Walker a Divide-and-Conquerer, Not a Uniter

In my earlier post about the video that’s come to light wherein Scott Walker tells a billionaire support who’s urging him to go whole hog to turn Wisconsin into an anti-union “red state,” I emphasized the broader phenomenon of Republicans outside the South beginning to emulate the very worst of southern traditions in how to think about economic growth.

But as Greg Sargent at WaPo’s Plum Line reminds us, there is a much more immediate and Badger-o-specific consequence for Walker: it very nicely reinforces Democratic talking points in the run-up to the recall election on June 5:

[T]his is a huge gift for Dems: It is powerful ammo for their argument that Walker is the primary reason Wisconsin is so divided right now. The whole campaign message from Barrett — who was not labor’s choice to take on Walker — is premised on the idea that only by moving beyond Walker’s experiment can the state pull together and address its problems in a unified way.

It wouldn’t be surprprising if this footage is up on the air in heavy rotation by next week in ads juxtaposing Walker’s vow to “divide and conquer” with Barrett’s promise to reunite Wisconsin and move it forward again.

We’re all use to the Republican tactic of creating a polarizing atmosphere and then blaming the other side (often with the complicity of the news media) at least equally for all the bad feelings. Nothing quite like video evidence of a long-range plan to “divide and conquer” to undermine that false equivalence.

Ed Kilgore

Ed Kilgore, a Monthly contributing editor, is a columnist for the Daily Intelligencer, New York magazine’s politics blog, and the managing editor for the Democratic Strategist.