I watched Gov. Scott Walker’s press conference today, and reported on a bit of it, but all you need to know is encapsulated by this sneering, arrogant response to Senate Democratic Leader Mark Miller from Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald.
As you know, this legislation is designed to finally balance the state budget, prevent layoffs and create jobs in the real world. There are hundreds of thousands of unemployed or underemployed Wisconsinites, and at least 1,500 more whose jobs are in the balance because of your media stunt. We all deserve better than this.
In the meantime, members of your caucus have been meeting with the governor’s staff, talking to the media, trying to find a way back to Madison, and contradicting your message in public. In case you don’t remember, you were present yourself at one of those meetings with the governor’s staff. Your grasp of reality, and control of your caucus as minority leader, continues to amaze me.
As you know, your opportunity to compromise and amend the bill was on the floor of the state Senate. As you know, you forfeited that right and opportunity when you decided to flee the state instead of doing your job.
Your stubbornness in trying to ignore the last election and protect the broken status quo is truly shameful. While we wait for you and your colleagues to finally show up, Senate Republicans continue to stand ready to do the job we were elected to do, here in Wisconsin. I hope you are enjoying your vacation, and your vacation from reality.
Spoken like a true statesman.
At the same time that Walker and his allies rejected Miller’s offer of talks, and tried to sow discord between him and his caucus, the Governor actually had the gall to intimate that Miller was involved in secret phone calls with union backers, which account for the shift from a discredited Wall Street Journal article to today. This is the same Scott Walker heard on a secret phone call with his wealthy contributor David Koch, saying things that potentially violate state laws.
But the biggest misstep of the phone call was when Walker announced by name Tim Cullen and David Jauch, who both met with Scott Fitzgerald at a Kenosha-area McDonald’s last week. Walker’s gambit was to convince the press that some Senate Democrats were ready to return to Madison and work on the budget repair bill, but that Miller was blocking that progress. All this has succeeded in doing is to piss off Bob Jauch and Tim Cullen.
An agitated Jauch vehemently disputed the guv’s suggestion this afternoon that he and fellow Dem Sen. Tim Cullen have reached tentative deals with Republicans to break the impasse only to have Minority Leader Mark Miller undercut them.
He disputed the description of the talks they’ve had with Republicans as negotiations and said a meeting with Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald involved nothing more than discussing things like the landscape of both caucuses and how difficult it would be moving forward [...]
“Never, never has there been a suggestion that Tim Cullen and I would somehow abandon the other 12 for the sake of cutting a deal,” Jauch said. “That’s just an outrageous lie.”
Greg Sargent gets more confirmation of this in an interview with Sen. Chris Larson, who said that Cullen and Jauch felt betrayed by Walker’s lies and attempts to split them off from their colleagues.
I’ve been a little amazed with how clumsy Walker and his Republican allies have been in trying to trick the missing Democrats into returning to Madison. They have no problem lying about what some Democrats have told them, lies that are completely disprovable through a phone call. The attempts to pit the Democrats amongst themselves have been extremely transparent. These guys are playing in the minor leagues.
If Senate Democrats needed a shot of extra resolve to continue to block the plans of Scott Walker, they just got it… from Walker himself.