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Thursday, June 26, 2014

Right-Wing Tiger Eats Scott Walker

Scott Walker
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President John F. Kennedy warned emerging foreign leaders about turning to political tyranny, saying: “Those who foolishly sought power by riding the back of the tiger ended up inside.”

Washington Post columnist E. J. Dionne recently applied it to cast away House Majority Leader Eric Cantor who aided and abetted the extremist tea party takeover of the Republican Party until it devoured him.

Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker could be the next to disappear down the gullet of the vicious beast.

It seems like a Wisconsin Democrat’s fondest dream: Headlines all across the country reporting accusations by prosecutors that Walker directed a vast “criminal scheme” illegally coordinating millions of dollars from outside groups benefiting himself and his political allies.

The juiciest tidbit: Evidence supporting the accusations includes a personal email from Walker to right-wing political operative Karl Rove bragging about the success of the alleged conspiracy.

But here’s the amazing part you need to know. It wasn’t Democrats who were behind the public release of those damaging documents Time magazine says have now put Walker’s political career “in the political equivalent of critical condition.”

It was right-wing Republicans.

The John Doe investigation into the coordination between the Walker campaign and 12 supposedly independent right-wing groups is usually secret since it uncovers evidence before any charges are filed.

But it was Eric O’Keefe, director of Wisconsin Club for Growth, the right-wing organization prosecutors say was the “hub” for distribution of millions of dollars, who first brought the secret John Doe into the public eye.

O’Keefe publicly identified himself as a target of the secret investigation in The Wall Street Journal and filed a lawsuit to try to shut down the investigation as a violation of his organization’s free speech rights.

To understand why, you have to understand the role of The Wall Street Journal in right-wing politics today.

 

Murdoch Paper Warns Walker Not to Settle

The Wall Street Journal, the daily bible of American business, has long been recognized for the quality of its journalism. It still is.

But since The Wall Street Journal was acquired in 2007 by right-wing billionaire Rupert Murdoch, the ethically challenged owner of Fox News and other sleazy tabloid operations worldwide, its editorial pages have become the personal lobby of the right-wing billionaires financing today’s ever-more-extreme Republican Party.

The Wall Street Journal and organizations like Club for Growth want to use the Walker John Doe as a vehicle for the Supreme Court to extend its horrendous Citizens United decision to eliminate all regulations against candidates controlling millions of dollars from outside political groups who don’t have to disclose their donors.

O’Keefe claimed publicly releasing documents in the Wisconsin investigation would show that prosecutors were conducting a political witch hunt without any basis in the law. It didn’t exactly turn out that way for Walker, did it? 

Walker saw his political destruction coming a mile away. That’s why a few weeks ago reports circulated that Walker’s attorney was trying to negotiate a plea bargain to minimize the damage to Walker before November’s election.

Incensed, The Wall Street Journal issued a direct order to Walker from his billionaire masters: Don’t you dare settle the case!

Its editorial described the Walker John Doe as a rare opportunity to completely demolish campaign finance laws and berated Walker for wanting to cut it short:

“Mr. Walker is a hero to many for his fight against public unions, but he will tarnish that image if he sells out the cause for some short-term re-election reassurance.”

So Walker apparently obediently dropped any attempted settlement and was almost immediately engulfed by the tsunami of damaging national publicity placing him at the center of a “criminal scheme.”

Walker’s only remaining defense was to lie shamelessly on Fox News, the only news venue that wouldn’t challenge him with facts.

Walker pretended all those damaging accusations had already been disproven by favorable Wisconsin court decisions, including one by a federal judge. The case had been “resolved,” Walker claimed. “No charges, case over.”

Only in Walker’s dreams. Everyone who knew anything about the case, including the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel’s Walker-friendly PolitiFact Wisconsin column, declared Walker’s public assertions to be false.

The key federal court decision was a totally bizarre one by U.S. Judge Rudolph Randa, a member of the ultraconservative Federalist Society who regularly attends judicial “retreats” sponsored by the right-wing billionaire Koch brothers and the Bradley Foundation.

Randa not only ordered the investigation shut down, but, incredibly, ordered evidence already collected to be destroyed.

That evidence would include the “smoking gun” email in which Walker boasted to Rove that his team, led by R.J. Johnson, working for both the Walker campaign and Wisconsin Club for Growth, was “wildly successful” in coordinating spending in nine recall races.

The Seventh Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals in Chicago immediately blocked the destruction of evidence and could overturn Randa entirely any day now.

Meanwhile, Walker continues to slide down the voracious maw of the right-wing tiger.