By Paul Brochu, Lead Organizer, New Hampshire for The Stamp Stampede
According to someone who was there Saturday morning:
More people were outside protesting against Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker than were inside the building, attending the event.
Inside, what was billed as the NH-GOP’s “2016 Kickoff Grassroots Training” quickly devolved into an exercise in political fundraising. Party Chairwoman Jennifer Horn kept reminding the “Grassroots” participants to donate, donate, donate. She also encouraged them to volunteer for Americans For Prosperity. (Which is somewhat odd… wouldn’t the Party want its “Grassroots” volunteers to support Republican candidates, not a 501(c)(4) “social welfare organization” founded by the Koch brothers ??)
Inside, party officials were touting Scott Walker as “the only candidate willing to fight the special interests.” (Which is an odd characterization, while there’s an ongoing investigation into “whether Gov. Scott Walker’s campaign and conservative groups illegally worked together in recall elections” including “the involvement of Walker’s campaign in raising money” for the Wisconsin Club for Growth.)
Inside, party officials were discussing who would – and wouldn’t – be allowed into the event. Among those left outside in the cold? Any and all Republicans from Massachusetts. Apparently, NH GOP officials thought Massachusetts Republicans had struck some sort of “deal” with labor unions… and because of that, any Republican from Massachusetts was turned away at the door. Among those left outside the event? A gray-suited man who described himself as a “Lifetime Member of the National Republican Inner Circle” who happened to be from Massachusetts.
(And, yes, there were Republican union members outside the event, too. Party officials keep forgetting that, in New Hampshire, a large chunk of union members are registered Republicans. And Republican union members weren’t any happier with Scott Walker than Democratic union members were.)
And also outside the event? Gov. Walker’s fundraising machine, which reportedly is going full-steam all around the country. Here’s how CNN reported it:
Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker is on an ambitious mission this spring to scoop up major GOP donors ahead of a likely presidential run … Walker’s PAC, Our American Revival, provided CNN with a list of names of reliable Republican donors who have already committed to bundle funds for him or contribute significantly to a Super PAC that would be developed to support him should he run. And Republican fundraisers have told CNN donors are lining up to meet with him as he’s rocketing up in the polls.
New Hampshire used to pride itself on the “First in the Nation” primary. Only now, we’ve been beaten to the punch by a bunch of billionaires holding their own “interviews” and trying to pre-select which candidates will be able to run for President.
That’s why the Stamp Stampede was outside the event, too, Saturday morning.
We remember back in 2011, when Gov. Walker thought he was talking with David Koch. (Frankly, it was kind of embarrassing; governors should be dignified, not fawning. You can read the transcript here.)
And even before that: the videotape of a billionaire asking him whether he could make Wisconsin a “completely red state, and work on these unions, and become a right-to-work” state. And Walker replied that his “first step” would be “to divide and conquer” the unions through his “budget-adjustment bill.”
That was after the 2010 elections, in which Walker won the support of Operating Engineers Local 139.
Terry McGowan, the union’s business manager, said the union gave its 2010 endorsement only after getting assurances Walker would not pursue right-to-work legislation. [McGowan said] he was continuing to take Walker at his word given his public statements and conversations he has had with him. “You don’t hear him say, ‘Yes, I’m going to go after right-to-work legislation,’ ” McGowan said of the video.
But he added that divide and conquer is a phrase that is anathema to those in the labor movement.
“It means turning worker against worker,” he said.
The billionaire gave Walker a $500,000 donation.
And last week, just before he came to New Hampshire, Scott Walker signed “Right-to-Work.” Apparently, it’s good for getting donations. “Even before the Legislature passed the measure on Friday in a fast-track process, Mr. Walker’s political backers were raising money on the issue.”
Let’s be clear: the ability “to scoop up major donors” should not be the #1 qualification to become President.
It’s not something to be proud of.
The willingness to say one thing publicly, and something else to mega-donors – that’s not something to be proud of, either.
Eagerness to embrace divide-and-conquer as a political strategy? That’s beyond the pale.
The Stampede is tens of thousands of Americans legally stamping messages on our nation’s currency to #GetMoneyOut of Politics. As more and more stamped money spreads, so will the movement to amend the Constitution and overturn Citizens United.
You can get your own stamp online at www.stampstampede.org. Or, if you’re a member of CWA, you can get a stamp from your LPAT coordinator. The average stamped bill is seen by 875 people – which makes stamping a highly-effective way to get the message out about how money in politics is corrupting our government.
It’s time to #GetMoneyOut of politics and take back our government.