February 1, 2015

On the talking head show "Up with Steve Kornacki" on MSNBC, they were discussing the panel of GOP presidential wannabes now that Mittens Rmoney has dropped out of contention.

During the discussion, Jamelle Bouie, a staff writer at Slate, made the jaw-dropping comment that Scott Walker would be the candidate to watch because he doesn't have Jeb Bush's baggage of being an establishment, big money kind of guy and he doesn't have Chris Christie's scandals. Bouie also said that Walker enjoys the support of a group of conservative billionaires.

Well, the last part of that is accurate. Walker has benefited greatly from conservative billionaires like the Koch brothers, Sheldon Adelson and Michael Grebe of the Bradley Foundation. The support has been direct through cash donations and indirectly through dark money groups and the propagandist groups they support.

But the first two points are way off base.

As for the scandals go, Walker outdoes Christie. Walker is the only governor to be the subject of not just one, but two, John Doe investigations.

The first investigation resulted in the arrest, charging and conviction of six of Walker's closest friends, aides and supporters. The crimes included illegal campaign donations, illegally using government equipment, time and employees to do campaign work, stealing from a veterans fund and trying to entice an underage boy for sex.

The second investigation involved the illegal collaboration between Walker's campaign and the dark money special interest groups funded by those conservative billionaires. Court documents revealed that prosecutors felt that Walker was running a "criminal scheme."

Even though Walker himself has yet to be charged, Walker's own emails confirm that the level of collaboration was deep and pervasive. Hell, Walker was even directing donors to give money to the Wisconsin Club for Growth so that they could get around campaign financial laws.

One of these donors was the mining company Gogebic Taconite LLC, who gave $700,000 to the Club for Growth. Not coincidentally, G-Tac had a mining bill that they wrote rammed through and signed by Walker, allowing them to open a mine in the pristine Northwoods of Wisconsin without having to worry about silly little things like pollution regulation or human safety.

Coincidentally, the Walkergate emails also reveal that Walker is very much an establishment man through his close ties to RNC head Reince Priebus. One email shows that Priebus was giving away the strategy of Walker opponent Mark Green to Walker's campaign.

More recently, Priebus was championing Walker for a presidential bid as early as August 2014. While I can't say I know all the ins and outs of the RNC rules about this, I do believe that it is bad form for the party to start endorsing a candidate before they announced, much less won the primary.

All of which should make the other GOP presidential wannabes wonder if they can even trust Priebus and the RNC to allow a clean primary.

And none of this includes the other baggage that Walker is carrying, including, but in no way limited to:

  • Driving the state's economy into the ground
  • Running up a $2 billion deficit
  • Wanting to borrow more and more money to cover that deficit (and give more to his campaign contributors
  • Being last in the Midwest and bottom part of the nation in job creation
  • Governor Ultrasound
  • Pushing plantation economics (known at the misnamed "Right to Work"

Oh, the list does go on and on.

What I find most disconcerting about this is that Walker stands a better than decent chance of being the GOP nominee if this is the kind of research and commentary we can receive from the national media. One of the reasons that Walker was able to win three times in the last four years is because the local media didn't do their jobs in accurately reporting things. They either minimized or completely ignored the problems and malfeasance tied to Walker.

The national media needs to step up their game in holding Walker and the other GOP miscreants accountable.

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