Most of reporter Ian Murphy's prank call to Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker was fairly innocuous. Governor Walker, who thought he was talking to billionaire Tea Party backer David Koch, laid out some of his strategies for luring the 14 missing Democratic state senators back to Wisconsin. His proposals included an embarrassingly toothless plan to try to bring ethics charges against the state senators if they were being "paid up" by unions while outside of the state, and a proposal to withhold the Senators' paychecks from them.
To some, this whole ordeal was even a little bit funny. How could a sitting governor get so badly fooled as to think this guy in Buffalo was David Koch? The sheer incompetence of Governor Walker must at least be worthy of a chuckle, right?
But I am not laughing.
I am furious.
When the fake David Koch told the governor that he was thinking about planting troublemakers in the crowd, Governor Walker responded by admitting, "We thought about that."
I have been in the Capitol for the last 10 days, and it has been nothing but peaceful. Things have been so peaceful, as a matter of fact, that the Madison Police released the following statement to the protesters last Saturday:
"You conducted yourselves with great decorum and civility, and if the eyes of the nation were upon Wisconsin, then you have shown how democracy can flourish even amongst those who passionately disagree."
On the day of the dual Tea Party and pro-union protests, no major incidents were reported and no arrests were made.
The fact that Governor Walker even considered deliberately sending "troublemakers" into the Capitol to put my safety and the safety of thousands of his other constituents at risk should at the very least be grounds for impeachment. It should be noted that on Wednesday afternoon at the Capitol I saw two elderly women in wheelchairs and at least five small children who were there with their parents.
Of course, Governor Walker didn't actually send in these "troublemakers." However, his explanation for why he refrained may be even more damaging than the admission itself. Here's the full text from the conversation.
Murphy (as Koch): Right, right. Well, we'll back you any way we can. But, uh, what we were thinking about the crowds was, uh, was planting some troublemakers.
Walker: You know, the, well, the only problem with that -- because we thought about that. The problem -- the, my only gut reaction to that is right now the lawmakers I've talked to have just completely had it with them, the public is not really fond of this. The teachers union did some polling of focus groups, I think, and found out that the public turned on 'em the minute they closed school down for a couple days.
Governor Walker refrained from sending thugs to assault the people in the Capitol not because it was a dangerous, felonious, and borderline tyrannical act, but rather because it was not politically expedient.
I think I speak for all my compatriots who have been with me at the Capitol when I say Governor Walker should be ashamed of himself, and the public must hold him accountable for these comments.