July 12, 2015

It seems we have a new term for simply telling the truth about Scott Walker's record in Wisconsin -- "trash talk." From this Friday's The Ed Show on MSNBC, while discussing prematurely announced presidential contender Walker's poll numbers in Iowa, The Progressive's Ruth Conniff did a very good job of laying out why voters should be wary of Walker and detailing what his record has been as governor of his state.

That of course was met with much whining and consternation from former Koch brothers employee and Bushie, Republican strategist Matt Schlapp. For anyone not familiar with Schlapp, here's a bit of his profile from Cove Strategies:

Matt Schlapp has nearly twenty years of government, corporate and political experience which led him to join his wife in founding Cove Strategies, a legislative, communications and political consulting firm.

Schlapp’s executive branch experience started in President George W. Bush’s first administration where he became a deputy assistant to the president, and his political director. During his tenure at the White House, Schlapp advised the President, the Vice President, members of the cabinet, senior White House staff and has extensive contact with Members of Congress and federal agencies.

Schlapp’s Capital Hill experience started in 1994 where he worked for 5 years as a press secretary, chief of staff and campaign manager. He transitioned from the Hill to the presidential election in 2000 in Austin, where he served as a regional political director.

After the 2004 cycle, Schlapp joined Koch Industries, headquartered in his hometown of Wichita, Kansas, as Vice President of Federal Affairs at Koch Companies Public Sector, LLC. In this role he directed the major federal public policy strategies on environmental and energy policies, financial markets, legal reform, and international and domestic tax issues.

So who better to hear from defending Walker than a man who used to work for the company that's bought and sold him in Wisconsin? Got to keep things "fair and balanced."

Schlapp of course had absolutely no defense of Walker at all other than to say, he won reelection and to call laying out the facts about his record "trash talk." You'll notice he didn't actually rebut a single item that Conniff discussed in the clip above. He mainly just seemed irritated that guest host Ari Melber didn't cut her off and let her keep talking about Walker's record. If this segment was on Fox, she'd have been cut off and talked over from the first sentence that came out of her mouth. Thankfully, Melber just let her go despite the rumblings from Schlapp.

Here's a rough transcript for anyone that can't watch the clip.

CONNIFF: Well, I think that Scott Walker is well positioned. I think there's a long race ahead, so we don't know where he's going, but what Walker's done with Wisconsin is to divide the state, to be enormously appealing to an angry base, to really stir up division among even families where, you're attacking your neighbors who are school teachers and firefighters. Trying to take down people's wages. Take away their pensions. Say that if you don't have a lot, then your neighbor shouldn't have a lot either.

It's been really a long and wearing process to have him as governor. Even members of his own party have kind of had it. His budget is incredibly unpopular. As you noted in the intro, cutting education, slashing the University of Wisconsin by $250 million, taking us down in job creation to the very bottom rank among states and the very bottom of our region.

So I think a lot of that is going to come out and he's going to look less shiny, but he is a real right winger, so he speaks to the base in Iowa. When he talks about shutting down Planned Parenthood, when he talks about the no exceptions bans on abortion, you know, he takes these positions and he has a lot of credibility and he also is very affable. He comes off as sort of smooth, so he doesn't necessarily suffer from the optics that the other really right wing candidates do (crosstalk) who are beholden to people who are fanatics.


MELBER: On that point Ruth, Gov. Chris Christie has seen his numbers drop to the thirties and a lot of it has been about the scrutiny on the way he does business, on his schtick, on his bravado, on what many people feel is his sort of nasty, bullying side, which relates to some policy choices he made, but is a matter of style. You seem to be suggesting that Scott Walker, who may have done things in the state that affect people in far deeper or problematic ways seems to be getting away with it because partly you're saying he's a good political communicator.

CONNIFF: Yes, although I think he has a Christie-like problem. When you look at the job creation agency that he created and the gifts that were given, largely to Republican contributors, 60 percent to contributors either directly to Walker or the Republican party of Wisconsin, folks who outsource jobs, who got big grants that they never had to account for, who didn't employ anybody with the money, who actually moved their manufacturing out of the country and out of the state afterwards.

There are a number of large scandals like that that are going to affect Walker. His attempt to shut down open records in Wisconsin, The Progressive was part of a lawsuit about it, you know, telling people you can't get information on what's going on in the state. And then as we're pursuing the lawsuit that will likely be successful trying to change the law itself so that it's no longer possible to gain information on what government is doing. I mean, these are not good facts. And I think as they come out it will damage him in the national race.

MELBER: Matt, go ahead.

SCHLAPP: Yeah, well, you know, we tried to do this when Bill Clinton ran for president after being a long term governor of Arkansas and you can keep trashing him all you want about in Wisconsin. The facts are the facts. He won in that blue to purple state and he won over and over and over again and yes he's... he's got enemies in the state and he's made tough decisions, but that state has rewarded him with victory.

And the fact is is this, you can trash his record all you want. The reason why he's doing so well is because he seems like somebody who people can respect, because he tells them what he believes and what he's going to do and then he simply does it, and he even does it when the politics of it are tough. So the more you trash him, the more I actually think you're helping him, because he seems to persevere under all this trash talk.

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