Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Scott Walker Press Conference Tried To Turn Public Support Against Wisconsin Democrats, Referencing News Corp. Owned Wall Street Journal Report...

Here is an excerpt from a Kris Alingod article for All Headline News:
Wisconsin Democrats are refuting a report that they plan to end their boycott in the state Senate and allow an anti-union bill to pass. Gov. Scott Walker plans to curb collective bargaining despite protests, which have caused security issues in the capitol and a Democratic lawmaker to be tackled to the ground by police.

Rallies by thousands of pro-union protesters at the capitol entered its fourth week on Monday as the impasse in the Senate continued.

The Wall Street Journal cited Democratic Minority Leader Mark Miller as saying Democrats plan to return soon and to let the full Senate vote on the budget bill that has ignited nationwide labor unrest.

According to the Journal, Miller said voter discontent and increasing opposition to the budget plan would give Democrats more leverage to seek amendments to the bill.

But state Sen. Chris Larson issued a statement on Facebook saying Miller's statements were "taken out of context."

"Dems will return when collective bargaining is off the table," Larson said. That could be soon based on the growing public opposition to the bill and the recall efforts against Republicans."

"The WSJ fished for the quote they wanted, skipping this key step in logic: we won't come back until worker's rights are preserved," he added.
I find it interesting that this report came from the Wall Street Journal because the newspaper is a division of News Corporation, which also owns conservative cable channel Fox News, and Fox News has been a staunch defender of the governor and his plans to destroy the unions.

In addition to the Wall Street Journal's out-of-context reporting, Scott Walker tried to spin the story by claiming he has been secretly meeting with two of the absent Democrats and that they were ready to come home and capitulate - a claim the two Democrats deny.  Walker is trying to turn the public, who are currently on the side of the Democrats and their defense of collective bargaining, against them.  Walker also "speculated" in his press release that Washington labor leaders have told Senate Democrats to not return.

David Weigel wrote the following for Slate:
"We've been negotiating," he said. "Senators Cullen and Jogt have been in negotiations; Senators Marcy and Taylor are bomb throwers."

Walker went even further, asking the public to consider whether Sen. Mark Miller, the Democratic leader, was being bossed around by out-of-staters.

"On Sunday they said that [collective bargaining] was the only thing to negotiate," he said, citing a Wall Street Journal story that reported on possible Democratic plans to return to the state. "I have to assume that some of those labor leaders have invested millions and millions of dollars in this state got on the phone. It makes you wonder who's making his [Miller's] decisions." Hint, hint, Democrats: "They need to ask whether Sen. Miller is right leader for them."

At another point, Walker snarked that the Democrats might develop a new strategy upon seeing "the last two polls." Most polling, of course, has actually shown Walker losing ground in the standoff -- this this attempt to jujitsu the Democrats' offers to negotiate by saying they're acting in bad faith.
Walker is attempting to give the appearance that Democrats are not acting on behalf of the people, but for a special interest, and Walker tries to make the Republicans sound reasonable, but as Weigel points out, Walker mentions a couple of polls, but most polling indicates the public backs the Democrats.  It is also interesting that Walker is gloating about meeting with Democrats and working on a compromise when he has come out publicly for weeks stating he would not budge, and in a recorded conversation with prank caller Ian Murphy, Walker indicated a willingness to deceive Democrats in order to trick them into coming back to Wisconsin Republicans could then force a vote.

Greg Sargent wrote the following for Washington Post's The Plum Line:
In the presser, Walker made the surprising claim that two senate Democrats were privately negotiating with him and senate Republicans to reach a deal to end the impasse. As Eric Kleefeld reports, Walker singled out Dem senators Tim Cullen and Bob Jauch, claiming that they had met with Walker and Republicans near the Illinois state line in an effort to reach some kind of compromise. Walker then charged that Dem leaders keep blocking these efforts.

But in going public with this claim about Cullen and Jauch, Walker has only succeeded in antagonizing them and making them less inclined to deal with him, senator Chris Larson just told me in an interview.

"Walker just knocked down the last two people who thought Walker could be reasonable," said Larson, who said he had heard this directly from the senators in question on a call after the Walker presser. "He threw those two guys under the bus. It hardened their resolve."

Jauch himself has adamantly denied Walker's characterization of ongoing discussions, saying he has not been trying to reach a deal with the governor independent of other Dems.

It was widely rumored and reported last night that Dems were close to reaching some kind of agreement to come back to Wisconsin. Those reports appear to have been overstated, and if anything, Larson said, Walker's presser has now made it even less likely that Dems will return.
“This press conference was nothing more than a personal attack on Sen. Miller designed to split the caucus,” said Senator Fred Risser of Madison. “But it only unified us more. We are 100 percent behind Miller.”

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