Will 3 Wisc. GOP Senators Fold to Defeat Walker's Koch-Backed Power Grab?

David Koch's man on the Wall Street Journal editorial board is worried -- worried that three of Wisconsin's Republican state senators might just defect to the other side in Republican Gov. Scott Walker's strong-arm attempt to rob state employees of their collective bargaining rights. And that would mean a whole lot of Koch dollars spent for naught in the three-week-long standoff at the state capitol building in Madison.

On the Wall Street Journal's Political Diary blog, Stephen Moore frets that "GOP Gov. Scott Walker can afford to lose no more than two Republican senators on this pivotal vote," and one, Sen. Dale Schultz failed to show up for a Republican "unity press conference" on Wednesday. And Moore sites more ominous signs:

[A] new Wall Street Journal/NBC News poll showing that 62% of respondents oppose curtailing collective-bargaining rights for public-sector workers over health care, pensions or other benefits suggests that the GOP position may be losing some support among independent voters. Meanwhile, the unions have turned up the heat by launching recall efforts against at least five of the GOP senators. Conservative groups have initiated recalls against five of the missing 14 Democratic senators.

Not cited by Moore, but perhaps even more ominous despite its lesser indication of support for collective bargaining rights among Wisconsinites was a Rasmussen poll showing more than half of Wisconsin voters supporting the state workers. And Rasmussen is believed by many to always skew in favor of the right-wing position. Meanwhile, a subsequent Rasmussen poll of likely Wisconsin voters shows Walker's approval numbers dipping to 43 percent.

After laying out the worrisome scenario that the Dems might just win this round, Moore weakly attempts to poke a whole in an assertion made by an official of the Wisconsin Education Association Council, who said that collective bargaining protects school safety and class-size standards. Moore refuted the class-size assertion by citing a study by the MacIver Institute, a right-wing think tank founded in Wisconsin in 2009 by, you guessed it, the Koch machine, of which Moore himself is a beneficiary.

Moore is a popular speaker at Americans For Prosperity events, gigs for which he is paid. And before he landed his sweet spot at the Wall Street Journal -- now owned by Rupert Murdoch's News Corporation, the parent company of Fox News -- most of Moore's professional experience took place in Koch-funded think-tanks and organizations, including the Cato Institute and the Heritage Foundation.

On the board of the MacIver Institute sits Mark Block, who served as state director of the Wisconsin chapter of Americans For Prosperity, until he stepped down in December to work with Herman Cain on a potential presidential bid. Like Moore, Cain is a frequent speaker at Americans For Prosperity events. Block led the Wisconsin Chapter of AFP when the organization worked with the Wisconsin GOP to cage the votes of African-Americans and college students of all races in targeted Milwaukee districts during the 2010 midterm elections. During that time, the Wisconsin GOP was led by Reince Priebus, who now chairs the Republican National Committee.

Priebus' greatest achievement prior to his ascendancy to the helm of the RNC was the election of Scott Walker as Wisconsin's governor. That election was also aided by the $1 million donated to the Republican Governors Association by David Koch, and another mil forked over to the RGA by Rupert Murdoch.

Could it be that all that investment by David Koch in Wisconsin will come to naught in the collective bargaining fight? Now, that really would be something.

AlterNet / By Adele M. Stan

Posted at March 4, 2011, 12:57pm

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