Scott FitzgeraldPresident Obama and public employee unions made death threats against Wisconsin Republicans who voted for Gov. Walker's union-busting law. So says GOP Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald.
Startling, but no misprint: In a March 22 fund-raising letter. Fitzgerald specifically claims that. Right in black and white. In a letter mailed to, presumably, hundreds or thousands of voters.
Directly after referring in the letter to public employee unions and "Obama's political machine," Fitzgerald writes: "They even picketed my home to intimidate and scare my family, They even made death threats against those of us who stood up to their political clout."
Read that again, slowly and carefully: "They even made death threats against those of us who stood up to their political clout." This has to be be viewed as a direct accusation that Democrats up to and including the president, along with public employee unions, were responsible for death threats against Republicans. You might, at first blush, simply discount this as lousy writing with sloppy pronoun usage. But on further reflection: Who else besides Fitzgerald's political opponents has "political clout"? Lone gunmen? Neurotic white male bloggers? Don't think so! No, logic informs us that Fitzgerald meant the very people his pronoun refers back to grammatically.
So this is what Fitzwalkerstan-ism has come to: Accusing your opponents of literally threatening to kill you. Fitzergerald's claim is hugely sensational and over-the-top, and should be page one news -- if, that is, anyone at this point were to take the man seriously. On the other hand, as careless and histrionic as he has been, over and over, he remains a powerful political figure in this state, so nothing he says should be taken lightly. And apparently he's counting on that.
In this letter, Fitzgerald either has been mindboggingly careless or disturbingly calculated. The letter is not the work of a serious, thoughtful, public-minded legislator who plays fair, or who respects his peers and fellow citizens.
But if in making this claim Fitzgerald is a man of conviction, one assumes he will by now have contacted the police to inform them he has actual proof that this is an organized, left-of-center political conspiracy to do him and other Republicans harm.
Fitzgerald's rantings apparently are based on email threats that he, his brother Jeff (the Wisconsin Assembly speaker) and Walker himself have mentioned previiously in public -- without identifying the perpetrators. The only public information released by law agencies investigating the threats (which, as I reported in an earlier blog, are commonly received by public figures of all political persuasions) is that exactly one man has been identified so far as a suspect. Not a union, not a union "boss," or a union member, or an American president and his "political machine."
Maybe there were others who also sent threats, but if Fitzgerald has any evidence they were part of a union/Democratic Party cabal to do him harm, it's unrevealed to the public and still in his vest pocket. That is exactly where GOP Sen. Joe McCarthy used to keep his imaginary list of 200 known communists in the State Department.
This Democratic death-threat rhetoric is tragicomedy from the man who helped enact a virtual death sentence against public employee unions in Wisconsin. More significantly, it pretty much is worth considering that Fitzgerald is, in this letter, committing slander and libel against other elected officials.
I have attached a scan of the Fitzgerald letter to this post. You'll see a red tag on the top of the first page saying it has been edited, which is true. That message merely indicates I deleted the personal information of the person who received the letter and who passed it along to me. Safe to say, that's one Republican recipient who won't be contributing to Fitzgerald after reading his outrageous assertions. Except for the addressee information removal, the letter's full text as signed by Fitzgerald has not been altered in my PDF scan.
Fitzgerald's accusation that Democrats and unions issued death threats is only the most egregious part of the letter. He also claims that unions "packed the State Capitol with raging mobs of union protesters -- many from other states -- who had been worked into a frenzy by union leaders."
Of course, as the news media have reported and numerous police agencies have confirmed, the massive protests at the Capitol were fundamentally peaceful and resulted to little more than ordinary wear and tear to the building and its grounds. No matter. Fitzgerald saw a raging mob.
Fitzgerald closes his missive by begging for donations to his campaign, because "Democrats and Big Labor will have unlimited money and man power [sic] from all over the country to wage their attack on us." Yeah, well, hey, senator, you made your bed, now lay in it. But it's laughable of you to assert progressive political forces have "unlimited" resources, since a.) you've just once again limited their resources and b.) it's actually your own party and it's Koch-fueled coffers that better fits that "unlimited" description.
Also, according to Fitzgerald in his letter:
* The White House "along with union bosses" was "directing the actions of the fourteen Senate Democrats" who left chambers and caucused in Illinois. What, the state Democrats had no minds of their own? Just because the GOP runs itself as an authoritarian, top-down organization is no reason to project that management style onto its opposition. Again, an unsupported assertion.
* Obama was "heavily invested" in stopping Gov. Walker and the GOP-held legislature "because his re-election in 2012 may depend on the undivided support of government employee unions in the Midwest." Here once more is evidence that Fitzgerald the GOP are really obsessed with unions as mechanisms that tend to support Democrats, and not the "budget crisis." Fitzgerald even repeats the claim in his postscript, just in case recipients were too dense to pick up on his first use of it.
* "Big Labor" used "bully tactics" to seek what it ("they," actually) wanted. Makes you wonder if this charge includes all the pubilc employee unions and public union locals that aren't big and "bosses" which, like Fitzgerald himself, were chosen in an election. And, of course, one can much more accurately state that it was "Big Republican state government" whose "bosses" used "bully tactics" to begin this controversy and then try to put an early end to it.
* Unions used "fear, smear and intimidation" to seek what they wanted. This from the GOP Senate Majority Leader who, it is clear from his own words and deeds in his own campaign letter, uses (ta-dah!) fear, smear and intimidation. Calling Dr. Freud! We've got a bad case of projection, here!
A lot of this old news, in that Fitzgerald previously has been quoted here and there making similarly nutty and irresponsible claims. But here it all is, compile in a handy, two-page letter that makes it crystal clear this is not stuff Fitzgerald said in a heated, unscripted moment; it's what he deeply believes -- or, at least, deeply wants his supporters to believe. All the slurs, slings and arrows and false information. All the hysteria. All the bile and snot and drool. All the red meat. All the lies. All the recklessness. All the psychological projections of his own leadership's failings transferred to his opponents.
Read the full letter, and understand that the Wisconsin Senate is under the control of a man who is out of control. My attitude at this point: Eff Scott Fitzgerald.
UPDATE: On April 1, the day after the above was published here, news outlets reported that a 26-year-old Cross Plains, Wisconsin, woman was charged with two felony counts and two misdemeanor counts in connection with email threats against Wisconsin lawmakers, including Fitzgerald. Although this hasn't been reported in the mainstream press, conservative blogs are already headlining that the defendant is a teacher. I think we know now what Fitzgerald's basis is for claiming that public employee unions are out to kill him. Based on the language in his letter, Fitz's reasoning must be along the lines of: President Obama ordered the union bosses in D.C. to order Wisconsin teachers unions to order a member (maybe, we don't know for sure) to issue a histrionic death threat by email. So you see, they're all in it together! Arrest them all! A greater example of guilt by association we will not soon see.