One of the most damning exchanges in the Scott Walker emails surrounds the case of a mentally ill woman who starved to death in a county mental health facility. Walker’s aides dismissed the importance of her death by saying, “No one cares about crazy people.”
Cindy Ancza died of starvation while committed to the Milwaukee County Mental Health Complex for treatment of bipolar disorder. Ancza passed away after losing 22 lbs in five weeks at the facility. Walker wasn’t worried about Ancza, or any of the other problems at the facility. He was most concerned about not being connected to the story. After conditions at the Milwaukee County Mental Health Complex emerged as a 2010 campaign issue, Walker wrote in an email, “We need to continue to keep me out of the story as this is a process issue and not a policy matter.”
After Ancza’s parents filed a legal complaint before the 2010 election, Walker’s county campaign staff broke the law by talking about how this would impact his campaign for governor while at their county jobs.
Here is the transcript of the email exchange among Walker’s staff from PR Watch:
“Totally coincidental to the election,” replied Walker campaign advisor RJ Johnson, about the timing of the filing.
“Corp [the County's ] to 50-100k,” emailed Rindfleisch.
“Ok – any time after Nov. 2nd would be the time to offer a settlement,” replied Keith Gilkes, who headed Walker’s campaign.
“Barrett is going to make this thecenter of his campaign,” Rindfleisch wrote in another email.
“yep and he is still going to lose because that is his base,” replied Joan Hansen, a County official.
“Yep,” Rindfleisch wrote. “No one cares about crazy people.”
In Scott Walker’s America, it’s fine if a mentally ill person starves to death at a government run mental health facility because no one cares about crazy people. That is the attitude that Scott Walker is looking to parlay into winning the Republican presidential nomination, and the White House in 2016.
According to the National Institute of Mental Health, 26.2% of Americans suffer from a mental illness. 20.9 million Americans have a mood disorder, and 14.8 million Americans have a major depressive disorder. A 2012 report by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) found that 20%, or 45.6 million Americans had experienced a mental illness during the previous year.
Contrary to what Walker’s aides believed millions of Americans care about the mentally ill, either because they have an illness themselves, or they have friends or family who do. Emails that were first thought to be embarrassing for Scott Walker have turned into a major political liability. Scott Walker is quickly joining the ranks of the completely unelectable potential Republican candidates.
Scott Walker’s far fetched dreams of being elected president in 2016 are going up in smoke. If Walker is the GOP nominee in 2016, millions of Americans will go to the polls to vote against him and show how much they really do care about the mentally ill.