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A Break For Wisconsin Democrats In Recall Fight

At first glance, this will seem deep in the weeds, but this just in from the Milwaukee Journal Sentinal constitutes a real break for Wisconsin Dems in their quest to take back the state senate in the recall wars:

State elections officials Monday took a Republican Assembly lawmaker off the ballot in a recall election against a Democratic senator.

The state Government Accountability Board voted unanimously to leave Rep. John Nygren (R-Marinette) off the ballot in the July 19 recall election for Sen. Dave Hansen (D-Green Bay) in the 30th Senate District. The board found that Nygren fell just short of collecting the 400 valid nominating signatures needed to qualify for the ballot, finding he collected only 398 valid signatures.

The accountability board had initially found that Nygren had submitted 424 qualifying signatures from voters. But after a number of signatures were challenged by Democrats, the accountability board found that 26 of those were invalid.

In a nutshell, what happened here is that one of the Dem state senators that Dems and labor thought was genuinely vulnerable to a recall challenge — Dave Hansen — will now no longer face his toughest challenger. Once it has been established through signature gathering that a recall election will be held against a sitting official, a potential challenger only requires 400 signatures to get on the ballot in the recall elections. Hansen’s leading challenger, John Nygren, fell short and was disqualified.

Hansen is now all but certain to face a challenge from a far weaker candidate — David VanderLeest. According to Journal Sentinel columnist David Bice, this latest challenger has a court record that includes disorderly conduct.

Kelly Steele, a spokesman for the labor-backed We Are Wisconsin, was thrilled about the new development, claiming that VanderLeest’s “rap sheet reads like a directory of the Wisconsin state criminal code.”

Here’s why this is important. In order to take back the state senate, Dems need to net three recall wins. Six Republicans face recall battles; while only three Dems do. But now one of the three Dems may be far safer than previously thought, which means Dems may have an easier time netting three wins — and that Wisconsin GOPers may have a tougher time hanging onto the state senate.


By: Greg Sargent, The Washington Post Plum Line, June 27, 2011

June 27, 2011 Posted by | Conservatives, Democracy, Elections, GOP, Gov Scott Walker, Governors, Ideology, Politics, Republicans, Right Wing, State Legislatures, States, Union Busting, Unions, Wisconsin, Wisconsin Republicans | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Tea-pocrisy Is Not Particularly Complicated

Michele Bachmann, at her announcement speech today, offering an extended paean to the Tea Party:

I am here in Waterloo, Iowa to announce today: We can win in 2012, and we will. Our voice has been growing louder and stronger. And it is made up of Americans from all walks of life like a three-legged stool. It’s the peace through strength Republicans, and I’m one of them. It’s fiscal conservatives, and I’m one of them, and it’s social conservatives, and I’m one of them. It’s the Tea Party movement, and I’m one of them.

The liberals, and to be clear I’m NOT one of them, want you to think the Tea Party is the Right Wing of the Republican Party. But it’s not. It’s made up of disaffected Democrats, independents, people who’ve never been political a day in their life, libertarians, Republicans. We’re people who simply want America back on the right track again.

The Los Angeles Times yesterday, revealing some very un-Tea-Party-like behavior from the Bachmann family:

Rep. Michele Bachmann has been propelled into the 2012 presidential contest in part by her insistent calls to reduce federal spending, a pitch in tune with the big-government antipathy gripping many conservatives.

But the Minnesota Republican and her family have benefited personally from government aid, an examination of her record and finances shows. A counseling clinic run by her husband has received nearly $30,000 from the state of Minnesota in the last five years, money that in part came from the federal government. A family farm in Wisconsin, in which the congresswoman is a partner, received nearly $260,000 in federal farm subsidies.

And she has sought to keep federal money flowing to her constituents. After publicly criticizing the Obama administration’s stimulus program, Bachmann requested stimulus funds to support projects in her district.

Bachmann yesterday defended herself by describing the clinic funding and “one time training money” for employees that didn’t financially benefit Bachmann’s husband. But presumably the clinic itself benefitted from having government money train its workers. Otherwise it’s hard to see why Bachmann’s husband’s clinic wanted the funding. And of course, there’s all that stimulus money Bachmann wants for her district.

I don’t really know if these revelations will damage Bachmann’s status as the Tea Party’s leading warrior queen (yes, you have been dethroned, Sarah Palin). That’s because this sort of hypocrisy is widespread among Tea Partyers themselves — let’s call it “Tea-pocrisy.”

As Steve Benen has been documenting — see here and here — there’s no shortage of officials and political activists who embrace the Tea Party even as they benefit directly or indirectly from government generosity themselves. Some House GOP freshmen have even been the direct recipient of farm subsidies.  And now the relevations about Tea Party chieftain Bachmann herself.

The point, as always, is that Tea Partyers are frequently for government spending as long as it’s benefitting the right people. Tea-pocrisy is not particularly complicated.


By: Greg Sargent, The Washington Post Plum Line, June 27, 2011




June 27, 2011 Posted by | Conservatives, Elections, GOP, Government, Ideologues, Ideology, Iowa Caucuses, Politics, Republicans, Right Wing, Taxes, Teaparty | , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Democrats Must Be Adults As GOP Redefines ‘Tax Increase’

OK, this isn’t exactly asking what the meaning of “is,”  “is,” but it is close.

What is a tax increase? Is it letting a previous,  temporary tax cut expire and go back to the earlier tax? Is it the “closing of a loophole” to remove a  favorable tax break put in place for a specific industry? Is it the imposition  of a fee or the increase in a fee? Is it really anything that results in an increase in revenue?

We can go on and on here, but what we are really talking  about is not an esoteric debate. If you  listen to Republicans right now, particularly Rep. Eric Cantor, who picked up his  marbles and went home from White House negotiations, you would think that  everything is a “tax increase.”

The sad aspect of the current debate is that what many  Republicans are espousing is that added revenue should be “off the table.” This is clearly a nonstarter for truly  solving our problems.

It also is inflexible and holds to the absurd notion that  taxes can never go up; they can only go down. That sort of reminds me of: Housing prices can only go up; they don’t go  down! Hmmm…

Democrats, to be honest, have to be the responsible party  when it comes to providing balance to the cuts/revenue equation. They need not fear the boogeyman crying “tax  raiser!”

Americans, by large majorities, understand that the richest  2 percent of their fellow citizens have seen rapid and large increases in  their wealth of late, and asking them to pay their fair share is a no brainer. Americans understand that providing huge tax  breaks to oil companies already making huge profits makes no sense. Americans understand that rewarding companies  for parking their profits overseas or exporting jobs is untenable, and such  behavior should not entitle them to special tax “incentives.”

In short, most Americans know that adequate revenue is part  of the critical balance that will create and keep jobs as well as attack our debt problem. It is not about  eviscerating government and tearing apart our social fabric. Republicans as conservative as Ronald Reagan  have known the meaning of a tax increase and have not hesitated to use it.


By: Peter Fenn, U. S. News and World Report, June 27, 2011

June 27, 2011 Posted by | Budget, Class Warfare, Congress, Conservatives, Corporations, Debt Ceiling, Deficits, Democracy, Economic Recovery, Economy, GOP, Government, Government Shut Down, Ideologues, Jobs, Lawmakers, Middle Class, Politics, Republicans, Right Wing, Tax Evasion, Tax Increases, Tax Loopholes, Taxes, Wealthy | , , , , , | Leave a comment


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