Scott Walker somewhat famously does not like unions. The Wisconsin governor has been responsible for one of the worst dismantlings of union and blue-collar workers’ rights in America to date. The far right conservative politician is also a possible 2016 candidate for the Republican party. And the Dropkick Murphys really do not like him. In fact, they “literally hate” him. While the history between two has a longer timeline than just the weekend, the latest kerfuffle comes due to the fact that Scott Walker used a Dropkick Murphys’ song during the Iowa Freedom Summit and the self-proclaimed working-man’s band told him off for it.
The Dropkick Murphys are an Irish punk band from Boston who have a long history of supporting unions and blue-collar workers. Not only do they make pro-union songs like “Take ‘Em Down,” they even sell union themed band t-shirts. Back in 2011, the band expressed solidarity with embattled Wisconsin unions under pressure from Walker and followed that up by asking Walker to stop using their music to walk on stage in 2012. Now they have made the same request because apparently the governor has not got the message yet.
This time, the Dropkick Murphys used Twitter to reach out to the governor and made their feelings explicitly known.
— Dropkick Murphys (@DropkickMurphys)
If they were not clear before, they certainly are now.
Walker, however, has a history of being obtuse. He introduced a bill in Wisconsin to basically take away collective bargaining from the unions in his state. There were massive protests (some of which used Dropkick Murphys songs) and the bill was largely unpopular with the people of the state. But despite that, a Republican controlled Wisconsin government passed the bill and took away the very thing that makes unions good for the people: collective bargaining rights. The bill was so unpopular that its passing sparked a recall effort aimed at Walker himself, an effort which ultimately failed but spoke to the deep-seated resentment of Wisconsin workers.
While a story about a band going up against a politician is interesting, the issue between the two is a bit larger than just music. Scott Walker is a 2016 hopeful and he used the Dropkick Murphys’ song during this weekend’s conservative Iowa Freedom Summit. Iowa is one of the most important primary states for any candidate and his presence there is no accident. If he is really serious about running for president, he is going to have to win Iowa in the primary. But there is one thing standing in his way: unions.
The Wisconsin governor has a reputation for killing unions, which should be a liability for any presidential campaign he runs. While it may be popular with rich conservatives like the Koch brothers or Donald Trump, those people represent far fewer votes than the workers who belong to unions and feel disrespected by Walker’s stance. In some ways, the Dropkick Murphys are their representative voice. Scott Walker should take note of the band telling him off for using their song, because the Dropkick Murphys are not the only ones who “literally hate” him: the working man apparently does, too.
Opinion by Lydia Bradbury