Nation Writer: Scott Walker Uses Sports to Exploit ‘What He Imagines to Be the Ignorance’ of Voters

In a Tuesday post, The Nation blogger Dave Zirin argued that it’s politically unseemly for Gov. Scott Walker to root publicly for certain Wisconsin sports teams, including the University of Wisconsin basketballers, who came up just short in last night’s men’s national title game against Duke.

Zirin [pictured below] claimed that it’s “almost flagrantly irresponsible” for the media to publicize Walker’s support of the Badger hoops team “while ignoring that…Walker has made it his mission to cut hundreds of millions of dollars from the very public university system bringing glory to the state.” In Zirin’s view, Walker is “a soulless vessel for Koch brothers cash who in the name of a career advancement to the White House, is willing to both mercilessly attack any and all expressions of public life while at the same time using sports to shamelessly bank on what he imagines to be the ignorance of the US electorate.”

From Zirin’s post, headlined “The Wisconsin Badgers Deserve Better Than Scott Walker” (bolding added):

In December, it was Walker during the NFL playoffs proclaiming his undying loyalty to the Green Bay Packers, even though that is a team whose fan-owned ownership model is anathema to everything that the governor, not to mention the billionaire Koch Brothers who currently hold the receipt on Walker’s soul, stand for...

Monday night, it was the Wisconsin Badgers…almost being crowned as NCAA basketball champions over the evil empire that is Duke. Before the night’s contest, there was…Walker preening about his wager with North Carolina Governor Pat McCrory, as Politico.com reported, of “an assortment of Wisconsin cheese, sausage and root beer”…

Walker said, “Duke is a formidable opponent, but this is Wisconsin’s year to bring home the victory. Make ’em believe!” Yes, these kinds of wagers by politicians hoping for a little bit of refracted glow have been made for eons. Yet there is something almost flagrantly irresponsible about the news media—even if we agree for the sake of argument that Politico counts as news media—reporting on these wagers like it is all fun and games, while ignoring that Scott Walker has made it his mission to cut hundreds of millions of dollars from the very public university system bringing glory to the state.

This is who Gov. Scott Walker is: a soulless vessel for Koch brothers cash who in the name of a career advancement to the White House, is willing to both mercilessly attack any and all expressions of public life while at the same time using sports to shamelessly bank on what he imagines to be the ignorance of the US electorate…

…The Final Four itself took place in a state whose hastily amended codified discrimination laws were defended by Walker even as they were condemned by the NCAA. Even as such left-wing organizations like NASCAR pilloried the bill, Walker described those who opposed it as “people who are chronically looking for ways to be upset about things.” That would actually be a good definition of Scott Walker who has never found a teacher, a firefighter, or—I don’t know—a public university that wasn’t worth demonizing for his own political gain.

…[W]hen [Walker] hears the cheers for the Badgers in their run to a title, he does not hear a celebration of a brilliant public university, but a clarion call for his own White House run. Don’t lend him brand his campaign with the Badgers pride. The Koch brothers have made sure he's already had their full agenda burned into his flesh, another governor for their collection, wearing their mark like a prize steer. Maybe someday Scott Walker will recognize the difference between branding and being branded.

Campaigns & Elections 2016 Presidential Culture/Society Economy Education Higher Education Conservatives & Republicans Homosexuality Sports The Nation Scott Walker Dave Zirin


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