What Wealth Buys In Politics: A Crank Call To Gov. Scott Walker

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Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker got pranked. A talk show host, claiming to be conservative moneybags David Koch, called up the governor to talk about the union showdown in the state. Walker did not really say much different in private than he would have in public. (“Yeah, good stuff,” Walker says about Andrew Brietbart, at one point, but that’s not really a giveaway.) But he did talk to Koch for about 20 minutes, giving him chapter and verse of his strategy in the union showdown.

Notably he does not take the fake David Koch’s bait at several points. The AFL-CIO just blasted out a partial transcript making light of one passage:

WALKER:  So, we’re trying about 4 or 5 different angles so each day we crank up a little bit more pressure, but the other thing I’ve got layoff notices ready, we’ll put out the risk notices, we’ll announce Thursday, they’ll go out early next week, probably 5 to 6, 000 state workers will get at risk notices of layoffs, we might rachet that up a little bit too.

FAKE KOCH:  Beautiful, beautiful.  Got to crush that union.

WALKER:  Well, it’s one of those in the end, I talked to Cullen, I had 3 or 4 other of my business leader friends who known him over the years and just kind of pass the message on these guys, if they think I’m caving, [they've] been asleep the last eight years, I’ve taken on every major battle in Milwaukee County, and won even in a county where I’m overwhelmingly overpowered, is because we don’t budge.

Walker does make it clear that he envisions a nationwide, state-by-state push back by Republican governors in Ohio, Florida and possibly Michigan. “I talked to [Ohio Gov. John] Kasich the other day,” says Walker. “And John’s got to stand firm in Ohio. I think we do the same thing with [Gov.] Rick Scott in Florida. And [Michigan Gov. Rick] Snyder, if he got a little more support could do the same thing in Michigan. If you start going down the list, there are a lot of us new governors who got elected to do something big. . . . This is our moment.”

If anything, this call shows what money buys in politics. Not many Swampland readers can just call up the governor of a midwestern state in the middle of a crises for a 20 minute chat. But Walker took the call because Koch spends big in Republican and conservative politics, and Walker knows it.

For more on David Koch’s doings, see Jane Mayer’s excellent New Yorker piece. After the jump, the second installment of the video.

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