher | February 23, 2011 8:47 PM | Report abuse

Ezra, you err. When the fake Koch offered Walker a trip to California and Walker responded positively, he can be said to agreeing to a transaction that is illegal in Wisconsin.

As for the comment that twice (or was it thrice?) insisted that most 8th grade students in Wisconsin cannot read: Wisconsin's students' ACT scores ranked as 3rd highest in the country. Stop lying. http://www.ohe.state.mn.us/mPg.cfm?pageID=1439

Posted by: RussellKing | February 23, 2011 9:13 PM | Report abuse

So koch gave 43,000, spent another 3.5 million in smear ads, but most importantly, they paid for the creation of and the training of the tea bagger movement. The tea baggers are a bought and paid for subsidiary of koch industries.

So the legislators who are supposed to be negotiating with the governor can't get him, millionaires who create astroturf organizations get right through.

And it is especially damning that he was contemplating pulling a Mubarek and paying thugs to cause trouble among the tens of thousands of working people who are resisting having the human rights crushed by the power of a rogue government and a power mad tyrant.

Posted by: John1263 | February 23, 2011 9:13 PM | Report abuse

Class warfare is intense and extensive, and it's not against the wealthy.

Posted by: jimb | February 23, 2011 9:14 PM | Report abuse

Walker got punked

Walker is DONE

Posted by: daveque | February 23, 2011 9:25 PM | Report abuse

Walker takes calls from Birch Society heirs and fascists but not from Democratic Senators. What does that say about Walker?

Posted by: ElectricBill | February 23,


~~~~~

It say's he is a "PUNK" for the KOCH Brother's, or at least he thought he could be.

Posted by: lcarter0311 | February 23, 2011 9:31 PM | Report abuse

--*The critique many conservatives have made of public-sector unions is that they both negotiate with and fund politicians. It's a conflict of interest. Well, so too do corporations, and wealthy individuals.*--

That's a very nice piece of propagandizing there, Klein, but as usual, it's dishonest at root.

Unions lobby for other people's money to be paid to their members, then confiscate a part of it (in Wisconsin's case, the government forcefully withholds the union's dues on behalf of the union -- a nifty bit of rotten incestuousness -- just like it forcefully extracts Social Security and Medicare taxes), a significant portion of which the union then sends back to its favored politicians in the form of campaign donations, and round and round it goes.

In the private sector, corporations and individuals lobby and petition to get *their own money* back, or to stop having it forcefully extracted, so as to be able spend it on things that they value, which isn't likely to include buying more congressmen to get more of one's own money back.

The two processes are not the same, and it's either raw ignorance or raw mendacity (in Klein's case, probably both) to try to pretend that they are.

Posted by: msoja | February 23, 2011 9:32 PM | Report abuse

--*Gonzo journalist Ian Murphy noticed one of Wisconsin's Senate Democrats complaining that Gov. Scott Walker was impossible to reach on the phone.*--

Apparently "one of Wisconsin's Senate Democrats" was lying. Or Ian Murphy is.

Posted by: msoja | February 23, 2011 1:26 PM | Report abuse

??????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????

Why, because he had a 20 minute conversation with one of his campaign donors, a major contributor to the tea party? I mean, I find it interesting that you would automatically assume that the Democratic Senator is lying. Wow!!!!

Posted by: catmomtx | February 23, 2011 9:50 PM | Report abuse

Democrat Reps? Those worthless bottom fish left town when the going got tough wasting tax payers money and showing this spineless Democrats as chicken feces.

Are you an idiot Kline. All donors to any party have access, like George Soros and the Unions to the Democrat party.

Posted by: thejames1225 | February 23, 2011 9:52 PM | Report abuse

Mr. Klein,
What part of no deal don't you get. Elections matter and you lost. If you want a better deal, run on it in 2012.

Posted by: Commenting1 | February 23, 2011 12:50 PM |

??????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????

Perhaps he is taking a page out of the Republican play book who seem to be trying to do everything they can to overturn our Presidential election. Yes, elections do count. The American people overwhelmingly elected Barack Hussein Obama to be President of the United States of America. That means they rejected Republican policies and accepted Democratic policies. You people have been throwing temper tantrums ever since. Why don't you all follow your own advice. It certainly would make life a whole lot better. I mean two years of the whining, bi!ching, moaning, fear, scare, smear, doom and gloom is enough. Get over it, accept the outcome of the election yourself.

Posted by: catmomtx | February 23, 2011 9:59 PM | Report abuse

I wouldn't take phone calls from legislators who fled the state either. But maybe that's just me.

For that matter, I also wouldn't take at face value the word of legislators who fled the state that they can't get in contact with the governor.

I mean, at the very least, their offices are in the same building. They could certainly try showing up at work for a day and maybe, just maybe, they'd bump into Walker in the hall or at the water cooler.

Posted by: blert | February 23, 2011 10:22 PM | Report abuse

Gov. Walker will soon be dancing with the stars

Posted by: DjangoSteinheart | February 23, 2011 10:24 PM | Report abuse

--*I find it interesting that you would automatically assume that the Democratic Senator is lying. Wow!!!!*--

You might also find it interesting that I offered the possibility that Murphy was lying, rather than the anonymous Senator.

Somebody obviously *was* lying, though, because it turned out not to be "impossible" to talk to Walker.

Posted by: msoja | February 23, 2011 11:13 PM | Report abuse

Dork Burger might want to work on some code words there, like Sugar Daddy, when KochRoach calls to dictate the people's business.

Posted by: SarahBB | February 23, 2011 11:30 PM | Report abuse

It's Official: Walker is a Koch-Sucker


...and a Tea-tard.


Lie down with Teabagger inbreeds, wake up with a mouthful of Koch.


.

Posted by: DrainYou | February 23, 2011 11:33 PM | Report abuse

How does a private corporations negotiate? By offering to bring their business into the state for tax credits? But if Walker and the state reject a deal there are other private corporations available to anchor that store location. There's only one teachers union, and they're allowed to turn 1-2% of every workers' paychecks into a huge campaign chest that would take a decade of hard work in a creating valuable product and/or guessing right on Wall Street to match and exert as much influence on the politicians.


Heck, it's not uncommon that in local and state elections candidates that donate TO the public sector lobbying efforts to encourage them to endorse their campaigns.

Posted by: cprferry | February 23, 2011 11:48 PM | Report abuse

"There's only one teachers union, and they're allowed to turn 1-2% of every workers' paychecks into a huge campaign chest that would take a decade of hard work in a creating valuable product and/or guessing right on Wall Street to match and exert as much influence on the politicians."

You might wish to learn about the Wisconsin "QEO" law, in effect for the 18 years leading up to 2009, which effectively ended collective bargaining rights for teachers all over Wisconsin.

The law capped increases in overall compensation subject to collective bargaining at an annual rate of 3.8%, which school districts could apportion as they saw fit between salary and benefits. Since the rising cost of health care benefits alone equaled or exceeded that rate, the inflation-adjusted salaries of Wisconsin teachers declined steadily over that time period.

The notion that unionized workers in the public sector enjoy the same level of largess from government as Wall Street, billionaire individuals like the Koch brothers, or corporations in general, is truly laughable.

Posted by: Patrick_M | February 24, 2011 12:22 AM | Report abuse

I think Ezra Klein lies, and should not have a job in this field.

The only REAL news organization in this country, Jon Stewart's Daily Show, gave us an AUDIO TRANSCRIPT of Governor Criminal contemplating planting troublemakers in protesting crowds, except he worried that a violent incident might backfire.

Get it? ...Or else he would do it.

Nothing incriminating, my butt.He ain't doing it for the budget, which he lied about yesterday; he's doing it simply to bust unions.

He will be busted as a result. Good riddance, fascist anti-American creep.

Posted by: 2229 | February 24, 2011 12:41 AM | Report abuse

I think Ezra Klein lies, and should not have a job in this field.

The only REAL news organization in this country, Jon Stewart's Daily Show, gave us an AUDIO TRANSCRIPT of Governor Criminal contemplating planting troublemakers in protesting crowds, except he worried that a violent incident might backfire.

Get it? ...Or else he would do it.

Nothing incriminating, my butt.He ain't doing it for the budget, which he lied about yesterday; he's doing it simply to bust unions.

He will be busted as a result. Good riddance, fascist anti-American creep.

Posted by: 2229 | February 24, 2011 12:41 AM | Report abuse

I don't know details about the earlier-referenced research re: public sector employees making 14% less than comparable private sector ones. What I'd want to know: Is this national averages (I assume so)? Is it pay and benefits or just cash compensation?

If it's national averages, I doubt it has much relevance in Wisconsin because if we don't lead the country in public employee total compensation (including benefits), we must be within a smidge of first place. To say that public employees have traded off cash compensation in return for benefits is like saying the early settlers traded off some beads for a little land. Civil Service rules and protections are "worth" something too, especially intangible things having to do with job security and limits on discipline.

As for the money poured into the Governor's race by whomever from wherever, that was just a big waste. Walker and Barrett were polar opposites, well-known to Wisconsin voters by virtue of their records as Mayor in Milwaukee, Milwaukee County Executive, and other positions they held over the years. I don't know of ANYONE who didn't declare instantaneously whom they were for as soon as they found out who was running. And nobody was gonna stay home on this particular election day, either.

Posted by: TerryOtt | February 24, 2011 1:43 AM | Report abuse

What a silly stupid article by a silly stupid journoList dodo. Who says the Dem legislators can't get through? Lyin' Ezra, that's who. Walker's staffer let the call through even though the Gov. had NEVER MET KOCH & didn't know how much he'd contributed [how do I know that? Because he said so to Greta Van S on TV.] On the other hand, stupid ninny Klein takes Ian Murphy's secondhand comment by a Dem senator [he could have made it all up] and runs with it.

No journalism here. Just the gonzo JournoList BS this tyro makes up for his proglodyte choir on a daily basis.,

Posted by: djman1141 | February 24, 2011 1:46 AM | Report abuse

http://www.opensecrets.org/orgs/list.php?type=A

The Koch brothers don't even make the top 20 in terms of buying influence. But check out #3 -- the American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees. 98% ($43,000,000.00) to the Democrats. If I were Walker and the Republicans, I'd take down their bribery ring too.

Posted by: unclesmrgol | February 24, 2011 2:29 AM | Report abuse

Walker is the college drop-out tool of wealthy special interests, personified by the Koch brothers.
Every working and middle class person in Wisconsin should be against all of the so-called budget reducing bill Walker and his corporate masters introduced. Aside from the union busting and no-bid contract provisions, what it does is this: making working and middle class people pay for tax cuts for the rich. That, in my opinion, is outrageous. The unions should not give an inch and not concede or negotiate with this charlatan.

Posted by: Historian1960 | February 24, 2011 6:28 AM | Report abuse

I'd say that phone call revealed quite a lot about the little putz governor Walker, such as: a.) who's pulling his strings, which is clearly not the people who elected him, but rather his extremely wealthy benefactors b.) his true intentions, which is to bust the unions in his own state while conspiring with other Republican governors to do the same, c.) He's an arrogant little puke, who likens himself to Ronald Reagan, and d.) everything noted by Ezra Klein, who nailed it, d.) that none of this is about budgets or benefits. For God's sakes America, wake up and connect the dots. What's happening in Wisconsin affects all middle class workers, union or not. It's no coincidence that the middle class has been shrinking along with the unions, right along with middle class wages. Meanwhile the income gap has widened dramatically. Billionaires like the Koch brothers are buying off Republican politicians, and pouring millions of dollars into their campaign coffers to make sure they finish crushing the middle class.

Posted by: ggwalt | February 24, 2011 6:50 AM | Report abuse

Just listened to the recording. Obviously, the left-wing political hacks responding on this board are assuming that most people won't bother to do just that.
Walker said nothing in the call that he hasn't said in public. And, most importantly, all of the inflammatory statements that these bloggers have attributed to Walker were made by the caller, including "those bastards" and "we have to bust those unions".

Posted by: bethg1841 | February 24, 2011 8:08 AM | Report abuse

--*You might wish to learn about the Wisconsin "QEO" law, in effect for the 18 years leading up to 2009, which effectively ended collective bargaining rights for teachers all over Wisconsin.*--

Well, they won't even miss their little collective siphoning privilege then, will they, Patrick?

Posted by: msoja | February 24, 2011 9:35 AM | Report abuse

Wow, incredible strawman Ezra. Even if this bill is passed, unions CAN contribute to campaigns and influence elections. Workers just won't be forced by law to pay union dues if they don't want to.

And if , as you apparently believe, public employees are underpaid relative to private sector counterparts, aren't the unions failing at their job as being "the only major interest group representing workers." Shouldn't we give union members the option of a majority vote each year to disband the union if the union continues to fail at securing adequate compensation relative to the private sector? Why should the union be a protected monopoly if it is failing these hard working public servants at securing compensation in line with the private sector? Don't these teachers and public servants deserve better?

Posted by: cdosquared5
-----------------------------------------
Unions are forced to represent All workers under their Contracts. Some of that Requires Hiring Lawyers and other legal advantages that Cost Members Money and are expensive. Freeloaders are Freeloaders!

Wisconsin Public Employees do not earn more than Private Business Counter parts; including Benefits they earn 8.2% less.

In many Cases Business provide Higher pay and Better Benefits to Keep workers from Organizing and Threaten to take them away if they unionize.

Posted by: ddoiron1 | February 24, 2011 10:33 AM | Report abuse

"There's nothing incriminating here."

Wow, Ezra, how low are your expectations? So, the admission of considering planting troublemakers in the crowd isn't incriminating? The acceptance of the offer to be feted by Koch after doing his dirty work isn't incriminating? The disingenuous offer to talk with the democrats while ruling out any meaningful negotiation isn't incriminating? How sad for our democracy.

I love the union bashing. How stupid you people are, so envious of people who may be making slightly more than you in total compensation, yet so forgiving of those who steal billions and pass horrendous social, health and environmental costs onto the rest of us. If unions are the problem, how come things have gotten worse and worse for Main St. over the last few decades while union membership and power has waned?

The public unions in Wisconsin have foregone pay raises for two years, and have agreed to everything that the governor wants except for giving up their collective bargaining rights, and they're the bad guys? This is supposedly about a budget emergency, yet it's at a standstill over collective bargaining - how can giving up these rights solve a short term budget problem? If Walker is so concerned about the fiscal situation, why did he give $140 million in tax breaks to big business? And how is this an emergency when the budget restructuring deal would save far more ($165M) than this year's budget deficit ($137M)?

Do you people think we'll be better off without unions? Sans unions we'd have almost no rights on the job, no workplace safety, much worse pay and benefits, and on and on. Non-union workplaces have to treat employees decently because of the threat of unionization. People died for our labor rights. Ever hear about the Ludlow Massacre, the Pacific Dockworkers Strike, the West VA Coal Wars?

Even Ronald Reagan said "One of the most elemental human rights [is] the right to belong to a free trade union."

Wake up, people.

Posted by: jshaw2100 | February 24, 2011 10:34 AM | Report abuse

If the Dem's want to speak with Gov. Walker so badly, they should get back to WI and go to work. He shouldn't have to take their phone calls...he should be able to see them in the work place. Period.

Posted by: Bsl1 | February 24, 2011 11:29 AM | Report abuse

Mr. Klein:

I really don't understand how you were able to twist what Governor Walker stated in a phone interview the other day. My thoughts were that you either didn't understand what you heard the Governor say or you are just a hard core Republican that will twist the truth to reflect a positive image on anyone that represents your political ideology. Either way, you should disqualify yourself from being considered an "unbias" reporter; that you are not.

Posted by: Senor52 | February 24, 2011 11:29 AM | Report abuse

EZRA writes: "To Walker's credit, he doesn't say anything incriminating."

O Contraire! Ezra, he says plenty of things that are not just embarassing, but incriminating. He admits directly that this is about nothing but busting public employee unions. Walker was excited and eager to talk to the fake Koch, was eager to appease the fake Koch (re: baseball bat: "you'll like that"), he asks for coordination from an outside group for his fellow Republicans in Wisconsin as well as those in other states, specifically asking for "messaging" to promote the union busting. He agrees that Mika Brzezinski is "a nice piece of @&&," agrees that David Axelrod is an "SOB," agrees that members of the media and his opposition are "b*st*rds," reports he thought about sending in "trouble makers" to cause "ruckus," admits his supporters have been outnumbered by the protesters on the ground -- although he refuses to believe the vast majority are Wisconsinites, he admits this strategy was well in place long before his election, culiminating with a post Super Bowl celebration "just before we drop the bomb," which is why he was rushing this through, he never once mentions the budget deficit that is supposed to be the reason for this emergency repair bill.

Ezra, I and others who have listened to this tape thoroughly, find plenty of incriminating evidence. Unfortunately, the media will make light of this suggesting it's just a "liberal blogger," exactly the opposite of their reaction to the doctored videos promoted by Andrew Breitbart (who the fake Koch says was on the ground and the real Walker is giddy about).

The faked ACORN video, New Black Panther Party video, the doctored Shirley Sherrod video, the new Planned Parenthood faked videos (by another Breitbart associate who played the underage hooker in the ACORN video)... all got heavy media play on non-FOX TV. This wasn't two radio shock jocks trying to be cute.

Ian Murphy didn't put words into the mouth of Scott Walker. The 20 minutes of audio have Walker rambling on and on, freely and enthusiastically.

Don't take this lightly, Ezra, as Walker revealed the men behind the curtain: the Koch Brothers.

Posted by: jade_7243 | February 24, 2011 11:34 AM | Report abuse

Once again in liberal fantasy land up is down and black is white.

Ezra gets his frilly panties in a bunch because, he claims, democrat senators cannot reach Walker by phone.

So this, according to mental midget Ezra is worse than THE DEMOCRATS LEAVING THE STATE?

I would ask for a little intellectual honesty from Ezra but he is 0 for 2 on that account.

- No intellect
- No honesty

Posted by: manbearpig4 | February 24, 2011 1:48 PM | Report abuse

This man should be taken out of Office, he is not honest, and he is a deal maker!
He will never be trusted!
Republicans, or Democrats when found performing any inappropriate behavior should not be allow to serve the people who unfortunately voted them as their Governor!
Shame on Walker, perhaps he attended the same school as the former governor of Chicago!

Posted by: irapinto2004 | February 24, 2011 3:45 PM | Report abuse

Something readers won't find in the Post:

"…While Alinsky might agree that we gotta take the bastards down, he surely would have pointed out that we gotta be flexible and subtle in the way we go about it. The prank call to Gov. Scott Walker is the sort of humorous tactic of which Alinsky might have approved, but as Charles Sykes of Milwaukee's WTMJ-AM reports, the caller, Ian Murphy, had his "last great brush with fame" when he wrote an article titled "F--- the Troops":

‘So, 4000 rubes are dead. Cry me the Tigris. Another 30,000 have been seriously wounded. Boo f---king hoo. They got what they asked for--and cool robotic limbs, too... Likely, just reading the above paragraph made you uncomfortable But why?
The benevolence of America's "troops" is sacrosanct. Questioning their rectitude simply isn't done. It's the forbidden zone. We may rail against this tragic war, but our soldiers are lauded by all as saints. Why? They volunteered to partake in this savage idiocy, and for this they deserve our utmost respect? I think not.’" --Ian Murphy

The question is: Does Murphy hate Gov. Walker more than he hates our troops?

http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748703408604576164391424480436.html?mod=djemBestOfTheWeb_h

Posted by: ChesDead | February 24, 2011 5:10 PM | Report abuse

Ezra, I am surprised at your comment that Walker did NOT say anything "incriminating" during his psuedo call with Koch. I beg the difference, he certainly make a few incriminating comments, especially as a governor. Walker thought about inserting a riot into the protestors. Walker also implies clearly that he motive is to union bust and nothing more. WI needs to have him RECALLED asap. Walker does NOT have what it takes to lead the folks in WI or any other state.
Ezra, I still enjoy your articles and seeing you on MSNBC.

Posted by: netstoy | February 25, 2011 12:14 AM | Report abuse

Where were all the democrats the day of primary voting? How did people allow this corrupt conspirator (Scott Walker) into the Wisconsin Governorship, clearly, criminal and ethical charges lodged against this Governor should be sought, Walker should be exposed for his political corruption, tossed out of office, or forced to resign, if not tried for crimes against people. Walker could not wait for the day to dismiss 5,000 or more people so he could gloat his winnings with all his cronies thereafter strategizing with his counter-parts to blame the President for the continuation of jobs loss, and jobs not yet established. Do they really believe that we the people are that stupid? Walker and John Kasich are not for the people but rather, represent corruption to organize political crimes to destroy working class people for the enrichment of their pockets and U.S. Corporations. When will people GET IT that all these flagrant acts and political moves are further attempts to make sure President Obama does not return into office for (4) four more years. Now, were faced with serious republican attacks on rights for women, shut down of government, eradication of middle class, entitlements, poor healthcare, unemployed, no jobs, and once again we have republican madness. Now, we must fight with more votes than ever to get them exposed and removed from office having to fight their billionaires to do so. Are we to believe that their agenda is to make our America a world of two (2) classes made up by elites and deprived? Yes, just like some of the existing regimes fighting for Real Freedom! The Tea Party is a sham. Get on board democrats wake-up for we are under assault by some of these corrupt fat cat politicians. Oh, and let us not forget Glen Beck, Sara Palin, Michelle Bachman, Rush, Boehner, and all the mad and twisted corrupt republican incumbents that are liars, cheaters and possibly criminals that hold powerful seats that play with our lives. We must expose these scoundrels that reek of destruction thereby creating chaos of our Great United States of America. Stay alert 2012 is near; in the meantime, we must fight the fight and squash their games of play before they successfully squash our life styles completely and entirely. These republican political leaders will remain rich, happy, having a political ball of their life filled with laughter and play every day and night on and behind the scenes, enjoying their political jobs of making easy money leaving their children an inheritance of great monetary gain with their true agenda of taking care of themselves and their family. Sadly, this is at the expense of we the people and we still do not GET IT. Nonetheless, we still travel to the polls Election Day and click, punch, and/or write-in candidates, voting for these elite, slick, deceiving Republicans, with the belief they are going to look out for America’s issues for the betterment of we the people.

Posted by: Linda42 | February 25, 2011 4:14 AM | Report abuse

Do you know what the most damning quote in that conversation is? Walker to "Koch" about the Dem senator he's know for years: "He's not one of us."

Posted by: rljacob | February 25, 2011 11:52 AM | Report abuse

Sott Walker = hero

Barack Obama = swine

Ezra Klein = boy

Posted by: Azarkhan | February 26, 2011 1:05 PM | Report abuse

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