Barb Caffrey's Blog

Writing the Elfyverse . . . and beyond

Archive for July 3rd, 2011

Wisconsin State Journal’s editorial about recalls falls down on the job

leave a comment »

Folks, I am livid after reading this extremely biased, slanted staff editorial by the Wisconsin State Journal, one of the best-known papers in the state.  The WSJ has the nerve to say that recalls are bad because they extend the election cycle, and when, pray tell, will it end?

Well, I’ll tell you when it’ll end.  When we finally have some responsible people in government who stop behaving like Wisconsin is their personal fiefdom and that the rule of law need not apply.  As Grant Petty, writing for Madison’s alternative paper The Isthmus, wrote in his response to the WSJ editorial:

It was not simply that I disagreed with your position.  I disagree with other publications’ positions all the time without necessarily feeling insulted by them.  The straw that broke the camel’s back for me was that you had once again ignored or grossly oversimplified deep and important issues affecting Wisconsin while basing your position on superficial ones.

Petty goes on to say later on in the article that many things have caused the people of Wisconsin to recall their legislators (especially those of the Republican variety); these things include, but are not limited to:

  • The lack of transparency in government, for the rule of law, and for the constitutionality of our courts by our elected officials.
  • Creating new obstacles to voting in traditionally Democratic demographic groups (minorities, the poor, college students, elderly who don’t live in nursing homes)
  • What Petty calls “blatant pay-to-play favors” for major campaign donors (including the one railroad exec. who pled guilty to an illegal campaign contribution of $49,000 to Scott Walker)
  • A state Supreme Court that Petty calls a “rubber stamp” that was “bought and paid for by Wisconsin Manufacturing and Commerce,” a lobbying group that traditionally backs Republicans and conservative ideology. and
  • Last, but not least, the overarching inaccuracies of the vote going back at least to 2004 in Waukesha County; Petty describes several troubling aspects of the vote in the 2011 judicial race between Justice David Prosser and challenger JoAnne Kloppenburg that changed the outcome of the election, starting with Waukesha County Clerk Kathy Nickolaus’s finding of 7500 votes over a day after the election had supposedly ended and continuing on with problems with the voting machines and electronic tape malfunctions that were never explored or explained (including one where the totals inexplicably read March 30, 2011, not April 5, 2011 as they should’ve; Barbara With, who observed the Waukesha County recount, explicitly made sure the Government Accountability Board knew about this and testified as to what she’d seen and heard and entered her picture of the faulty tape into evidence, yet the GAB, again inexplicably, refused to believe or accept this and left this testimony out of the official record).

Note that all of this — all — is why most people in Wisconsin, including a sizable minority of Walker’s own party, remains livid regarding the conduct of our current crop of public officials (mostly the recently-elected Walker and many of the Republican officeholders who are being recalled, including State Senator Alberta Darling).  Petty said it extremely well, and I only wish that I’d have written this summation myself; this truly is why Wisconsin is upset and has recalled an unprecedented number of people (remember, before this year, only four people had ever been forced to run in recall elections, with two of them holding their seats while the other two, including my former Republican state Senator George Petak, R-Racine, lost).

As to why the WSJ decided to write a slanted, utterly biased editorial?  Who knows?  But I do know that whenever I read their paper online in the future, I will keep their partisan slant in mind and judge their reportage accordingly.

Other than that, I agree with Petty’s contention that we should be far more concerned with out-and-out election fraud in this state because we’ve apparently had problems now in Waukesha County since 2004 and nothing, but nothing, has been done about them and apparently nothing, but nothing, is going to be done about them because apparently the political powers who now run the state (all three branches of government are run by Republicans, remember, as I’ve stated before) like it the way it is even though most of the rest of us emphatically do not.

And that, my friends, is not only sad.  It’s shameful, and should not be tolerated in what we so euphemistically call “a democratic state.”