As my colleague Geoff Dickens recently chronicled, MSNBC’s Ed Schultz actively campaigned with the union movement leading up to the bitter end of the Wisconsin recall election. Following Scott Walker’s decisive victory to retain his post as Wisconsin's governor, Schultz suddenly changed his tune to justify the embarrassing loss Democrats were dealt.
On the Wednesday May 7 broadcast of The Ed Show, Schultz pointed out NBC News exit polls found 70 percent of Wisconsinites disagreed with Tuesday's recall on principle. Only 27 percent said they were appropriate at all and 60 percent said recalls are appropriate only for official misconduct. Schultz argues that the bottom line was, “not enough Wisconsinites were convinced the recall was justified and even though they don’t approve of Scott Walker most Wisconsinites were not convinced he did enough to be removed from office.” [Video follows page break; MP3 audio here.]
Schultz is clearly trying to rewrite the script, downplaying the result by insisting Wisconsinites don't actually support Walker's policies, just that they thought it wasn't right to toss him out of office. But even the Wisconsin Democratic Party in January suggested Governor Scott Walker has been engaged in illegal campaign activity which would justify the use of the recall. Other liberal outlets like Current TV have suggested that Walker is days away from a criminal indictment and Schultz himself, on Tuesday night just after the election was called for Walker held out hope that Walker may be indicted in a few days time
Big Ed’s blatant campaigning for the union efforts in Wisconsin has been well documented but his attempts to cover up their failures on voters dissatisfaction with the recall efforts is icing on the cake. Schultz can’t admit that Walker’s win might be a because voters believe his reform efforts are working in Wisconsin. Ever the partisan organizer, Schultz has come up with a new talking point to rally his Big Labor buddies after a devastating loss.
Below is the relevant transcript.
The Ed Show
8:03 p.m. EST
ED SCHULTZ: All of these Republicans are overlooking a very key fact here. A majority of Wisconsinites, 70%, in fact, said that they disagreed with the recall principle on its terms. NBC News exit polls showed that only 27% of voters said that recalls were appropriate for any reason as long as people signed recall petitions. 60% Said recalls are appropriate only for official misconduct. 10% of Wisconsin voters said recalls are never appropriate. Not enough Wisconsinites, this is the bottom line. Not enough Wisconsinites were convinced the recall was justified. Even if they don't approve of Scott Walker, most Wisconsinites were not convinced he did enough to be removed from office. So the Republicans knew this, and they took advantage of it. Like Walker said, divide and conquer. And now the Republican plan is to diminish organized labor in America, and that is playing out exactly how Karl Rove said it would play out last year.
KARL ROVE: They lost 612,000 union members in 2010 alone. Now, think about it, every one of those 612,000 people had literally perhaps several hundred dollars worth of union dues going into the political coffers of their union to spend on politics. So yeah you keep having couple hundred thousand people each year if half a million people leave the labor union movement every year and pretty soon you start having crimp in the political budgets of these unions, it has a direct effect on the presidential.
SCHULTZ: So you get the reason why Wisconsin is so important? The plan is working and the proof is in the numbers. Take a look at how AFSCME (American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees) membership in Wisconsin dropped after the walker law took effect. This is the second largest union in the state and it lost more than half its members. I guess you could put up the banner now, mission accomplished. Folks, there is no way around the reality of what happened in the state of Wisconsin yesterday. You can’t put and you can't buy enough lipstick to put on this political pig for the Democrats. Republicans figured out how to chip away at unions. It hurts the Democratic Party and squeezes the working class, no doubt about it. It happened in Wisconsin and Citizens United makes it likely it's going to happen again. You will never convince me that the outcome of this election would have been the same if the money was equal or near equal on both sides.