by Benjamin J. Kirby
(I couldn't help it. Everyone's talking about zombies, so I figured, why not.)
Someone asked me today why I hadn't written about the Wisconsin recall election and their awful governor, a crook named Scott Walker. Voting takes place today, and it's going to be close. My prediction is that Walker edges out a narrow victory, and the Republican Party squawks about it for forever and a day, mostly for the reasons already shared by Michael D. Shear at the New York Times, with emphasis on his second point:
2. RECALLS FEEL WRONG For many voters, the idea of making a switch midstream just feels wrong. That’s how they do things in Europe’s parliamentary systems, where elections seem to pop up at the drop of a hat. To some, it just doesn’t seem American.
I know I'm supposed to toe the hard line: but he's busting up unions! It's un-democratic! It's un-American!
Yes, and those things are true. But I guess the reason I haven't really covered it goes to Mr. Shear's third point -- that is that it is largely a local issue (yes, with national overtones for sure) -- and also that I feel the Wisconsin recall is a piece of a larger pie.
Here's former Labor Secretary Robert Reich on his Facebook page the other day:
Am I the only one who fears we're in the midst of a slow-moving, quiet coup d'etat that began with the Supreme Court's decision in "Citizen's United" in early 2010 (itself influenced by Scalia's and Thomas's ties with the regressive right), and is now being played out with billions of dollars of campaign contributions from the Koch brothers and a handful of other billionaires, from Wall Street, and from major corporations hiding behind political fronts like the Chamber of Commerce and Karl Rove's "crossroads" groups? I hope with all my heart I'm wrong.
He says "coup d'etat," I say zombie apocalypse.
You know, I just finished the must-read Jeffrey Toobin piece on Chief Justice John Roberts and how the Supreme Court came to rule on Citizens United, and quite frankly, it is difficult to come away from that and disagree with Secretary Reich. (If the final sentence of the Toobin piece doesn't give you chills, check your pulse -- or your appetite for brains: "The Roberts Court, it appears, will guarantee moneyed interests the freedom to raise and spend any amount, from any source, at any time, in order to win elections.")
You can hardly kick over a political stone without finding something vile underneath -- and yes, it is almost always Republican. Look at the hospital grifter Governor Rick Scott voter purge, as Lee Fang at the Republic Report already has:
The plan for the purge, according to a story from the Associated Press, was initiated last year by then-Secretary of State Kurt Browning after a meeting with the governor. Browning said he was motivated by a “Spidey sense tingling” to undergo a massive project to develop the list now being used to send letters to registered Florida voters informing them that they have been flagged as non-citizens. Although both Gov. Scott and Browning have downplayed accusations that the purge is political, a donation from a secret money group may fuel growing suspicions that the effort is partisan.
His friggin' Spidey sense was tingling?
Sorry, that's not an answer. You don't jeopardize the Constitutional rights of citizens in the name of a comic book super-power.
You do whatever it takes, including making robocalls to voters telling them they don't need to vote in the Wisconsin recall election, to take us right back to the undermining of Democracy in the Badger State.
And hell, if you're still frustrated after all of that, you can suggest hurling acid at women Senators in the opposing political party to make your point.
Yeah, Democrats have their problems -- and our most unseemly blemishes -- as well. And yes, the media does a fantastic job of making crap up which matters not one bit ("Celebrity support for Obama!").
What's happening in Wisconsin under Walker has been bad news -- bad news for teachers, bad news for unions, bad news for Americans -- for a long time, now. I don't know how much will change tonight.
Maybe it's not the zombie apocalypse, but what's happening in the Republican Party is much, much worse. And I don't know if it will ever change.