Thursday, January 1, 2015

David Duke/Scott Walker debate historical gold mine

There are plenty of takeaways from a fascinating video posted by blogger Jud Lounsbury on the Uppity Wisconsin platform which shows a 1992 public TV debate between a young Scott Walker representing the Republican Party and David Duke, a former Ku Klux Klan Grand Wizard turned-GOP Louisiana state legislator.

Duke is back in the news because a prominent Republican politician from Louisiana who is now the GOP whip, or #3 leader, in the US House of Representatives, was recently revealed to have spoken at a Duke-organized while supremacy conference.

But back to the Wisconsin video:

Duke was running in the 1992 Republican presidential primaries against President George H. W. Bush; Walker's role in the TV debate was to explain why the GOP was trying keep the ex-Klan leader off the Wisconsin GOP presidential primary ballot. (Duke ultimately won a lawsuit to get on the ballot but got less than 3% of the Wisconsin GOP primary vote, and didn't siphon serious attention from Bush, either.)

It fell to Walker to do a dance as the party's fall guy that was filled with inconsistencies and stumbles, including a) condemning Duke's views as a former Klan leader - - OK, so far - - but then b) declining to label Duke's then-contemporary views on some issues as extreme - - uh, oh and - -  c) defaulting to blaming the media - - oh, no, you didn't!- - for his party's PR mess.

Nearly every caller to the show after Duke and Walker had laid out their respective positions on a ballot position for Duke backed Duke's politics and/or his right to a ballot spot, and slammed Walker and the party, with a satisfied and pretty confident Duke looking on.

He even said Walker and GOP party bosses were behaving like Russian communist party bosses. Ouch.

Here's where I think the video's value lies:

*  It's an early window into Walker's signature reflex to dodge and point fingers when the going gets tough. 

Walker's finger-pointing, blame-the-media, talking-point driven performance was reminiscent of the end of his failed, scandal-plagued student body presidential campaign four years earlier, and it hasn't stopped since.

The latest example: Walker is blaming his inability to make and announce a decision on a possible new casino in Kenosha on agreements made by former Governor Jim Doyle - - out of office for four years. \

When Walker issued a letter about his indecision in DecemberDoyle's name was mentioned five times.

*  It presents early evidence of Walker's battles with clear language - - more recently catalogued here - - as Walker tried to bob-and-weave through Duke's inflammatory history:
The distinction we're making is not one of saying his issues are extreme, they certainly are not.
Stick with the tape as Walker labors unsuccessfully to make some sort of procedural analogy to a 1988 irrelevancy involving Democratic presidential candidate Michael Dukakis. 

And, separately, Walker failed to wiggle his way out of the contradiction posed by the GOP's comfort with letting Pat Buchanan and his extremist baggage onto the 1992 primary ballot while trying to block Duke. 

Here's one list with plenty of Buchanan's pre-1992 examples of anti-minority and Jewish remarks.

According to Walker, the tolerance for Buchanan's place on the had to do with how many times the accusations had been made, leaving Duke and his callers free to seize open election and ballot access high ground.

*  Finally: listen as Duke explains his appeal at the time to some GOP voters on key issues - - welfare, affirmative action, immigration, Big Government - - and think about how similar those positions are to today's basic GOP/Tea Party message.

Final thought: It's interesting that there is at least one posting about this video dating to at 2012.

I'd missed that - - but the writer did not miss one inescapable conclusion: Duke "mopped the floor with Walker."


Anonymous said...

What happened to jounalists like hard hitting Smith. They do not exist.

Anonymous said...

Yup that's the snake we all know. Wow.

Anonymous said...

How on earth did Walker rise topolical power. He is an inarticulate moron. My favorite part is where he accuses Duke of being a career politician. Really Scooter???
Walker's policies are far more racist and no one wants to mention that they are. For example, of what ethnic background are the students from the voucher school which is closing their doors?
Maybe Duke hit the nail on the head, Walker has the moral character of the Communist leaders in Russia. How did this horses --- get where he is?

Anonymous said...

He's a handpicked tool of the kock empire. They've been at it for more than thirty years (ALEC.)

That's how a little kocks*cker like Walker rises far above his level of competence.

Dirty money buys and makes dirty pols.