As Ann Coulter extensively discussed in her hit books Godless and Guilty, one of liberals' favorite tricks is to have their lies parroted by spokesmen who their opponents will be too scared to hit back against properly (if at all), for fear of being seen as "mean" toward a victim or national hero. Now, the forces allied against Republican Gov. Scott Walker's budget repair efforts in Wisconsin have just such an infallible shill of their own.
Patrick Bahnken is a New York City union leader and one of the firefighters who was in the World Trade Center on September 11, and he's lending his support to leftist PAC We Are Wisconsin (which actually isn't Wisconsin, by the way) in rather bombastic fashion:
The folks from Wisconsin, when New York was attacked, came and helped us out. We believe that now that the people of Wisconsin are being attacked, it's important for us to help them out [...] I'm a Republican. But what's happening here is not a political issue, it's not a Republican vs. Dem, it's not a union non-union thing. This is an attack on middle-class families across this country [...] People have to pick a side. You're either going to stand up for working families and middle class families, or you're going to kneel before the rich.
Wisconsinites have been "attacked" just like the Twin Towers were? It's "kneeling before the rich" to fix our budget with reforms that still leave government workers with a better benefits deal than the private sector, and that are saving the states' public schools millions of dollars without layoffs, class size changes, or curriculum cuts? And all this according to an alleged Republican?
Charmingly, someone claiming to be Patrick Bahnken has commented on Brian Sikma's post on the matter at Media Trackers, sneering that his remarks have been somehow taken out of context, though not so far out of context that he'd hesitate to crack:
While the author may wish to compare Governor Walker to the likes of Adolph Hitler and other despots, that is his right. Afterall, he probably knows the Governor much better than me.
As a 9/11 first responder, Bahnken deserves the nation's thanks. He was a hero, and we have no authority to take that away from him. The only person who can tarnish that image is Bahnken himself - which, tragically, is exactly what's happened here. Bahnken has disgraced himself by not only turning his personal experience and our national nightmare into political weapons, but also using them to lie, to defame, and to fan the flames of class resentment.
Conservative pundits and bloggers can be counted on to call out Patrick Bahnken for his disgrace, but the real problem is that elected Republicans - the ones who, unlike us, have the power to get out a message beyond the right-wing choir and into the homes of undecideds and independents - cannot. Until the GOP truly overcomes its fear of left-wing demagoguery, liberals will continue to get away with the vilest smears imaginable, simply by giving them to mouthpieces who mustn't be questioned.