The Washington Post

The Dems’ closing argument against Scott Walker

With exactly a week to go until the election on whether to recall Scott Walker, the Democrats have settled on their closing argument: Vote Walker out because his serial dishonesty about his true ideological agenda has torn the state in half.

Dems are pointing to a new episode to buttress their case in the closing days, one in which three Democratic members of the house of Representative are suggesting that Walker may have lied to Congress.

As you know, video recently surfaced of a private conversation between Walker and a Wisconsin billionaire, in which Walker vowed a “divide and conquer” strategy against unions, as his “first step.”

Now, in a development that’s attracted surprisingly little national press attention, Dem Reps. Elijah Cummings, Gerry Connolly, and Chris Murphy — all members of the House oversight committee — are pointing out that the “divide and conquer” quote seems to contradict testimony Walker gave before their committee in August of 2011.

Dems point out that in that testimony, Rep. Connolly asked Walker whether he had even had any conversation in which he had alluded to his “actions in Wisconsin and using them to punish members of the opposition party and their donor base.” Walker’s response: “No.”

“Do you now wish to withdraw your sworn testimony?” the three Dem members have asked Walker in a letter.

This matter seems to be taken seriously by some local Wisconsin media. Reporters pressed Walker on the allegations, but he declined to address them in substantive terms, brushing them off as “political.” Meanwhile, the AP has reported that a Walker spokesman isn’t saying whether he’d be responding to the three Dems.

It seems pretty clear that if Walker is going to respond, he’ll do so after the recall election, which is set for next Tuesday. But whether he does or not, this latest episode highlights what has become central to the Wisconsin recall fight: The core question of whether Walker’s reforms represented a good faith effort to solve Wisconsin’s budget problems, or whether Walker has always been committed to an ideological agenda that he concealed from voters, and whether his dishonesty about that agenda is to blame for unleashing the political turmoil that has badly divided the state.

That later argument, of course, has become the Dems’ closing argument against Walker. For a sense of how this argument is playing, check out the anti-Walker ad just released by the Greater Wisconsin Committee:

Greg Sargent writes The Plum Line blog, a reported opinion blog with a liberal slant -- what you might call “opinionated reporting” from the left.


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