As if the political climate of Wisconsin could not become any worse, Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker has been entangled in a mess regarding a phone conversation he had with a reporter posing to be David Koch, a right-wing billionaire. The deception has been a topic of conversation among media outlets and the general public, but despite an apparent setback in the Governor’s plan to pass his proposed budget, Walker refuses to be derailed and states publicly that during the course of the conversation, no new information was put forth that was not already addressed publicly.
Events apparently unfolded as Ian Murphy, a blogger for a website calling itself the buffalobeast.com, phoned Gov. Walker’s office using Skype, a popular web conferencing tool, to claim he was a billionaire constituent. What resulted from the duping was Walker explaining to Murphy multiple strategies he hoped to implement in order to achieve his goals. Some of which include withholding Democratic lawmakers’ paychecks so they would be forced to resume their duties and issuing between 5,000-6,000 “risk” notices to state workers just to add pressure for Democrats to come back.
Gov. Walker continues to stand by his statements in the conversation, stating that his goal has always been to reduce the enormous deficit in Wisconsin and no new information has surfaced because of this incident. But many may disagree. The fact that an individual such as Koch could have so much power over an elected official is frightening. The Governor as well as the protesters remain steadfast on the issue of budget cuts as well as the issue of dissolving unions, and tensions continue to grow as progress fails to be made.
Although the conversation appears to have brought to light many questionable comments made by the Governor, the urgency to resolve the larger issue should not be blindsided by an almost comical incident involving a blogger. Republicans will continue to voice their support for Walker, stating that it is for the betterment of Wisconsin to follow through with the new budget and that he is motivated solely by time constraints and the best interest of the citizens of the state. Meanwhile, Democrats claim that the budget is designed to create a stranglehold over Democratic lawmakers and Walker stands to gain personally from such a bill being passed.
Regardless of the positions being held at this point, lawmakers and public officials should not fail to remember that the game of political agendas should not be played when the future of thousands of families is at risk and in limbo.