“First off,” Scott Walker proclaimed, “we took on the unions, and we won. We won!”
Taking on the unions is usually first off for Walker, the Wisconsin governor and Republican presidential candidate. It is the very rationale for his candidacy. And on Thursday, he took a detour from the campaign trail to appear here before the annual meeting of the conservative American Legislative Exchange Council, a group of state legislators dedicated in large part to defeating unions.
ALEC, which inspired many of Walker’s anti-labor efforts in Wisconsin, drew several hundred union protesters as legislators arrived here this week for its conference — and this delighted Walker. “I understand you had a few protesters yesterday,” he told the conservative legislators. “For us, that’s just getting warmed up. That’s nothing. We got 100,000 protesters.”
Walker then went on to celebrate his triumphs over the demonstrators who objected to his dismantling of Wisconsin’s public-sector unions, portraying the pro-union forces as violent thugs. “Those big government interests — they believe they can win by intimidating elected officials,” he said. “There were amazing things they did to try to intimidate us. The good news is we didn’t back down. We remembered the reason we were elected was not to serve the few in our state capitol, but to serve the masses.”