Governor Scott Walker will, presumably, take a longing glance at the White House as his limousine wheels toward Capitol Hill, where he will tell Congress how to balance budgets by attacking public services and public education.
Walker has made little secret of his desire to be the next Ronald Reagan. And the hyper-ambitious governor of Wisconsin knows that his trip to Washington -- for a hearing before the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform. Chairman Darrell Issa, R-California, has is trying to counter President Obama's budget balancing speech with an alternative vision of "fiscal responsibility."
No one expects the governor explain how to do it the Walker Way: Take a lot of campaign contributions from the Koch Brothers and other billionaires. Get elected. Carry out the Koch Brothers agenda. Turn down $810 million in federal transportation funding. Then you give tax breaks to your campaign donors. Then claim there is a budget crisis that must be addressd immediately. Then you use it as an excuse to break unions, consolidate power and sell off public assets to your political pals. Then all hell breaks loose.
Instead, Walker will peddle the line that has failed so miserable in Wisconsin, claiming that he is taking necessary steps to tackle a broken budget. And he won't, won't, won't mention that the previous Democratic governor dealt with more serious fiscal challenges and tackled them successfully -- with the cooperation of public-sector unions and without wrecking public services of public education.
Issa's “State and Municipal Debt: Tough Choices Ahead” hearing is being trumpeted as a serious discussion of "the severity of debt obligations and need for spending cuts." There will be other participants, a resident scholar with the conservative American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research, the president of the militantly anti-labor National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation, a professor of finance at the University of Rochester and, um, another resident scholar with the American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research.
But this is really all about Walker.
It's his star turn before a committee that is stacked in his favor.
Remember the phone call Walker took from New York blogger Ian Murphy, who was posing as David Koch, the billionaire funder of the Tea Party movement?
That's the call where the governor talked himself up as the next Reagan.
It's also the call where he confirmed his determination to do whatever the Koch brothers (and other big donors) ask of him.
Well, Walker took $43,000 in direct contributions from the Koch Brothers and their associates, and he benefitted in far more spending by the Koch-funded Republican Governors Association. But he won't be the only recipient of Koch cash in the room.
According to a study by Public Campaign Action Fund, the Koch brothers have given over $107,000 to Republican members of the Oversight and Government Reform Committe in recent election cycles.
Big winners? Chairman Issa: $17,500; Florida Congressman Connie Mack: $15,000; Florida Congressman Dennis Ross: $10,000; Florida Congressman John Mica; Pennsylvania Congressman Patrick Meehan. And the number one recipient of Koch Cash: Michigan Congressman Tim Walberg: $20,000.
Five other Republican members of the committee collected at least $5,000 in Koch Cash.
And who else took Koch Cash?
All the panelists who will testify before Issa's committee?
Who funds the American Enterprise Institute? The Koch Brothers.
Who funded a recent conference attended by the National Right-to-Work Committee president? The Koch Brothers.
Who funded Scott Walker? The Koch Brothers.