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Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Walker has a Koch and an aspirin

by digby

If these tapes of Governor David Walker aren't real it's a pretty good hoax. Not because it's hard to fake a phone call. But because of this passage in which he allegedly says this:

WALKER: You've got a few of the radical ones -- unfortunately, one of them's the minority leader -- but most of the rest of them are just looking for a way to get out of this. They're scared out of their minds. They don't know what it means. There's a bunch of recalls up against them. They'd really like to just get back up here and get it over with. So the paycheck thing, some of the other things threatening them, I think collectively there's enough going on, and as long as they don't think I'm going to cave, which again we have no interest in. An interesting idea that was brought up to me by my chief of staff, we won't do it until tomorrow, is putting out an appeal to the Democratic leader. 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. They can recess it... the reason for that, we're verifying it this afternoon, 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 it's turned 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 capitol with all 14 of them. My sense is, hell. I'll talk. 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.

Any hoaxster who can come up with that level of detail deserves some kind of award. If it's real, Walker just admitted that he was luring Democrats into talks so that he could get a quick quorum and then stab them in the back. I'd think he was pretty wily if he wasn't spilling the beans to a phone prankster.

The rest of the call is worth listening to. Governor Walker sounds like a very confident fellow who doesn't seem to realize just how deeply he's gone over the edge. Nobody's going to mistake him for a statesman, that's for sure. But he does have a rather lugubrious Nixonian air about him which should stand him in good stead in GOP politics.

You can hear the call here.

*In case you didn't know about The Buffalo Beast, it was founded by Matt Taibbi and friends. It's a gonzo alternative paper (which I hadn't heard of either, but will certainly be a regular stop from now on.)

Update: The Governor admits he had the conversation and that the tape of the call is accurate.

Update II: And no, this is not like the ACORN videos. First, and most important, they were edited in ways that made them misleading. The Governor admits the tapes are real. (And the Buffalo Beast says that they would have made it much funnier if it were a joke -- which I suspect is true.)

Second, this is a high level public figure whose words reflect actual policy and strategy, not some low level clerk acting on his or her own.

Third, this is someone one could expect to verify who he's talking to, and guard his words in the middle of a national controversy.

Fourth, it's damning that Walker would take a call from "David Koch" and be this forthcoming but it has little in common with the cartoon racist subtext of the ACORN stuff.