With the effort to recall Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker gaining momentum, the GOP politician still stands by his decisions — and is painting himself as the victim of unjustified attacks. The governor gained national attention and popular criticism earlier this year when he waged war on the state’s public-employee unions. In an interview with Michel Martin on NPR’s Tell Me More, he blamed the recall effort on outsiders in organized labor who have long been trying to undermine him:
MICHEL: It’s no secret that there’s national attention being paid to Wisconsin, in part because of these efforts and because of this issue. And I’m interested in what role you think is appropriate for interest groups outside of Wisconsin, both those that support you and those that oppose you.
GOV. WALKER: Well, I mean, the appropriateness is interesting, because obviously, I can say it, but there’s no way to enforce it… It’s going to happen no matter what. We saw, in the Senate race, most Republican senators were outspent at least two-to-one, in some cases three-to-one, by all the parties that came in from both throughout the state and across the country.
I believe if they get — I believe, actually, if they get the signatures, it’ll largely — because these national, big-government unions put the money behind that. I would imagine they’ll spend the tens of millions — and if it was over $40 million for the Senate recalls, that they may be — well be $70 (million) or $80 million there.
MICHEL: Well, there are conservative groups supporting you.
GOV. WALKER: And I think more people look at that and say, that’s absurd. You know, I spent 13 million (dollars) running for governor; you’re going to see multiple times that amount. You’re going to see groups coming in from outside of our state who want to influence this race — I think (it’s) more about power, because let’s remember, the real reason the unions nationally are involved in this isn’t because of pitch in their health care contributions or workers’ rights or anything else; the real reason is because we also, as part of our reforms, gave every worker in our state the right to choose whether or not he or she wants to be a part of the union and no longer have their dues forcibly removed from their payroll. That’s what it’s about.
MICHEL: OK, but so — there are groups supporting you, too, Governor — in fairness, there are outside groups that are also interested in this for their own reasons.
GOV. WALKER: Sure, like every election.
GOV. WALKER: It has, like – but they wouldn’t be here if the national unions were forcing a recall. I mean, I think most of your listeners across America probably are scratching their heads on the recall to begin with, because most states have recalls in, say, misconduct in office, some sort of thing like that that triggers it, not just, I disagree or agree with a piece of legislation.
But this is really about power. The “recall Scott Walker” website was actually started November 2010. So anyone who thinks this wasn’t — you know, that somehow, this is organic movement that just popped up — the reality is, the person who started that recall site started it last year, two months before I took office.
Yes, poor Gov. Walker indeed. All these big unions are picking on him, when all he did was curtail collective-bargaining rights — clearly an issue that doesn’t involve unions. And now Walker, who was elected with the help of million-dollar donations from the likes of Rupert Murdoch and the Koch brothers, has to defend himself against powerful outside forces meddling in Wisconsin, with only his billionaire backers and conservative PACs to help him. How tragic.