mykeystrokes.com

"Do or Do not. There is no try."

“An Expensive And Unnecessary Political Gambit”: Scott Walker’s Recall Hypocrisy

Last Friday night’s Wisconsin recall election debatebegan a series of bizarre exchanges between Republican Governor Scott Walker and his Democratic challenger, Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett, over Walker’s attitudes regarding direct democracy.

During this campaign, Walker and his supporters have been harshly critical of those who have sought to recall and remove the governor and his political allies. Though the Wisconsin Constitution is absolutely clear that the reasons for recall elections are to be defined by those who seek them—as opposed to the politicians who would like to restrict the scheduling of accountability votes—the Walker camp has claimed that the recall is an expensive and unnecessary political gambit.

Barrett challenged this spin with a suggestion that Walker is a recall hypocrite.

Referring to Walker during the debate, Barrett said: “He has signed recall petitions, it’s my understanding, against Senator Feingold, against Senator Kohl, not for criminal misbehavior, but because he disagreed with political decisions that were made.”

Walker did not respond immediately. But the next day the governor said, “I have no memory” of signing on for the recall of the Democratic senators when they were targeted in 1997 by anti-abortion groups.

Since organizers of the Feingold-Kohl recall effort say they’re unaware of whether Walker signed, and since the old petitions have been destroyed, this particular debate may remain unresolved.

But there is no question that Scott Walker has spoken enthusiastically about the use of the recall power. Indeed, he attained his previous position as Milwaukee County executive in large part because of a recall initiative. And that initiative clearly delighted him.

Back when he was a state legislator, Walker was an enthusiastic proponent of recall elections—especially in Milwaukee County.

Walker got even more enthusiastic about recalls in 2002, when he became the favored candidate of the group seeking to remove Milwaukee County Executive Tom Ament. After Ament resigned, Walker was elected to replace him.

When he ran for governor in 2010, Walker talked up the 2002 recall drive as an exercise in democracy.

Speaking of the Milwaukee County fight, Walker said: “You know the folks that were angry about this started a recall and they were told they needed to collect 73,000 signatures in sixty days. Well, not hundreds, not thousands, but tens of thousands of ordinary people did an extraordinary thing. They stood up and took their government back. In less than thirty days they collected more than 150,000 signatures. It was at that moment I realized the real emotion on display in my county wasn’t just about anger. You see, if it had been about anger, it would have been about people checking out and moving out or giving up. But instead what happened was really amazing. You saw people standing up shoulder to shoulder, neighbor to neighbor and saying ‘we want our government back’ And in doing so the real emotion on display was about hope.”

Well, not hundreds, not thousands, but tens of thousands of ordinary people did an extraordinary thing last winter. They have gathered more than 900,000 signatures seeking the recall of Scott Walker, more than 800,000 seeking the recall of Lieutenant Governor Rebecca Kleefisch and close to 100,000 more to recall four Republican state senators. Wisconsinites are again standing up, shoulder to shoulder, neighbor to neighbor, and they are saying “we want our government back.”

And, as the United Wisconsin activists who organized and advanced the recall drive will tell you, the real emotion on display across Wisconsin as the recall petitions were gathered last year, and as the recall fight has played out this year, has been about hope for Wisconsin’s future.

 

By: John Nichols, The Nation, May 29, 2012

May 30, 2012 Posted by | Wisconsin Recall | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Wisconsin Recall More Popular Than Republican Primaries

America is almost four weeks into the voting stage of the Republican presidential race. The candidates are debating. The media is covering the competition 24/7, and in such minute detail that Rick Perry’s quitting of the contest was treated as news. And Republicans in three states have caucused and voted in numbers that party leaders, pundits and the talk-radio amen corner tell us are significant.

Yet at the same time, those same party leaders, pundits and radio talkers continue to dismiss the movement to recall Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker as a false construct with little real hope of prevailing.

Fair enough, let’s compare.

Since January 3, Republican caucuses have been held in Iowa (with an electorate of 2,231,589), and Republican primaries have been held in New Hampshire (electorate of 998,799) and South Carolina (electorate of 3,385,224).

That adds up to a total electorate of 6,615,612 in the trio of first- (and second- and third-) in-the-nation states.

Turnout for the Iowa caucuses is now pegged at 121,479. Turnout in the New Hampshire primary was 248,448. Turnout in the South Carolina primary was 601,166.

That adds up to a total turnout of 971,093, or about 14.5 percent of the possible voters in the three states.

And what of Wisconsin?

The state has an electorate of 4,170,501.

The United Wisconsin petition drive to recall anti-labor Governor Scott Walker collected significantly more than 1 million signatures.

Rounding to a million, that’s about 23.9 percent of the possible voters in the state.

So here’s what we know:

1. If you add up all the caucus and primary votes that have been cast so far for Mitt Romney, Newt Gingrich, Ron Paul, Rick Santorum, the former Rick Perry, the former Jon Huntsman, the former Michele Bachmann and the eternal Buddy Roemer, they still have not attracted as much support as has the drive to recall Scott Walker.

2. If you compare the percentage of the electorate in the three caucus and primary states that has expressed support for all the Republicans who would be president, it is dramatically lower than the percentage of the Wisconsin electorate that wants to recall Scott Walker.

3. If you add the total number of names on petitions filed January 17 to recall other Republicans in Wisconsin—Lt. Gov. Rebecca Kleefisch, state Senate majority leader Scott Fitzgerald and three of Fitzgerald’s colleagues—the total number of signatures filed in support of the recall of Walker and his cronies is close to 1,940,000. That figure is just about double the number of votes cast in all the Republican presidential contests for all the Republican presidential candidates so far this year.

Conclusion: if the Republican presidential race is a serious endeavor, the Wisconsin drive to recall Scott Walker, Rebecca Kleefisch, Scott Fitzgerald and their compatriots is doubly serious. And far, far more popular with the available electorate.

 

By: John Nichols, The Nation, January 28, 2012

January 30, 2012 Posted by | GOP Presidential Candidates, Wisconsin Recall | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

   

%d bloggers like this: