A battle is brewing amongst Wisconsin bloggers, and it's looking to get a little dirty. A coalition of liberal bloggers have banded together to form a non-profit organization called "Milwaukee County First" for the explicit purpose of ensuring Scott Walker does not become the next governor of Wisconsin. Milwaukee County First was founded this June by an embittered Milwaukee County employee who, by a casual reading of his blog, has an unhealthy obsession. In the past 8 months, Chris Liebenthal has published over 200 overly-critical posts about Walker, some calling him a weasel, a liar, and a phony.
A handful of conservative bloggers, who know Chris Liebenthal all too well, understood immediately what he was doing. Liebenthal believes that by creating a non-profit that purports to put Milwaukee County first, he will have a larger megaphone when election season comes.
Liebenthal is starting to get a dose of his own medicine, and he's not liking it. In fact, he's lashing out at conservative bloggers calling them "Pro-Walker Groupies" and " Walkerophiles".
The issue at the center of this feud is the deliberate misrepresentation of Walker's stimulus position. Back in January, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel journalist Steve Schultze published a piece that misrepresented Walker's view on accepting federal stimulus dollars. Schultze stated that the only stimulus that Walker favors are tax cuts. This was not true, and Walker's office was displeased with the Schultze' report. Four days later, Walker writes an editorial to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel stating he would accept federal stimulus funds if they met the acceptance criteria seen below.
1. There is to be no requirement of a local match.
2. There is to be no long term commitments by the federal government.
3. There is to be no continuing operational costs or maintenance expenses.
In other words, if you asked Walker if he would reject stimulus funding, his answer would be something like this "that depends, how much will it cost taxpayers long term?" However, liberal bloggers, not interested in Walker's answer, propagated the myth that Walker rejected all forms of stimulus funding, but later accepted the idea in order to avoid a public rebuke.
This was proved to be false not only by Walker's own editorials, but by several papers produced here on this blog. Even the Democrat Party of Wisconsin began to perpetuate the myth, but again their charges are answered easily.
Liebenthal also lashed out concerning a criticism published by Roland Melnick at the BadgerBlogger. Melnick essentially says what I've been saying all along - that Milwaukee County First is an offshoot of the AFSCME, the largest union in Wisconsin. Liebenthal's non-profit does not care about putting Milwaukee County First; they care about putting the employees of Milwaukee County First. This is a big difference. The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel just reported that Milwaukee County's health insurance and pension costs are projected to reach 93% of next year's payroll. This means that for every dollar spend on the salaries of county employees, 93 cents will go to their health insurance and pension expenses. The Milwaukee Journal elaborates,
"The county's pension costs are pegged at $68.3 million for 2010, and next year's health insurance costs are projected to reach $136.5 million. The total $204.8 million in benefit costs nearly matches the anticipated county payroll of $219.5 million in 2010, according to figures used in developing County Executive Scott Walker's new budget."
And yet people like Liebenthal cannot process these facts. I say he can't because his union-ideology won't let him. The sole purpose of a union is to represent due-payers and protect their interests. Their purpose excludes any consideration of what sort of burdens taxpayers will endure. And Chris Liebenthal, a leader in Local 645, is not interested in sharing the same sacrifices that the private sector is making. So he erects a non-profit with the misnomer "Milwaukee County First", which doesn't give a rip about Milwaukee County.