Scott Walker's Occupy-Supporting Primary Challenger Talks to Blogger Who Punked the Gov
Photo Credit: Leslie Peterson
Stay up to date with the latest headlines via email.
Editor's Note: AlterNet does not endorse candidates for political office, elected or otherwise. The opinions expressed in this article are solely those of the author.
Tomorrow, May 8, Wisconsin voters will cast their ballots in the first phase of the recall election against Gov. Scott Walker -- the Republican and Democratic primaries. The recall election, mandated by the collection of more than a million petition signatures, was sparked by Walker's infamous strong-armed passage of a law that all but ended collective bargaining for the state's public employees, and also cut funding to education and social programs statewide.
At the height of the massive pro-union demonstrations in Madison, Wisconsin, in February of last year, Arthur Kohl-Riggs slept in the state Capitol building for weeks. When the mainstream media failed to tell the whole story at the Capitol, he grabbed a camera and got to work. When 700 occupiers were being arrested on the Brooklyn Bridge, he was there. When Scott Walker wasn't facing a challenger in the recall primary, thus ensuring that Republicans would cross over to vote for a fake Democrat they had put on the state's primary ballot, Kohl-Riggs, 23, decided to run against him, he says, to maintain electoral integrity. Kohl-Riggs says he's actually the "real Republican" in the race because his platform is in the tradition of the abolitionist, civil-libertarian GOP of yore.
Since punking Walker into thinking he was talking to his billionaire patron, David Koch, I've kept my eyes trained on the depravity of the Wisconsin GOP. When Kohl-Riggs threw his stovepipe into the ring, I thought, now there's a guy I can endorse. So I did. In our interview, a wide-ranging discussion of God, platypuses, third parties, possibly felonious Republican judges and Walker aides (and possibly the governor himself) under grand jury investigation, Kohl-Riggs proved his mettle as a quipster and political strategist. Part of that strategy has been his participation in an "ask me anything" (AMA) forum on Reddit where Kohl-Riggs has met his critics in some mouse-to-mouse combat.
Ian Murphy: There's a bunch of politicians who pop up on Reddit AMAs, and they say, "Hey, I'm running for this or that," and they don't have a chance in hell. And there was a guy who was critical of you because he felt like he was being pandered to. First, how do you respond to that? And, more specifically, do you have a real chance of affecting the primary outcome?
Arthur Kohl-Riggs: Winning would be -- winning is cool. Winning would be great. And given what we've experienced this last year, crazier things have happened. I mean, a [state] Supreme Court judge choked another judge.
IM: Prosser, right?
AKR: Yes, Judge David Prosser. [Last June, Ann Bradley, a liberal judge, accused fellow judge David Prosser, a right-wing Republican, of "grabbing her around her neck and putting her in a choke hold during an argument in her chambers," according to the Daily Mail.]
I have personally been arrested for wiggling my fingers while in the Senate gallery. [Finger-wiggling while holding down one's hands is a sign of dissent in the Occupy movement.] [Republican lawmakers] put black plastic sheeting over the windows of the assembly gallery. When people do things they know are illegal, and they want to keep it from the public, they put black plastic sheeting over the windows. That's what murderers do. That's what Dexter does.
IM: Yeah, it's like Walker's kill room.
AKR: Crazier things have happened. The Republican primary turnout is expected to be pretty low, and they're doing such a good job of ignoring me that a lot of [Republicans] don't even know I'm running.