You shall be known by the company you keep

Christian Schneider on with whom Sens. Jessica King (D–Oshkosh) and Tim Cullen (D–Janesville), supposed gubernatorial recall candidate, are hanging around these days:

If the recent controversy over collective bargaining in Wisconsin has done anything, it has lifted up a rock to expose how many cretins manage to slither below the surface of legitimate political dialogue. …

Then there’s liberal hero Ian Murphy, who impersonated billionaire David Koch while making a now-famous prank phone call to Gov. Scott Walker. Murphy, a blogger, was immediately lionized by union loyalists for supposedly “exposing” Walker’s ties to the Koch Brothers (whom Walker claims he has never met). …

On Tuesday, the 540,000 signatures needed to force a recall election of Governor Walker are due; and in advance of this momentous occasion, Democrats have sent Murphy on a barnstorming tour to drum up support for the recall. Local newspapers have photographed Murphy chumming it up with incumbent state senators, many of whom fled the state last February in order to block a vote on the collective-bargaining bill. Flyers offer attendees the chance to “meet special guest Ian Murphy of the Daily Beast, famous for his ‘Fake David Koch’ phone call.”

But that isn’t the only thing that has brought fame to Ian Murphy. In May 2008, he wrote a vile column titled “F*** the Troops,” in which he ridiculed the notion that we should honor those fighting for our country. Among Murphy’s “greatest” hits (warning: profane language):

● “So, 4000 rubes are dead. Cry me the Tigris. Another 30,000 have been seriously wounded. Boo f***ing hoo. They got what they asked for — and cool robotic limbs, too.”

● “The benevolence of America’s ‘troops’ is sacrosanct. Questioning their rectitude simply isn’t done. It’s the forbidden zone. We may rail against this tragic war, but our soldiers are lauded by all as saints. Why? They volunteered to partake in this savage idiocy, and for this they deserve our utmost respect? I think not.”

● “The nearly two-thirds of us who know this war is bullshit need to stop s***ing off the troops. They get enough action raping female soldiers and sodomizing Iraqi detainees.”

● “As a society, we need to discard our blind deference to military service. There’s nothing admirable about volunteering to murder people. There’s nothing admirable about being rooked by obvious propaganda. There’s nothing admirable about doing what you’re told if what you’re told to do is terrible.”

● On John McCain: “Again, what is heroic about involving one’s self in a foolish war, being a sh***y pilot or getting tortured? Yeah, it must have sucked, but getting your ass kicked every day for five years doesn’t make you a hero—it makes you a Bad News Bear.”

● “But what kind of world would we rather live in: one where fools are admired for being fooled and murderers are extolled for murdering, or one where we have the capacity to step back and say, ‘I don’t care who told you to do what and why; you’re still an asshole!’ Personally, I’d rather live in a world where people who act like retards are treated like retards: executed in Texas.”

And on and on it goes.

Of course, anyone who is familiar with politics sees these reptiles trolling around on message boards and on Twitter. But Ian Murphy is now headlining legitimate events thrown by legitimate Democrats, none of whom will even acknowledge his puerile radicalism. (Very little, if any, of Murphy’s past has been reported in the state media, save for Milwaukee-area conservative talk radio.)

Miss Wisconsin won the Miss America pageant on Saturday night. She clearly represents the pretty side of the state. But Ian Murphy has given everyone a glimpse of how ugly it can be, too.

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