From my email inbox comes this guest post by Graeme Zielinski.
A prominent Milwaukee reporter told me a chilling story once that is vital to understanding Scott Walker.
The reporter’s wife was in a Bible study group with Walker’s wife Tonette, who was that day in charge of the discussion. The readings involved Christ’s final trip to Calvary.
According to this reporter, the group recoiled in horror when Tonette Walker sought to compare Christ’s Passion with her husband’s political fortunes, and his persecutors with those persecutors of Jesus who wreathed Him in thorns.
The women of the group were aghast, naturally, at the near-blasphemy of the suggestion but Tonette Walker persevered.
This was back when Walker was merely the executive ruining Milwaukee County and illegally running his campaign out of his public office, but the lessons hold just as true today, as Walker grasps toward the Republican presidential nomination.
In this quest, Scott Walker recently gave a speech in a Confederate state where he revealed, for the first time, that his mother and son were spit upon (just as Christ was spit upon) during the early days of the recall while at a supermarket.
Forget that his family and he have their own Praetorian Guard. Forget that this is the first time that this incident ever was mentioned, and he chose Alabama for the revelation. And forget that this is almost certainly a steaming load of horseshit.
What this is, again, is Walker (and Walker Republicans) portraying themselves as martyrs as a crass distraction by way of nimbus.
I can reveal here, for the first time, that I, too, was spit upon during the recall (in the left field smoking area of Miller Park at a Brewers game, with witnesses). That I too have received multiple death threats (some of the creepier ones which I forwarded to police). And that I have even been physically assaulted as a result of my time in the public eye, one time at a restaurant on my own block.
Some of this is the price is doing business.
Especially when the Tea Party was at its most rage-filled, Democratic lawmakers and leaders received all sorts of death threats and abuses, to say nothing of a president who is the most abused in modern time.
Part of the reason that you have not heard about the threats delivered to progressive leaders is part of a strategy that recognized that it was to the advantage of Republicans and, during the recall, Walker, to make the whole process look like a shit show. Every minute they’re talking about made-up reports of rocks or eggs being thrown or other phantom threats, they’re not talking about legitimate grievances with the harmful effects of certain policies. It didn’t help that an infinitesimal, but very real portion of otherwise peaceful protesters are assholes who pour beer on Robin Vos’ head.
Journal Communications, through its television, radio and newspaper properties, has been more than willing to portray peaceful protests as pell-mell riots (“Chaos in the Capitol!”), and to amplify every single Republican and Walker claim of victim-hood.
My favorite journalistic crime by these turds is the Republican Party of Wisconsin press release, without a named victim or a police report, that was reported AS FACT by the Journal Sentinel, claiming recall workers threw eggs at someone in a Waukesha County McDonald’s parking lot, even though there is no record of recall workers ever having worked there. Meanwhile, an actual federal conviction of a man threatening to blow up the Democratic Party of Wisconsin headquarters merited barely a paragraph in that same Walker-fied newspaper.
But another reason you have not heard about the victim-hood of progressive leaders by Walker supporters, and of lowly hacks like myself, is that it is just unseemly to play the victim.
The 100,000 people losing their BadgerCare in coming months? THEY’RE victims. The tens of thousands of rural women losing health care because of Walker’s war on Planed Parenthood? THEY’RE victims. The hundreds of thousands of job seekers who’ve seen Walker turn Wisconsin into a jobless economy in his pursuit of a failed and bizarre Tea Party ideology? THEY’RE VICTIMS.
But not if you ask Walker, who, from his time getting kicked out of student elections at Marquette University for dirty tricks, has understood that it’s easier always to play the martyr.
Especially if you’re the one doing the stoning.