A Blueprint for a Takeover Wisconsin Republicans Lied While the Kochs Schemed – The Awl

Posted by on 2月 27, 2020

byAbe?

Sauer

ThesimplerhetoricoftheWisconsinbudgetbattleisthattheDemocratsarejust“thug”unions?

—?

andthatRepublicansarecarryingwaterforwealthycorporatesleaze。

It’smorecomplicatedthanthat。

Forone,severalteachers’unionsendorsedWisconsinRepublicanslastyear?

—?

unionsarehardlytheunthinkingautomatonsoftheleftthey’renowdepictedtobe。

Whywouldtheydothat?

Quitesimply,thoseRepublicanslookedintothefaceoftheirconstituents…and?

lied。

AsthemarqueebattleoverunionsandWalker’sbillishappeninginMadison,thetruefightoverchangestothestateishappeningelsewhere。

TheransackingofWisconsincannotbedonefromMadisonalone。

GovernorScottWalkerhasfurnishedthetools,butwhowillwieldthem?

We’vesketchedablueprintofhowstateRepublicansliedtotheirconstituentsandconspiredwithD。

C。

-basedwealth-fundedconservativethinktankstonotonlyassemblethe“tools”neededtodismantleprogressiveandmiddleclasspowerinWisconsinbutalsohowthoseorganizationstrained“mechanics”tousethosetoolstoget“freemarketconservatives”electedtolocalofficeslikecitycouncilsandschoolboards?

—?

sothatthentheycanbegintodismantlethem。

ItallstartsinSauk?

county。

Walker’sbudgettargetseducationforthebiggestcuts。

Thebilltakes$900millionfromK-12education(about9percentofthebudget)。

Apropertytaxcappreventsdistrictsfrommakingupthemoney。

Thebillalsocutshundredsofmillionsfromhighereducation,targetingeverythingfromtheUniversityofWisconsinsystemtotechnicaleducation。

ItisthemostdrasticcuttoeducationinWisconsinhistory。

AndthosewhosupportWalker’sbillhavenotedthatthestateelectedRepublicansin2010?

—?

sothecurrentbillshouldhavebeenexpectedandeveryoneshouldstop?

whining。

Saukcounty,northwestofMadison,isamicrocosmofthestateasawhole。

Farmers,progressivesandsocialconservativesallmingle。

WhileDanecountywentfortheDemocratsinthe2010governor’sracebymorethan20points,WalkerwonSaukbysingledigits。

(Aswell,SenatorRussFeingoldwon,alsobysingle?

digits。

)

Whileit’struethatthestateelectedaRepublicanmajority,candidateswerespecificallyaskedaboutunionconcessionsduringtheircampaigns。

“Heliedtous,”saidteacherJennyFish,assheshiveredinthe20-degreechillwith100otherprotestersoutsideReedsburg’sVoyageurInn。

InsidewastheSaukCountyRepublicanPartyLincolnDaydinner,heldafteritsmorningannualcaucusandafternooncelebrationofRonaldReagan’s100thbirthday。

(“HoldingthelineagainstMadison。

”)FishwasinchargeofvettingRepresentativeEdBrooks(R-50)lastyearforThreeRiversUnitedEducators。

Hisanswerswereinpartwhatledtheuniontoendorsehim,aRepublican,forelection。

ThreeRiversUnitedEducatorsnotonlyendorsedBrooks,itmakeadonationtohiscampaign。

BrooksalsotookmoneyfromtheSouthwestEducationAssociationandtheWisconsinEducationAssociationCouncil,whichisthestate’slargestteachers?

union。

Only3ofthe25WisconsincandidatesthatWEACendorsedinthe2010electionwereRepublicans:RichardSpanbauer(R-53),EdBrooks(R-50)andDaleSchultz,theSaukcountySenatorwhohasbeenrumoredtobebreakingwithhisparty。

Allthree?

won。

FishsaidthatsheaskedBrooksifhesupportedremovingcollectivebargainingforbenefits。

Hesaidhedidnot。

Thatanswerdirectlyledtohisendorsementbythelabor?

union。

StephanieHasler,aFrenchteacheratReedsburgHighSchool,toldmethatsheandanumberofReedsburgteachersvisitedBrooksinhisofficeonFebruary18thofthisyear。

Atthatmeeting,Brooksadmittedtonothavingreadthebudgetbill?

—?

andhealsoinsistedthatthecollectivebargainingprovisionswerenotin?

it。

Afterthebillwasunveiled,includingtheunion-bustingprovisions,FishsaidshecontactedBrooks。

“Hebasicallysaidhewashelplessandcould’triskbreakingwithhisparty,”shesaid。

“Hetoldus,‘WhyshouldIvotenoforabillthat’sjustgoingtopassanyway?

’”

OnMarch7th,Brookssentoutanemailtoconstituents,defendinghimselfbypointingout“mydaughterisateacher”andclaimingthatheactuallymadechangestothebillduringaJointCommitteeonFinanceexecutivesession,includinginsertingthelanguagethat“justcauseisstillrequiredfortermination。

”Brookssaidthatchangeslikethismadehim“abletovoteforGovernorWalker’sbudgetrepairbill。

”Hisemailthrewsomesaltonthewoundforgoodmeasure。

Headded:“Andpleasenotethatunionsstill?

exist。



(Overtwodays,Ireachedout,numeroustimes,toRep。

Brooksforcomment。

Hisofficerepeatedlysaidhewouldcallback。

Henever?

did。

)

Thisdouble-crossiswhatcompelledReedsburgresidentstoprotestforthreeconsecutivedaysoverthe?

weekend。

StephanieHaslertoldmethatanimpromptudemonstrationspranguponMainStreetafternegotiationswiththeReedsburgschoolboardcrumbled。

Countingonthenewbillmeasures,theboardrefusedtheteachers’offerofapayfreezeandagreementtotheBoard’sofferonretirementinsurancefromthepreviouscontractnegotiations,aswellaspayingthepercentagesofinsuranceandpensionthatthegovernorwants。

FearingwhattheWalkerbillwouldallowtheboardtodo,Hasler,alongwithadozenotherteachersinthedistrict,choseanunplannedearlyretirementearlierintheweek,soastosavetheirinsurancebenefitsundertheexistingcontract。

Reedsburgisatownoffewerthan10,000people。

AndwithallduerespecttothethousandsgatheredinMadison,openlyprotestinginasmalltown,whereeveryoneknowseveryone,takesincredibleguts。

Generally,small-townWisconsinitesaremuchmorecomfortablegrumblingundertheirbreathaboutthingsuntilthey?

die。

TheVoyageur,awonderfulrelicfromthe1960s,isbestknownforitscollectionofhundredsofNormalRockwellmagazinecovers,adsandportraits。

AttendeesoftheRepublicandinnerwalkedbyfourofRockwell’s1940scoversforTheGradeTeacher,the“ProfessionalMagazineforClassroomTeachersofallGrades。

”ThespecialguestwasU。

S。

SenatorRon?

Johnson。

IntheVoyageurparkinglot,Brooks’arrivalwasmetbyachantof“Recall!

Recall!

Recall!



Notinattendance:DaleSchultz,themoderateRepublicanSenatorforReedsburgwhohasstillnotconfirmedhowhewillvoteonthebill。

AsfarasWisconsincantell,hehasbecomea?

ghost。

**?

*

JoeHasler,Stephanie’shusband,alongtimestateRepublican,toldmeheis“appalledbytheparty’srecenthardturntotheright。

”Joeisn’tjustyoureverydayRepublican。

JoewasTommyThompson’scampaigntreasurer?

—?

Thompson,whowaspraisedandevokedinWalker’sbudget?

address。

OneofthereasonsmoderateWisconsinRepublicanshaveseenthepartyslidefromtheirgraspisamassiveinfluxofout-of-statemoneyfromgroupssuchastheKoch-foundedAmericansforProsperityandtheSamAdamsAlliance。

Saukcountycontainsaperfectexampleofexactlyhowthecorporatetakeoveronthestatelevelwillbeimplementedonthelocal?

level。

Walker’sfundamentalchangetotheeducationsysteminWisconsinviafundingcuts,taxcapsandcharterpromotionisnotthatdamagingwithoutlocallevelimplementation。

AsWalkerhassaid,hisbillisa“tool。

”Toolsneedmechanics。

So,inReedsburg,cityofficialshavefloatedasolution。

Theywanttomovethetown’sfireprotectionchargefromtaxrollstoutilitybills。

Thatfreesuparound$200,000。

ForWalker’splanstobetrulyeffective,theremustbethoseatthelocallevel,likeinReedsburg,whoarewillingtolookpeoplethey’veknownalltheirlifeintheeyes…andfire?

them。

EntertheAmericanMajority。

OnSaturday,atabouttheexactmomentMichaelMoorewasaddressing40,000peopleattheCapitol(andcomparingeventsinMadisontothoseinEgypt),aboutfour-and-a-halfmilesawayattheVitensedrivingrangeandminigolfcourse,theAmericanMajoritywasholdingasold-outday-longtrainingevent。

Theevent,inpartnershipwiththeSaukCountyTeaParty,consistedoflessonslike“ImplementingFreedom”whichteaches“howtoplanacampaign,finetuneyourcommunicationskills,andfundraise。

”Theeventprovided“anopportunitytomeetotherpatriotsinyourcommunity,theseminarprovidesanopportunitytonetworkandlearnfromgrassrootsorganizerswithsuccessfulcampaignexperience。



Now,isthat“communityorganizing?

”Becauseitusestheboththosewordsandsureashellsoundslikecommunityorganizing。

AmericanMajoritybragsthatittrained27citycouncilcandidatesinOklahomaandsaw17ofthemwin。

Moreimportantly,thegroupclaimsthatallbutoneofthose17hadneverrunforoffice?

before。

InaninterviewwithWisPolitics,aco-founderoftheVirginia-basedorganization,DrewRyunsaid,“Theletterbehindthatcandidates’nametosomeextentdoesnotmatter…Whatmattersisarethesefolksatanylevelofgovernmentthatareadvancingfreemarketconservativeprincipals。



(Anote:Whensomepoliticalorganizationorthinktankisidentifiedinthepressas“Virginia-based,”thatmeansit’sin“WashingtonD。

C。

”)

Butdespitethatclaim,AmericanMajoritydoesnotactuallysupportDemocrats。

Currentlytheorganization’swebsitefeaturesalarge“StandwithWalker”banner,coincidentallythesamemottousedbytheheavilyfundedadcampaignfromKoch’sAmericansforProsperity。

AmericanMajoritydoespartnerwithsuch“nonpartisan”groupsasFranklinCenter’snewventure“WisconsinReporter,”whichisaPRinterestdisguisedasjournalismtoseedinformation?

—?

suchastherecentpollthatclaimed71%ofWisconsinitesfavorWalker’sbudgetchanges。

(See,it’sgot“reporter”rightthereinthename。

)TheFranklinCenter,inturn,isassociatedwithgroupssuchastheSamAdamsAlliance?

—?

anoutfitthatIranintoonCapitolSquareaweekago。

Oneoftheir“grassroots”surveyorswassolicitingpeopleinStarbucksfor20minutesoftheirtime,forwhichtheywouldbepaid?

$10。

Notclearenough?

ScottWalkerreferstohisbudgetbillasa“tool。

”AmericanMajorityreferstoitslocalactivistsas“mechanics。



AmericanMajoritywasfoundedbyNedandDrewRyun,sonsoflongtimeKansasRepublicanRepresentativeJimRyun。

(Yes,Kansas,homeoftheKochs。

)JimRyun’sfederalcampaignfinancereportreadslikealistoftensofthousandsofdollarsfromtheKochs,goingallthewaybackto?

1997。

AmericanMajoritywasorganizedby,andreceivesagreatdealofitsfundingthrough,theChicago-basedSamAdamsAlliance,whichcarefullyprotectsthelistofitspatronsandhasgonetopains(thoughnoteffectivelyenough)toremoveevidencethatitisinlargepartfundedbytheKochs。

AmericanMajorityisalsopartneredwithKochorganizationsthatdon’thidetheKochconnectionatall,likeAmericansforProsperity。

SamAdamsAllianceisverymuchfundedbytheKochs?

—?

buteveniftheywerenot,EricO’Keefe,thechairmanandCEOoftheSamAdamsAlliance,isalsoaboardmemberattheInstituteforHumaneStudies,agroupwhichhasreceivedmillionsfromtheKochsandforwhichCharlesKochisthechairman。

O’KeefeisalsoaboardmemberattheWisconsinClubforGrowth,astateofficeoftheorganizationfundedbythewealthiestofAmericans。

TheClubhasbecomeoneofthemostinfluentialorganizationsinWisconsinpolitics。

(TheCFGsupportedRonJohnsonoverRussFeingoldanditsto-date$320,000inspendingforthe2011campaignofconservativeStateSupremeCourtJusticeDavidProsseraccountsforabout70percentoftotalTVadexpendituresinthatelection)。

AndEricO’KeefelivesinSpringGreen,Sauk?

County。

**?

*

AmericanMajoritychosetheterm“mechanics”becausethiswasthenameofthefirstintelligencenetworkputtogetherbyindependence-mindedcolonists。

Thegroup,whosemostfamousmemberwasPaulRevere,gatheredinformationontheBritishandconductedminorsabotage。

Explainingthename,AmericanMajority’spullquotebegins“InthedaysbeforetheRevolutionaryWar,PaulRevereorganizedtheMechanics,agroupofdeterminedpatriotsthatgrewoutoftheSonsofLiberty。

”TheunattributedcopyisliftedfromRevolutionary-war-and-beyond。

com。

AstheCIAhistoryoftheperiod’sintelligencenotesofthe“mechanics”:“Theirsecuritypractices,however,wereamateurish。

Theymetinthesameplaceregularly(theGreenDragonTavern),andoneoftheirleaders(Dr。

BenjaminChurch)wasaBritish?

agent。



ThequestionnairethatAmericanMajorityusestoidentifythosewhowill,accordingtoco-founderNedRyun,“organizetheircommunities,hard-wiretheirprecincts,learnhowtobecomeeffectiveonline,andtounderstandthesystemthatweareconfronting,”givesahintofwhatthegroupistryingtoweedout。

Thequestionnaire,below:

AmericanMajorityMechanicsEligibilityQuestionnaire1。

Whatdoyoubelievetheroleofgovernmentshouldbein?

America?

2。

Doyouhaveanyexperiencewithpublicspeakingandpresenting?

3。

Howdoyoufeelaboutthe“Birther”issue?

4。

Pleaselistanyandallcurrentorganizationsyouarepresentlyassociatedwith。

5。

WhatdoyouhopetogetoutofbecominganauthorizedAmericanMajorityMechanic?

6。

Whattermsdoyoubestbelievedescribeourgovernmentandleadershiptoday?

7。

HowwelldoyouknowtheConstitutionandDeclarationofIndependence?

8。

Whatdoyoubelievearethemostimportantpoliticalissuesthiscountryisfacingright?

now?

9。

Whoisyourpoliticalheroand?

why?

10。

Pleaselistallwebsites,socialnetworks,andblogsinwhichyouhaveapresence。

11。

Howcomfortableareyouwithpublicspeakingandpresentingonascaleof1to10(with10beingverycomfortable)?

12。

Howcomfortableareyouwithtechnologyonascaleof1to10(with10beingverycomfortable)?

13。

Howcomfortableareyouwithsocialnetworks,includingFacbook,Twitter,andYouTubeonascaleof1to10(with10beingverycomfortable)?

14。

Pleaselistatleasttwoprofessionalreferencesandtheircontactinformationsothatwecantalkwithyour?

peers。

Themechanicsprogramisabitlikeafranchise。

AmericanMajority“mechanicswillreceive75%ofthenetfromtheirtrainings”andthe2010programrequiredmechanicstoperformatleastonetrainingpermonth,foraminimumof30traineesthroughtheendof2010。

At$20perperson,that’saminimumtakeforthemechanicof$450permonth。

Iattemptedtoattendthe$20perheadtraininginMadisononMarch5thbutitwasbooked?

solid。

ThemechanicsprogramwasputtogetherandbeganrecruitinginFebruary,2010。

FormaltrainingtookplaceMarch24thto26th,withAmericanMajorityflyingrecruitstoWashingtonD。

C。

coveringalltravelandboard。

AndthentheSaukCountyTeaPartywasfoundedonJune17?

2010。

Laterin2010,theSaukCountyTeaPartybeganlinkingtoandendorsingstrategymeetingswithAmericanMajority。

Inmid-Decemberof2010,thegrouptookpartinastrategycallwithco-founderNedRyuntodiscusstheNewLeaders?

Project。

OnDecember29th,SaukTeaPartyPresidentJohnMeeganannouncedhiscandidacyforBarabooschool?

board。

Meegan’stiestoO’Keefe’sAmericanMajoritygobeyondthetrainingseminars。

Justafewweeksago,Meeganorganizedareacounter-protesterstogotoMadison,intheprocesstellingtheBarabooNewsRepublicthathewas“workingwithanationalgroupcalledAmericanMajority。

”TheNewsRepublicpieceinterviewedanothercounter-protester,LoriMislivecek,notingshewasa“Barabooresident。

”Whatitdidnotnotewasthatsheisalsolistedasoneof37membersoftheSaukCountyTeaParty。

InanticipationofthetriptoMadison,Meegansentanemailinsisting“allsignageshouldbesupportiveofthebudgetreformbill,Gov。

Walker,conservativelegislators,freedom,liberty,ruleoflaw,etc。

Nopartisanorviolentsignageallowed。



FightBackWisconsincountstheSaukCountyTeaPartyaspartofits“ProsperityNetwork。

”FightBackWisconsinandKochs’AmericansforProsperity-Wisconsin’sshareanaddressonSouth70thStreetinMilwaukee。

AskedaboutfinancialsupportforfromtheWisconsinofficeofAmericansForProsperityto“grassroots”teapartygroupswithinitscoalition,suchastheSaukCountyTeaParty,oritstiestoAmericanMajority,MattSeaholm,directorofAFP-Wisc。

toldmethereisnosuchofficialsupport“beyondasharedinterest。



Except,justafterthe2010election,AmericansforProsperity-Wisconsinannouncedthatthe“WisconsinProsperityNetwork”had“helpedprivatizetheCenterRightpoliticalprocesseswiththedevelopmentandfinancialsupportofProsperity101,FirstFreedomFoundation,TheMacIverInstitute,AmericanMajority,andAmericansforProsperity。



OnemoreinterestingdetailaboutMeegan’sschoolboardcandidacyisthathisonechild,ateenagedaughter,doesnotevenattendschoolinBaraboo。

HisdaughterattendsIQAcademy,“acompleteonlinemiddleandhighschool”basedinWaukesha,over100milesaway,nearMilwaukee。

IQAcademybenefitsfromWisconsin’suniqueopenenrollmentpolicieswhichredistributevouchersfromtheschoolsystem(forwhichparentspaytaxes)。

AsadvertisedonIQAcademy’swebsite,forWisconsinresidentstheschoolis“tuition-free。



AnopenletterthatMeeganwrotetotheBarabooSchoolBoardinJan。

2011,wellafterworkingwithAmericanMajorityandjustbeforeWalker’sbudgetintroduction,outlinesdemandscuriouslysimilartowhatWalkerfinallyaddressed,including“removalofallopenenrollmentlimitsrelatedtovirtualcharterschools。



IntheFebruaryprimary,Meeganreceivedmorevotesthananyothercandidate。

Nextup,theApril4generalelection。

**?

*

So,toreview:In2010,theClubforGrowthandtheKochBrothersheavilysupportedtheelectionofScottWalker。

Union-bustinglegislationiswrittenforWalkertosubmitin2011。

Meanwhile,ClubforGrowthandKochBrotherstrusteeEricO’Keefe’sSamAdamsAlliancelaunchestheAmericanMajorityNewLeadersProject,which,in2010,partnerswiththeSaukCountyTeaParty,totrainfreemarketconservativestorunforoffice。

ThosecandidatesincludeSaukCountyTeaPartyco-founderJohnMeegan,whoannouncesinDecember,2010thatheisrunningforaseatontheBarabooschool?

board。

It’salmostagiventhattheJohnMeegan-EricO’Keefeexampleisbutonesimpledetailedexampleofsomethingthatisnodoubtgoingoninallcontestedcountiesacrossthestate…andmore。

ScheduledAmericanMajoritytrainingeventsinthenearfutureincludeWaxahachie,TX,Crowley,LA,OuterBanks,NCandBowlingGreen?

KY。

(MessagesrequestingcommentfromEricO’Keefe,JohnMeeganandtheAmericanMajoritywerenotreturned。

)

Thenewconservativeslovetousethehomebudgetmetaphorwhendebatinggovernmentspending。

Theyarguethatthegovernmentshouldhavetowatchitsspendingjustlikeordinaryfolk。

TeaPartyReviewMagazinejustpublishedanargumentfromNationalTaxpayersUnion’sJordanForbes:“Familiesbalancetheirbudgets’Politiciansmustdothesame。

”Init,Forbesasks:“Whycan’tCongressmakeabudgetandsticktoit?

That’ssomethingthatmostfamiliesacrossthiscountrydoallthetime,yearinandyearout。

It’snoteasy,especiallyinhard?

times…。



Whydoesthisfavoredmetaphordisintegratewhenitcomestotargetingcutstobalancethatbudget?

When“mostfamiliesacrossthiscountry”arefacedwithmakingspendingcuts,theonecuttheymakelastofallistotheirchildren’sfuture。

Butthat’sexactlywhatScottWalkerandWisconsinRepublicansaredoing。

Inanattempttobalancethefamilybudget,thegovernorislookingfirstatwhathecancutfromthechildren’sschooling,sothathecankeepthepremiumcablechannels。

Correction:Thispieceoriginallynotedthatthe“NewLeadersProjecttrained27citycouncilcandidatesinOklahomaandsaw17ofthemwin。

”AMlaunchedthe“NewLeadersProject”attheendof2010forthe2011/2012electioncycle。

ThosesuccessesinOKwereachievedthroughanunnamed?

program。

AbeSauercanbereachedatabesaueratgmaildot?