Breitbart's BigGovernment Roots For Corporate Cash To Flood WI Supreme Court Election
Blog ››› ››› LESLIE ROSENBERG
Today's featured story on Andrew Breitbart's BigGovernment website offers a misguided and deceptive take on the upcoming April 5th Wisconsin Supreme Court election which may determine the final makeup of the court that will decide the fate of Governor Walker's controversial bill to eliminate most of the collective bargaining rights enjoyed by Wisconsin public sector employees. And it openly roots for corporate money to flood the election.
The premise of the post -- written by John Nolte, editor-in-chief of another Breitbart site, BigHollywood -- is that, if the more progressive candidate wins the election, the Wisconsin judiciary might "overturn an election." From the post:
Regardless of your political persuasion, any intellectually honest individual understands that the government requiring an individual purchase something is exactly why our founders created a judicial branch. That's what they're there for. What they're not there for, however, is to use judicial fiat to overturn an election. But that is exactly what the Left in Wisconsin is counting on happening just a few days from now on April 5th. [Biggovernment.com, 3/27/11, emphasis added].
This is outright false, of course. No one is suggesting that the Wisconsin Supreme Court will interfere in an election like the U.S. Supreme Court did when it selected George W. Bush to be president. Nolte argues that if the Wisconsin Supreme Court affirms a lower court decision that the procedure used to pass the collective bargaining bill likely violated a Wisconsin statute, that would overturn an election.
What's particularly strange about this is that Nolte thinks that, in contrast with what might happen in Wisconsin, two lower court decisions deciding that part of the health care reform law is unconstitutional would not overturn the election and is perfectly legitimate. Nolte write: "ObamaCare -- a real federal law requiring every American purchase health insurance -- is also a constitutional issue. Regardless of your political persuasion, any intellectually honest individual understands that the government requiring an individual purchase something is exactly why our founders created a judicial branch."
But if the judiciary overturns an election when it strikes down a law that was a centerpiece of a winning candidate's platform, Nolte has this entirely backwards.
Enacting comprehensive healthcare reform was a pillar of Obama's presidential campaign, whereas Governor Walker did not campaign on the total elimination of collective bargaining for public employees. In fact, Politifact has cited Obama's healthcare achievements as some of the best examples of campaign promises kept to the nation among those he made while on the trail. Conversely, they have rated Walker's claim that he discussed ending public employee rights which campaigning, false.
The post goes on to rail against the "corrupt" relationship that he claims exists between public sector unions and the Democratic Party. "This is nothing more than legalized graft and racketeering," Nolte criticizes organized labor's participation in elections. What he fails to address, of course, is that large donors to Governor Walker, such as the Koch brothers, were not-so-secretly involved in Walker's on the rights of his state's public employees.
As The New York Times reported:
Among the thousands of demonstrators who jammed the Wisconsin State Capitol grounds this weekend was a well-financed advocate from Washington who was there to voice praise for cutting state spending by slashing union benefits and bargaining rights.
The visitor, Tim Phillips, the president of Americans for Prosperity, told a large group of counterprotesters who had gathered Saturday at one edge of what otherwise was a mostly union crowd that the cuts were not only necessary, but they also represented the start of a much-needed nationwide move to slash public-sector union benefits.
"We are going to bring fiscal sanity back to this great nation," he said.
What Mr. Phillips did not mention was that his Virginia-based nonprofit group, whose budget surged to $40 million in 2010 from $7 million three years ago, was created and financed in part by the secretive billionaire brothers Charles G. and David H. Koch.
State records also show that Koch Industries, their energy and consumer products conglomerate based in Wichita, Kan., was one of the biggest contributors to the election campaign of Gov. Scott Walker of Wisconsin, a Republican who has championed the proposed cuts.
Even before the new governor was sworn in last month, executives from the Koch-backed group had worked behind the scenes to try to encourage a union showdown, Mr. Phillips said in an interview on Monday. [New York Times, 2/21/11]
One could almost say it sounds like "legalized graft and racketeering." Not that this matters to Nolte. Near the end of his post, Nolte openly roots for corporate money to flood the election: "[Wisconsin radio show host Charlie] Sykes tells me that during this crucial upcoming week some of the state's largest business groups are finally going to get up on the air in favor of Prosser. The idea is to move the crucial independents to our side."
Given the real possibility that Governor Walker's corporate supporters could see their union-busting campaign dealt a set-back if his state elects a Supreme Court that may overturn his law, it's understandable that the right-wing is shivering in their boots as this special election draws near.