In an interview with the Wisconsin Center for Investigative Journalism, Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker uncharacteristically expressed remorse over major missteps he’s made since taking office last January.
“If I could do this all over again, I’d spend more time in January and February making a case,” Walker said in the interview. “I just kind of came in and said, ‘OK, here’s the problem, here’s the solution, I’ll just go fix it.’ And I didn’t spend a lot of time building up a communications effort to explain … the reasons why.”
Walker was referring specifically to his so-called “Budget Repair Bill,” which eliminated nearly all collective bargaining rights for public employees. Walker now faces a likely recall over that move combined with his slashing of public education and healthcare funding and his voter photo ID bill, which makes it more difficult for traditionally Democratic constituencies to vote.
The recall election will probably be held in June, according to a consensus of published reports.
The most surprising part of the conversation with interviewer Bill Lueders was Walker’s expression of remorse over a phone call he took from a prankster pretending to be corporate-right billionaire David Koch. Koch and his various political front groups are among Walker’s most generous donors. Koch Industries is seeking to do a lot of business with the state.
The conversation, which was posted on the Internet and went viral, includes Walker bragging about his refusal to negotiate with Democrats and his consideration of a plan to plant unruly demonstrators among the tens of thousands protesting him at the Capitol.
In the conversation, Walker called his actions “stupid.”
“(The call) diverted attention from a debate that needed to be focused on the facts and instead got off into this hysteria and everything. … I was duped … that I would go off and talk about stuff like that, yeah it was stupid.”
The governor called the experience “a pretty good reality check for me.” He said it showed the importance of keeping the focus on his agenda and “not about what people think about me personally.”