On Tuesday, conservative groups Citizens For
Republican Responsible Government (CRG) and the GrandSons of Liberty (GoL) issued a joint press release attacking Democratic State Sen. Chris Larson for Larson’s unwillingness to attend Gov. Walker’s “bipartisan” brat and beer summit (or, more fittingly, brats, beer, and bullshit: a festive farce).
In their press release attacking Sen. Larson, the usual cast of characters from CRG and GoL cited a recent Facebook status update by Larson as the words of an “arrogant, egotistical person” (their words, not mine). Here’s what Sen. Larson posted on the Facebook status update in question, in its entirety:
I won’t be attending Walker’s beer and brat event tomorrow. I’m watching Atticus all day while Jess is working.
I’m not opposed to bridging the divide in our state. But, we have to do it in a real way that actually means something. If Walker truly wants to find compromise and work together on jobs, education, and health care, he will convene a special legislative session now that there is actually a check on his power in the state senate. Let’s have a real conversation about where Wisconsin is headed.
If he doesn’t convene a special session, then tomorrow is just a distraction. He did these same meetings when he was Milwaukee County Exec and nothing came of it other than the media giving him a pass. Let’s hope they have learned from history.
Conveniently, the “nonpartisan” folks from CRG and GoL left out the first two parts of Larson’s status update regarding him watching his one-month old son and indicating he’s not opposed to bridging the divide in our state, instead choosing to selectively edit Larson’s status update to make it appear he wouldn’t be attending for nothing more than partisan reasons.
Reached by phone regarding the press release co-issued by the GrandSons of Liberty, Larry Gamble admitted to intentionally selectively editing Larson’s Facebook status update to leave out Larson’s statement that he would be watching his son, and Gamble also indicated that if Larson didn’t “make his wife go back to work” so soon after having their child he’d be able to attend Gov. Walker’s event along with his wife and child. When I asked Gamble if he knew the circumstances surrounding Sen. Larson’s wife returning to work – more specifically to back up his assertion Larson made his wife go back to work – Gamble indicated his statement was an attempt to be humorous (though it certainly didn’t seem like a joke to me). Gamble also admitted he had not attempted to contact Sen. Larson regarding Larson’s inability/unwillingness to attend Gov. Walker’s bipartisan brat and beer bonanza.
When asked why his organization had not issued a similar press release condemning Republican State Rep. Steven Nass for not attending Gov. Walker’s beer summit after Nass stated he would not attend because his feelings were hurt, Gamble stated three of the four individuals involved in the release were constituents of Sen. Larson, hence their desire to call him out. When I asked Gamble if his organization and its members were confined to Sen. Larson’s state senate district, Gamble admitted his organization had members statewide, but he reiterated his focus was on Sen. Larson’s partisanship.
Both CRG and GoL have members statewide, and the fact that they’d choose to attack a Democratic State Senator because he chose to stay home to take care of his one-month old son instead of attending Gov. Walker’s beer summit is simply galling. What’s more galling is the fact that those groups – and the individuals associated with them – chose to attack Chris Larson while ignoring a Republican lawmaker who boycotted the same event essentially because his feelings were hurt by Mike Tate. Despite their claims to be “nonpartisan,” it sure appears CRG and the GrandSons of Liberty aren’t really interested in bringing the same scrutiny (and attacks) to bear on members of both parties.
Shame on them…
Chris over at Cognitive Dissidence has his own take on this story that’s worth a read.