Journalist arrested at Wisconsin protest calls Gov. Walker presidential run ‘horrifying’
The editor and publisher of The Progressive magazine told Democracy Now host Amy Goodman his recent arrest in the Wisconsin state capitol might be a sign Gov. Scott Walker (R) is girding himself for a run at a presidential campaign, despite being an unsuccessful crackdown on the state’s protest movement.
“He’s not succeeding, but maybe that was by design,” Matthew Rothschild told Goodman on Monday. “Maybe he thinks the more he has confrontations with protesters, the better it is for his presidential aspirations.”
Rothschild was arrested on August 15 while photographing capitol police as they arrested Bonnie Block, a member of the “Raging Grannys” activist group and took her toward an elevator.
“This was in the Capitol — a public space,” Rothschild said to Goodman.”And I followed them down there and I was taking pictures, and they said, ‘You can’t come here.’ And I said, ‘Well, I’m a reporter, I’m with The Progressive magazine.’ They said, ‘No, you can’t come here.’ I said, ‘I’m with the press. I have a right to be here.’ And with that, I didn’t get another word out because they grabbed my hands, put them behind my back and handcuffed me right then and there.”
Rothschild explained that he was taken to a holding cell while police continued to arrest demonstrators, then transported to Dane County jail, where he was charged with misdemeanor obstruction and resisting arrest before being released on $300 bond. He is scheduled to go to court on those charges on Sept. 23. He also wrote about the incident in a story for The Progressive.
But while police have arrested more than 200 people over the past three weeks, Rothschild told Goodman, demonstrations have only increased in size at the Capitol, with another protest to be held on Monday against Walker’s anti-union practices and alignment with conservative megadowners David and Charles Koch.
A March 2013 report by the state Legislature’s nonpartisan budget office also warned that Walker’s latest budget threatened to create a $664 million deficit, contrary to his boast during a Monday interview with MSNBC host Joe Scarborough about guiding Wisconsin to a $500 million surplus.
Rothschild questioned the optimistic tone in Walker’s MSNBC appearance, saying the governor was positioning himself to campaign for the GOP presidential nomination, a prospect he called “horrifying.”
“He is destroying the state,” Rothschild told Goodman. “He can talk all he wants, but he’s ruining what used to be a pretty decent state here.”
Rothschild pointed to Walker’s moves to cut Medicaid as well as reproductive rights and willingness to give the mining industry carte blanche as an attack on progressivism in the state.
“I don’t think he’s gonna win,” Rothschild said of Walker’s prospects for higher office. “But maybe with all of these arrests he’s raising money from the Koch brothers, who knows?”
Watch Rothschild’s interview with Goodman, aired Monday, below.