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Why Scott Walker is Still Bad For WI

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It’s two days before the June 5, 2012, recall election against sitting Governor Scott Walker, sitting Lieutenant Governor Rebecca Kleefisch, and against four Republican state Senators (three sitting, one who has already resigned), including my own Republican state Senator, Van Wanggaard.  Basically, everything that can be said about the recalls — why I favor them, why I believe they are necessary and are a form of democracy in action — has been said.

But one thing I realized when reading over my previous blog, “Scott Walker: Bad for Wisconsin” is this — for whatever reason, I didn’t define why I felt Walker was bad for Wisconsin.  Instead, I reflected upon all of the divisive things Walker did early in 2011 which caused a great deal of harm to public discourse and civility in Wisconsin, and hoped my views would be clear.

But in case it wasn’t, let’s try again.  

Since Scott Walker was elected in November of 2010, he has divided this state in harmful, self-aggrandizing ways.  He has not used his “bully pulpit” to good effect, as he could’ve explained why he wanted the so-called reforms as propagated by Act 10 (which repealed collective bargaining for public employee unions, something Wisconsin had since the late 1950s) rather than just do it by fiat.  After Walker used his power to make such a drastic change, he proceeded to get upset because the 14 Democratic Wisconsin Senators left the state in an effort to delay Act 10 by any means necessary as the Wisconsin Assembly had already shown indications of passing Act 10.  The “Wisconsin 14” did this to promote civic — and civil — discourse, because if they hadn’t left the state, Act 10 would’ve been approved within days of Walker “dropping the bomb” on the state’s voters; by leaving the state, every single voter in the state was able to become informed.

At this point, Scott Walker and his Lt. Gov., Rebecca Kleefisch, went on various right-wing talk shows, including many at the Fox News Channel, to discuss these “modest reforms” — things that were no such thing — and to say that the “Wisconsin 14” were a bunch of low-lifes who refused to “compromise” with Walker, the Republican Senate Majority Leader, Scott Fitzgerald, or the Republican Speaker of the Assembly, Jeff Fitzgerald (brother of Scott).  This was classic Orwellian doublespeak on the part of Walker and Kleefisch; while Kleefisch, to a degree, could be excused for this because her position as Lt. Gov. has very little power, there was no excuse for what Walker said, nor for how he said it.

As we all know now, the Wisconsin Republican Senators eventually passed SB 10 by the vote of 18-1 in order to make Act 10 the law in Wisconsin.  (The lone dissenting vote was Dale Schultz of Richland Center.)  Some of the Republican Senators, including my own Van Wanggaard, had strong ties to unions — Wanggaard being a former policeman and past union representative — yet apparently had no qualms about stripping other union members of their rights, probably because police and firefighters had been exempted from Act 10’s “union-stripping” provisions.

After the Senate Rs did this, the Wisconsin 14 came home to a deeply divided state, where Scott Walker, Rebecca Kleefisch, the Fitzgerald brothers, etc., still said one thing and did something else.  But the people on the ground (like me) who at that time weren’t affiliated with either party were outraged.  Nine Senators — six Republicans and three Democrats — faced recall elections.  Of those, four Rs and all three Ds were retained, while two Rs were tossed from office and officially recalled.

That, of course, was far from the end of the story, as in November of 2011 four more Senate recalls and the recall of Walker and Kleefisch started.  Recall petitioners were told that we’d “never get” enough signatures, but we proved the naysayers wrong; ultimately, Walker, Kleefisch, Wanggaard, Scott Fitzgerald, and two other state Senators were recalled.

If you’ve read my blogs thus far, you know all this.  You probably also know that Scott Walker has gone to more out-of-state functions than any other one-year Governor in the history of Wisconsin.  He’s raised 60 to 70% of his campaign donations from out-of-state donors, some from extremely wealthy men and women.  You probably even know that in some quarters, Walker is viewed as a hero, of all things, because he “refused to back down” when the unions “told (him) where to go.”

The only part of those beliefs that’s true is that Walker refused to back down about anything.  But what people who insist on “standing with Walker” fail to realize is that Walker set this whole thing into motion himself — it’s not just the way he did things, which was execrable, but what he did that caused this whole mess.

All of this leads me to only one conclusion: Scott Walker is still very bad for Wisconsin.  Because Walker has shown that he cannot and will not compromise with anyone, he’s shown he’s incapable of being Governor — a job where compromise is a must.  And if Walker is retained on Tuesday, we in Wisconsin will be looking at more pain, more problems, and more frustration, as Walker will view this election as yet another mandate to do whatever he likes, even if he wins by .0001% of the vote.

That’s why I urge my fellow Wisconsinites to vote for Tom Barrett on Tuesday, June 5.  Vote for Mahlon Mitchell as your next Lieutenant Governor, and for those of you in Racine County’s District 21, vote for John Lehman as your next Senator.  All three men are moderates who will work to restore civility to Madison, which is why we need all three of them to be elected on June 5.

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Edited to add:  John Nichols explains very clearly why Scott Walker should be recalled and replaced here Here’s a few words from his compelling and cogent blog:

Elected officials weren’t supposed to campaign on one set of themes and govern on another. They weren’t supposed to “divide and conquer” the state. They weren’t supposed to collect $500,000 checks from billionaires, and gather most of their campaign money in other states. They weren’t supposed to have criminal defense funds.

Amen, brother!

Ed Schultz and John Nichols to be in Racine County Saturday

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After former President Bill Clinton’s visit to Milwaukee earlier today on behalf of Democratic gubernatorial candidate Tom Barrett, I didn’t think anyone else of note would be visiting Wisconsin on behalf of either Barrett or the recall effort.  But I couldn’t have been more wrong.

Due to the intense Wisconsin recall fight between sitting Governor Scott Walker (R) and challenger Tom Barrett (D), the current Mayor of Milwaukee, political commentators Ed Schultz and John Nichols will be in Racine County tomorrow — in Racine at noon, and in Burlington at 3 p.m.  Schultz, you see, has kept abreast of what’s going on in Wisconsin; Nichols, who writes for The Nation magazine and is an associate editor of The Cap Times (formerly The Capital Times, headquartered in Madison, WI), has been Schultz’s most regular correspondent.

It’s not unheard of that someone with a national radio show and TV show, like Schultz, would come to Wisconsin.  He’s done so before and has made stops in Madison.  But to come to Racine, which is just shy of 90,000 people, is new for him; that he’s also going to go to Burlington tomorrow at 3 p.m., when Burlington has, at most, 10,500 people, just goes to show that Schultz is interested in every part of Racine County, not just the City of Racine. 

As for Nichols visiting with Schultz, Nichols is from Wisconsin and he’s said before that he first voted in Union Grove (yet another small town in Racine County; Union Grove has approximately 4,300 people).  As Nichols obviously knows Racine County; he undoubtedly realizes that the City of Racine has been either first or second in how much unemployment we have for the past seven years running, which may be one reason why both are coming here.  And as unemployment is one of Schultz’s major “themes,” perhaps Schultz will take note of Racine’s problems in addition to his “get out the vote” efforts on behalf of the recalls of Walker, Lt. Gov. Kleefisch and the four Republican state Senators, including my own R Sen. Van Wanggaard.

If you’re planning to see Ed Schultz and John Nichols tomorrow, here’s where they’ll be:

12 Noon — at the Racine Labor Center, Racine, WI

3 p.m. — at Echo Lake Park, Burlington, WI

And their final stop will be in Baraboo — which isn’t in Racine County at all — at 7 p.m. at the Ringling Theatre.

See you there.

Written by Barb Caffrey

June 1, 2012 at 10:35 pm

WI Recall News: Bill Clinton Will Visit Wisconsin Tomorrow

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Earlier today, the Washington Post reported that former President Bill Clinton will visit Wisconsin on behalf of Democratic gubernatorial candidate Tom Barrett in the Wisconsin Gubernatorial Recall race.   Here’s a few words from Bill Clinton’s statement as quoted by the Post:

“Folks in Wisconsin have been on the front lines of fighting for working, middle-class families across America for more than 16 months,” the former president said in a statement. “I’m coming to Wisconsin to help Tom and the extraordinary grassroots volunteers on the ground.”

Now, why is this happening at this late date?  It’s because voter turnout must be high from Democrats and Independents if Wisconsin truly does wish to recall Governor Scott Walker (R).  The Republicans know it; the Democrats know it.  And what everyone knows, but very few polls have pointed out, is this: Independents, in general, do not like Scott Walker very much.  And what living Democratic President fired up Independents along with Ds?  You guessed it — Bill Clinton.

Note that Bill Clinton, in the past, was not in favor of recalls; he went to California to prevent the recall of then-Governor Gray Davis in 2003, as did several other prominent Ds with national standing (such as John Edwards, then a Presidential candidate).  So for him to come here on behalf of Barrett most likely means that Clinton believes the recall of Walker is the right thing to do (in addition to the realpolitik of it all, which is that Clinton, a former D Governor from Arkansas, certainly wants more D Governors).

This visit by the former President should help boost turnout, but more importantly, it will boost optimism that the recall of Walker can and will succeed because Clinton has an excellent record when it comes to helping embattled Ds.  As The Hill reports tonight:

Clinton’s entrance into the race could disrupt what had seemed like a likely victory for Walker, however. The former president has posted an impressive record in 2012 endorsements to date, helping Rep. Mark Critz (D-Pa.) and Pennsylvania attorney general candidate Kathleen Kane both win their Democratic primaries after trailing early on. Clinton also helped Maryland businessman John Delaney to a unlikely primary win in April.

So, will Clinton be able to help Barrett also?  My best guess is that yes, Clinton’s visit will make a positive difference on behalf of Barrett, Lieutenant Governor candidate Mahlon Mitchell, and the four D candidates for state Senator, including my own candidate in District 21, former Sen. John Lehman.

But with all the will in the world — and Clinton does have a tremendous will — this race still comes down to turnout, which is what I expect Clinton to say tomorrow during his visit as he’s no fool.  Clinton’s visit will be a boost to Barrett, Mitchell, Lehman and all of the other D candidates for state Senate, but Wisconsin’s voters must go out and vote.

As I’ve said before, my intentions are clear and have been so from the beginning.  Scott Walker deserves to be recalled.  So does his Lt. Governor, Rebecca Kleefisch.  So does my sitting state Senator, Van Wanggaard (R-Racine).  Which is why I will be voting to recall all of them on June 5, 2012 — and while I would do so without a visit from Clinton, it’s nice to know that Clinton hasn’t forgotten Wisconsin or how hard we’ve been fighting here for the past year and a half ever since Walker “dropped the bomb” and started his “divide and conquer” tactics.

2012 District 21 Recall Race Will Be Tight

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A few days ago (May 20, 2012, to be exact), Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel political columnist Craig Gilbert wrote an excellent blog about District 21 — my district, which currently encompasses the city and county of Racine — and about how divided Racine County has been over the past twenty-five to thirty years.  It’s called, “Recall politics is old hat in Racine, where no incumbent is safe.”

Here’s a few words from Gilbert about how unusual District 21 is, even when it comes to the nature of currently fractured Wisconsin politics:

If there’s a battleground within the battleground in Wisconsin’s recall wars, this is it – a political no man’s land where the two parties have spent a quarter-century trading control of the same tenuous turf.

This is the only state Senate district in America whose voters have forced two recall elections.

It’s a district unique in Wisconsin for its volatility and thirst for change. It has changed partisan hands five times in 22 years. It has re-elected its state senators only twice since 1990, and booted them four times, a tally that could rise to five on June 5.

And here’s a few words from former state Senator John Lehman (D-Racine), who’s running against current Senator Van Wanggaard (R-Racine) in the recall race, as quoted by Gilbert:

“It’s a wonderful thing for democracy. It’s very difficult for politicians. You get swept in and out, because it’s such a tight district,” says Democrat John Lehman, who got knocked off by Republican Van Wanggaard in 2010 and is trying to return the favor next month.

And as Gilbert points out in this article, this particular recall comes sixteen years (and one day) after George Petak (R-Racine) was removed via recall over his vote for the Milwaukee Brewers stadium after saying he’d vote “no.”  Voters didn’t like it that Petak went back on his word and recalled him; Petak was the first state Senator removed via recall.  (I wrote about the Petak-Plache recall here last August; Kim Plache, D-Racine, defeated Petak in the June 1996 recall election.)

See, in Racine, we don’t like it when politicians lie.  In fact, we get rather incensed over it.  And we will remove a legislator if we feel he hasn’t done what he said he’d do, which is why Wanggaard has legitimate reasons to worry about his own pending recall race.

Gilbert points out that in Racine, we haven’t been too kindly toward any incumbent of any party for the past twenty years or so.  This may be because incumbents, in general, become less responsive to voters over time, or it may be that Racine residents pay more attention to their state Senators than they do to their Assemblymen (and women) as none of the Racine contingent in the Assembly has ever been recalled.  Whatever the case, Racine voters have recalled a Republican Senator before, which is why this particular state Senate recall race is adjudged the “hottest” race by Gilbert and most political watchers statewide.  (The fact that the polls have been extremely close for months between Wanggaard and Lehman may also have something to do with it, though no current polls have been released in the past three weeks.)

Current Assemblyman Cory Mason (D-Racine) is quoted by Gilbert as saying this about recalls in the Racine area:

State Rep. Cory Mason, a Racine Democrat, says the current recall and the previous one share “a similar sort of visceral anger” among voters.

I definitely agree with Mason.

Gilbert pointed out a voter who really dislikes it that Wanggaard and Governor Scott Walker (R) are being recalled, and a voter who highly dislikes it that Walker and Wanggaard are in there, which shows the amount of division in this area.  (Read the blog to see these two viewpoints.)  Then he quoted this gentleman:

“Everybody is up in arms. Everybody is fighting against each other. Why? Because of one idiot?” said John Amaya. “It’s hot. It could get hotter on the 5th. It’s going to get real hot. I promise to God once (Walker) is out, I’ll go to church for the rest of my life.”  (Emphasis added by Barb Caffrey)

The reason I have reproduced (and emphasized) this particular quote is that I’ve heard variants of it for the past several months.  Many people — and I do mean many, of all political parties and persuasions — have said that if Walker is voted out, they will go to church on a regular basis.  I’ve never before seen this particular response, even though I have lived in other states and have gone through at least one other recall race (the recall of Gov. Gray Davis, D-California, in the early 2000s), but it’s an incredibly popular one these days in Southeastern Wisconsin.

One more important thought from Rep. Mason (as quoted by Gilbert):

Democratic Rep. Mason thinks the Petak race neutralizes the Republican argument that recalls should be reserved for official misconduct, not policy disputes.

“I don’t think that (notion) plays as well in this county. We have people around here who are familiar with and willing to invoke their right to recall if they feel misled,” he said.

Mason is exactly right.  I feel misled by the Republicans in general and Wanggaard in particular, which is why I signed the various recall petitions.   But signing the petitions is not enough; it’s now time to vote the incumbents (Walker, Lt. Gov. Rebecca Kleefisch, Wanggaard) back out.  This is why I’m looking forward to voting against Wanggaard, et. al., on June 5, 2012.

Written by Barb Caffrey

May 23, 2012 at 11:30 pm

Scott Walker and Rs outspend Barrett and Ds 2-to-1 in WI Recall

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Well, it’s official.  Wisconsin Republican Governor Scott Walker and various Republican Super-PACs have outspent Democratic challenger Tom Barrett and various Democratic organizations by a 2-to-1 margin according to WisPolitics.com over the past week (ending date May 16, 2012).  But considering WisPolitics.com is a pay site, and the article I am using to reference it is through the Huffington Post, I’d rather link to the latter.

The figures for the week of May 9 to May 16, 2012, officially, are these:

  1. Scott Walker and various Republican groups/SuperPACs — $216,980
  2. Tom Barrett and various Democratic groups/SuperPACs —   $87,980

As you can see, Walker and his allies are outspending Barrett, et. al., by over a 2-to-1 margin.  Which if you lived in Wisconsin, you’d know quite easily because for every ad either praising Tom Barrett or bashing Scott Walker, there’s at least six ads praising Scott Walker or (more commonly) bashing Tom Barrett.

While I haven’t seen any figures for the local state Senate race in District 21 between current Republican Senator Van Wanggaard of Racine versus former Senator John Lehman, also of Racine, the ad buys are strikingly similar.  For every six to ten pro-Wanggaard or anti-Lehman ads out there, there might be one pro-Lehman ad or one anti-Wanggaard ad (so far it’s been one or the other, not both, which shows a lack of balance with regards to ads).   The only difference between the ads thus far is that most of the anti-Lehman/pro-Wanggaard ads have aired on the radio, while the anti-Barrett/pro-Walker ads have aired on TV.

I hate negative advertising, and I hate even more that so many ads have flooded the airwaves.  Yet I condemn the Rs — all of them, including the misnamed “Wisconsin Club for Growth” (actually a Koch Brothers front group), Wisconsin Manufacturing and Commerce, Americans for Prosperity, etc. — for running ads that distort both Tom Barrett and John Lehman’s records.  These ads are terribly biased, and unless you’re aware of what these men actually did, you might think they’re the political equivalent of axe murderers.  (Which they aren’t.)

For example, one anti-Lehman ad talks about how Lehman voted for “the biggest expansion in healthcare, worse than Obamacare, in Wisconsin history.”  Do you know what the vote Lehman actually took was for?  It’s for Badgercare, a state-run health plan that helps give low-income people health insurance for low or no cost.  Badgercare actually saves the state money because it allows people to go in immediately when they get sick rather than going in only after things have drastically worsened to be admitted to the hospital via the emergency room.

So why is it that the Rs don’t just say Badgercare instead?  Because they know that the vast majority of state voters, including most Republicans, approve of Badgercare because they know it actually saves the state money in the long run.

The anti-Wanggaard and anti-Walker ads are much more factually-based.  They talk about what Wanggaard has actually done since he became a Senator — in other words, they talk about his checkable record, and don’t distort it out of recognition.  And they talk about what Walker has actually done with regards to education cuts and the results of said cuts — most of the ads have been about education — or about Walker’s large amount of out-of-state travel due to fundraising, which also are truthful, checkable facts.

So it’s clear that the Ds and their allies are for the most part taking the high road.  The Rs aren’t; instead, the Rs are taking the muddiest, dirtiest road they possibly can in order to confuse and befuddle as many voters as they possibly can.

Overall, if I were a voter who hadn’t paid any attention in the past year (not that Wisconsin has many of these), I’d be wary of the Republican ads due to how awful they are, while I’d be more kind to the Democratic ads because at least there, a voter can go online to check the veracity of the facts.  But as most voters have paid attention, I can only hope that they, too, realize the difference in the ads and don’t get fooled.  (Again.)

Written by Barb Caffrey

May 19, 2012 at 11:31 pm

Scott Walker Tape Surfaces: “Divide and Conquer” Strategy Clear from Day One

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Folks, it is official.  Scott Walker is a liar.

You see, when Walker was campaigning in 2010 for Governor of Wisconsin, he never told the public that he would eliminate collective bargaining for public employee unions.  Nor that he intended to use a “divide and conquer” strategy.  But due to a video that surfaced a day ago, that is indeed exactly what Walker intended all along.  In this recording, Walker used the words “divide and conquer” clearly to one of his biggest fund-raisers, Beloit (WI) billionaire Diane Hendricks; she, of course, approved of this. 

This recording was made in January of 2011, a few weeks before Walker “dropped the bomb” and announced that his “budget-repair” bill would have a provision in it to strip public employee union members of their collective bargaining rights.

And lest anyone complain that this somehow is a “gotcha” moment — well, Walker did this to himself, talking with a real, Republican backer.  Since he uttered those words, Ms. Hendricks has given over $500,000 to Walker’s campaign, so it’s obvious what Walker intended.

Please see this link from the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel for further details:

http://www.jsonline.com/news/statepolitics/barrett-walker-at-odds-over-divide-and-conquer-union-remark-oi5coda-151148935.html

While Walker now says he “doesn’t remember” what he said back in January of ’11, and now just wants to “move forward,” this is a typical politician “non-denial denial.”  None of us should believe it.

Democratic opponent Tom Barrett, the current Mayor of Milwaukee, astutely analyzes why Walker said such a thing.  In this quote from the above-cited Journal-Sentinel article:

Barrett said that he first heard about the video Thursday night while driving home from Wausau and was flabbergasted at his language.””If you want to know when Scott Walker is really telling the truth, it’s when he’s talking to billionaires and when he thinks he’s talking to billionaires,” Barrett said. “He says one thing to the public, but to people who give him $500,000 or to people he thinks are giving him $1 million to the Republican Governors Association, his message is completely different.”

All of this is important because Walker insists that he does not want to make Wisconsin a “right-to-work” state.  “Right-to-work” states make it harder for existing unions to operate, and almost impossible for new unions to arise, due to its onerous provisions against such practices.  Or as the recently surfaced video says (quoting from the above article):

In the conversation on the video, Hendricks was seen asking Walker about right-to-work legislation. “Any chance we’ll ever get to be a completely red state and work on these unions – ”

“Oh, yeah,” Walker broke in.

“- and become a right-to-work?” Hendricks continued. “What can we do to help you?”

“Well, we’re going to start in a couple weeks with our budget adjustment bill,” Walker said. “The first step is we’re going to deal with collective bargaining for all public employee unions, because you use divide and conquer. So for us, the base we get for that is the fact that we’ve got – budgetarily we can’t afford not to. If we have collective bargaining agreements in place, there’s no way not only the state but local governments can balance things out . . . That opens the door once we do that. That’s your bigger problem right there.”

So that just goes to show you, folks.  Walker’s intentions — that is, to break unionswere clear from the moment he took office.  Any denial to the contrary is just nonsense; worse than that, it shows Walker’s mendacity in full measure.

So don’t fall for the Walker “non-denial denials.”  Because they just don’t make sense.

Written by Barb Caffrey

May 11, 2012 at 7:28 pm

Wednesday Early AM Recall Musings

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Folks, I’m still working hard on an edit that’s nearly completed, so I don’t have a lot of time available to blog.  That said, I watched the election returns this evening and noted the following:

The total amount of votes in the Democratic primary recall race for Governor cast for the four real Democrats was 665,436; the total amount of votes cast for the one real Republican in the race, sitting Governor Scott Walker, was 626,538. 

One thing is clear; anyone who cast a vote tonight in the Democratic primary is likely to vote for anyone other than Scott Walker.  Tonight’s winner, current Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett, knows he has a good-sized coalition in place that’s ready and eager to vote against Walker on June 5, 2012.

Other than that, Mahlon Mitchell easily won his race in the Democratic primary recall race for Lieutenant Governor, so he will be taking on current Lt. Gov. Rebecca Kleefisch on June 5.  And former state Senator John Lehman, D-Racine, easily beat “fake Democrat” Tamra Varebrook, advancing to the June 5 election against current state Senator Van Wanggaard.  (All four Democratic challengers easily won their May 8, 2012, races for state Senate.)

These elections show that many people want to change course in Wisconsin.  We don’t like extremes here on either the D or R side; instead, we like moderates.  Yet we’ve seen little moderation from the current crop of R politicians that was voted in during the 2010 election season, which is why so many people went out and signed recall petitions.  (Simply put: they didn’t listen to us, so it’s time to boot them out and get someone in there who will.) 

No matter how the Rs try to spin it, remember this well: the way Scott Walker and his R cronies behaved in 2011 is why so many voters went out and voted in the various primaries.  And that bad behavior is what’s going to get at least a few of these Rs recalled on June 5.

Monday Odds and Ends

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Today’s post contains a number of quick updates.  (Ready, set . . . go!)

First, Milwaukee Brewers SS Alex Gonzalez, after being placed on the 15-day DL on May 6, 2012, found out that he tore his anterior cruciate ligament (ACL); Gonzalez will now be out for the entire year.  This might not seem so bad, except for the fact that Gonzalez is the third Brewers player to go down with a season-ending injury, joining first baseman Mat Gamel and pitcher Chris Narveson on the long-term disabled list.

Second, the Wisconsin recall primaries are tomorrow, May 8, 2012.  Please get out there and vote; remember that in the 21st district, the only real Democrat is former state Senator John Lehman.  In the gubernatorial primary, the four real Ds are Tom Barrett, Kathleen Falk, Doug LaFollette, and Kathleen Vinehout.

Third, I’m attempting to broaden my horizons regarding digital publications, as I’ve joined a workshop toward that end.  While I still hope to find a publisher (or at least an agent) this year, it’s important to learn everything I can about e-publishing in case I do decide to go that route.

That’s about it — now, I’d best get back to editing (as a non-fiction manuscript I’ve been working on with two writers is due to be turned in later this week).

Written by Barb Caffrey

May 7, 2012 at 7:42 pm

Scott Walker in Tight Race in WI Governor Recall

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Folks, today a new poll was released by the Marquette University Law School (yes, they do polling, too) that says that if the election were held today, Scott Walker would lose (by a point) to Democratic candidate Tom Barrett.  Walker would win according to this poll against Democratic candidate Kathleen Falk, 49% to 42%, and would beat Democratic candidates Douglas Lafollette (the current Secretary of State) and state Senator Kathleen Vinehout of Alma by a margin of 49% to 40%.

As for how all four Democratic candidates do against each other?  This poll says that Barrett leads with 43%, followed by Falk with 21%, Lafollette with 8% and Vinehout, the least-known candidate, with 6%.

Here’s a link to the article about the poll at the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel:

http://www.jsonline.com/news/statepolitics/walker-barrett-in-deadheat-in-recall-showdown-poll-says-8l58n4s-149857945.html

Now, here’s my take about this poll:  I distrust it.  Why?  Because the Marquette University Law School poll has a known bias that helps Republican candidates look better in polling than they actually tend to do.

For that matter, Falk, a former Dane County Executive, distrusts it also.  Here’s what she said in the Journal-Sentinel article sourced above:

. . . Falk questioned the poll’s findings when she talked to reporters during a campaign tour of Union Cab, a taxi cooperative in Madison.

“The establishment naysayers have predicted this whole year incorrectly,” she said. “They said this recall would never get off the ground.”

I’m with Falk on this one, because I don’t think this poll accurately reflects Wisconsin voters.  Falk is likely being undercounted, as the TV ads have tried to make her out to be a “Madison liberal” when she’s clearly a moderate in the Hillary Clinton mode, and assuredly Vinehout is, as she has a huge stronghold in Northern Wisconsin (the area she serves) that apparently hasn’t been polled whatsoever.  And if two of the four candidates being polled aren’t being adequately reflected, what does that say about the entirety of the poll?

As for the political TV ads we’ve seen thus far in Wisconsin, they’ve been heavily negative against Falk and Barrett.  This is mostly because Walker can spend all sorts of money (he’s raised $13 million thus far, with 2/3 of that money coming from out-of-state interests) and neither Falk nor Barrett can match it as the two, between them, have raised $1.75 million.  (Vinehout and Lafollete, who both are “alternative” candidates with strong grass-roots appeal, certainly can’t.)

But for that matter, I don’t understand the barrage of political advertising thus far.  As it stands, this is an election that’s likely not going to be decided by big-money interests.  Everyone in Wisconsin knows what Walker did, and has firm opinions on it, which is why there are very few “undecideds” in the sense of knowing whether or not they approve of Walker.

Where the indecision comes in — and where the big-money ads may come into play — is this: does Scott Walker deserve to be booted out of office after less than two years in the Governor’s chair?  Some of those who don’t like Walker may be indecisive about getting rid of him, precisely because this is a historic move that’s never before happened anywhere in the United States, much less Wisconsin.

My guess is that the 900,ooo-plus that went out to sign petitions recalling Walker have the most to say in Walker’s recall election, to wit: if they go out and vote, en masse, to get rid of Walker, he will be out on his ear.  Which is why now, we’re starting to see news reports on Milwaukee-area TV stations of a more reflective Walker.  On these TV “spots” (mostly on news reports), Walker insists that even if he is recalled, he’s done everything right.  This belief that Walker somehow is right and everyone else is plain, flat wrong is why Walker should be recalled. 

Wisconsin voters must get rid of Scott Walker, no matter who the Democratic candidate is.  Because if we don’t, we will have no opportunity whatsoever to have a responsible Governor who actually listens to Wisconsinites, as Walker himself has already shown us that he’s not listening to anyone and isn’t about to start doing so, either.

So on May 8, 2012, go out and vote for the candidate of your choice in the Democratic primary.   Then, regardless of who wins (it’s likely to be either Falk or Barrett, which I would’ve believed no matter what the Marquette University Law School poll said), go out on June 5, 2012 and support that person.  Because if we do not get Walker out, things will only get worse — not better.  Guaranteed.

Written by Barb Caffrey

May 2, 2012 at 10:55 pm

WI Recalls and Redistricting, 2012 Edition

with 3 comments

Tonight, Wisconsin Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen (R) has appealed the largely-favorable ruling the three-judge federal panel gave regarding the 2012 redistricting process to the United States Supreme Court (otherwise known as SCOTUS).  Van Hollen did this despite saying last month that the federal judges had “vindicated” the 2010 maps, which were drawn by the WI GOP in a highly partisan and divisive process.

But tonight, Van Hollen is singing a different tune.  His pro-appeal reasoning, as given by tonight’s Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel article, is this:

“While some view the adverse portion of the district court decision as being inconsequential, I disagree,” Van Hollen said in a statement. “Any time a federal court rejects a state redistricting statute, and decides to redraw or adjust a legislative district, it is a serious matter and appropriate for appellate review.”

Um, excuse me?

Don’t you realize that by appealing this order, this allows the whole ruling to be appealed?  Meaning the Democrats could, theoretically, still prevail?

Well, even if Van Hollen doesn’t get it, the Democrats in Wisconsin sure do.  Doug Poland, an attorney for the Democrats who filed suit, said last month that if the state was silly enough to appeal the ruling, he would do whatever he could to get the entire ruling overturned in order to obtain a better outcome.  (He said it in a much gentler fashion, and he didn’t say the appeal by Van Hollen was “silly.”  I did, and am, because it is.)

Mind you, Assembly Minority Leader Peter Barca (D-Kenosha) understands that this is a frivolous waste of time; he says in tonight’s Journal-Sentinel article (the first one referenced above) that:

“Does their appetite for wasting taxpayer money on protecting their own political interests ever end?” Assembly Minority Leader Peter Barca (D-Kenosha) said in a statement. “It must be the first time in history anyone has appealed their ‘vindication’ to the Supreme Court.”

Then, the Journal-Sentinel pointed out how much this redistricting court case has already cost the state of Wisconsin:

Republican lawmakers have committed $400,000 in taxpayer money to Michael Best & Friedrich and the Troupis Law Office for their work on redistricting. Separately, Gov. Scott Walker hired Reinhart Boerner Van Deuren to assist the Department of Justice with the litigation. That firm’s contract with the state caps its fees at $925,000; as of February, it had billed the state $288,000.

In addition, the plaintiffs are seeking about $690,000 in attorneys’ fees and costs from the state because they prevailed on their argument on Assembly Districts 8 and 9. The panel has not yet said whether it would award those fees.

So, did you get all that?  The WI GOP won, but they’re not happy; they want it all, or they’ll take their ball and go home.  (Me, I just wish they’d leave the ball and stay home.)  That’s why they’re appealing this ruling, which largely went their way, to SCOTUS.

My take?  I find this shameful, as it’s a shocking waste of money (in a state soon-to-be-former Governor Scott Walker says is “broke”).  I also echo the often-made comments of political commentator John Nichols, when he’s said on MSNBC’s “The Ed Show” (and elsewhere) that the WI GOP are comprised of “very bad winners.”  (My best paraphrase, that.)  And I firmly agree with Rep. Barca; what on earth is wrong with these people?  They win and still don’t like it?

Otherwise, there’s a hint of good news amidst a lot of bad regarding the four state Senate recalls.  Here’s the link to that Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel article, written by long-time political analyst Craig Gilbert:

http://www.jsonline.com/blogs/news/147967755.html

Gilbert states that only former Senator John Lehman (D-Racine) is within striking distance of his opponent, current Senator Van Wanggaard (R-Racine).  (Lehman appears to be within the margin of error, as the recent poll Gilbert used said that Wanggaard leads, 48-46.)  The other three Senate districts, including the district vacated by Pam Galloway, have Republicans leading the Democratic challengers by wide margins.  (See this link to the Daily Kos article that references this data for further information.)

Due to former Senator Galloway’s abrupt resignation (possibly to get a stronger candidate in there as she would’ve lost her recall race), the WI Senate is currently divided equally, 16-16.  That means if Lehman can beat Wanggaard, the Ds will control the state Senate, 17-16; further elections in 2012 should help the Dems cement their lead.

And as I’ve said here before, we have recalled a Republican before in district 21, so it’s certainly not uncharted territory for us to recall another one.