Sunday, June 3, 2012

A Few Thoughts on the Upcoming Recall Election

And here it is, two days before the polls close in the recall elections here in Wisconsin.  It’s going to be an interesting couple of days, in the liberal arts sense of that phrase, the way three-headed frogs are, you know, interesting

Governor Teabagger (a wholly-owned subsidiary of Koch Industries) and his minions – he’s apparently called in the shock troops from ALEC now, since he’s spent almost $30 million without any obvious effect – are blanketing the state with ads that range from ludicrous to libelous and have resorted to paying people to put up “We Stand With Walker” signs in their lawns.  Why bother trying to develop real supporters when you can buy fake ones that look just as nice?

They can stand with Walker if they want.  I’ll stand with the people of Wisconsin.  You choose where you stand in this world and you are judged accordingly.

As we approach the home stretch of this long, ugly and bitterly divisive process, a few things seem fairly clear to me.

First, that it will take a generation or more to undo the damage Governor Teabagger (a wholly-owned subsidiary of Koch Industries) and his minions have done to this state. 

Wisconsin was known as a state with decent politics, sound fiscal policies and one of the best public educational systems in the nation  – all of which have been gutted in the last eighteen months.  It was known as a state where things got done – but we now live in a state so polarized that you probably couldn’t even get a weather report without an argument. 

This wasn’t true before Governor Teabagger (a wholly-owned subsidiary of Koch Industries) came to power.  None of that was.

Of course the Teabaggers insist that all of this polarization is the fault of the protesters – the ones who called Governor Teabagger (a wholly-owned subsidiary of Koch Industries) on his war of aggression against the rule of law – and this is just one way you know how truly deluded and desperate they are.  None of that happened until it was provoked.  I’ve never understood why it’s only a problem when people fight back.

Second, that the results of the recall election will not settle anything.  They just won’t.

If Governor Teabagger (a wholly-owned subsidiary of Koch Industries) loses, his minions will go on a rampage that I fully expect will be violent in more than just the rhetorical sense – these are the same simians who brought us the whole “Second Amendment Solutions” argument a few years ago, and there is nothing quite like a well-armed sense of entitlement to cause unnecessary suffering.  Given that the Teabaggers likely will retain control over the other branches of Wisconsin’s government, I doubt sincerely whether any of it will be prosecuted.  Until all traces of this rogue regime have been eradicated from the halls of power I will not trust the state to do what is right, legal or necessary.

File that under “polarization” too, if you wish.

Even if this violence remains limited or in the happy circumstance that I am wrong and no actual violence occurs, you will still see an all-out legal, political and media assault on the government and citizenry of Wisconsin the likes of which have not been perpetrated under American rule in all its history.  If you think these people will take defeat gracefully, you haven’t been living among them.

They’ve already threatened to recall the challenger for the governor’s seat if he wins.  The fact that this is unconstitutional in Wisconsin – only one recall per term – will not deter them, since these clowns have shown no particular understanding that such things as constitutional limits apply to them.

Furthermore, if Governor Teabagger (a wholly-owned subsidiary of Koch Industries) actually does manage to win, batten down the hatches because all hell will break loose.

He will interpret this as a mandate to gut every institution and legal precedent in the state until we are little better than Somalia with snow.  The voting rolls will be narrowed until only rich elderly white men are permitted any say in government (something that several national-level Teabaggers have publically called for recently).  Laws mandating government openness will be repealed instead of just ignored as currently done.  Public education will be abolished instead of merely starved to death.  And that will be only the beginning.

I’d really like to think that this is just me being paranoid, but as the immortal Doctor Johnny Fever once said, “Just because you’re paranoid doesn’t mean that they’re not really out to get you.”

Third, this race is far closer than it has any right to be.

Never mind who his challenger is – this isn’t about the challenger.  The challenger might as well be a two-pound bag of carrots for all the relevance his specifics have.  This election is about Governor Teabagger (a wholly-owned subsidiary of Koch Industries) and his unfitness for office.

This is a governor who has:

  • openly called for violence against his opponents.
  • openly circumvented both the state constitution and the state and federal court system in order to push his agenda through.
  • lied to Congress.
  • maintained a criminal defense fund, which under Wisconsin law he can only do if he is considered a legitimate suspect in an ongoing criminal investigation
  • bluntly declared to a wealthy supporter – on tape – that his goal is to “divide and conquer” the state.
  • and on and on; frankly it gets tiring remembering all of the things this guy has done that in a civilized society would have him tarred and feathered rather than accepting out of state money by the bucketful

The fact that there are people in this state who find this acceptable behavior is absolutely sickening, and a sure sign that the republic envisioned by the Founding Fathers is exactly as fragile as they always said it was.

People ask me if I want him recalled.  No, not really.  I want him on trial for subversion.  I’ll settle for recalled.

Let me tell you how this will go.

The election will be very close.  The total number of votes separating winner from loser will be just over 0.5% of the vote.  That is the difference beyond which a recount is no longer automatic but must be paid for by the losing candidate.

The election will come down to the counties of suburban Milwaukee, which will report their vote totals late.  Their totals will come to exactly enough to meet that 0.5% difference, and they will not be verifiable.

Governor Teabagger (a wholly-owned subsidiary of Koch Industries) will be crowned the winner based on this.

He will immediately begin attacking anyone who dares to question his victory as unpatriotic, wasteful, and probably a Socialist.  In any speech he or his supporters give in the first four weeks after this election, the words “healing,” “compromise,” and “working for all of the people of Wisconsin” will not be used.

And the state will continue on its current trajectory of becoming a black eye on the face of the American republic for the foreseeable future.

I will be immensely pleased to be wrong about this – about any of this – but I’m not holding my breath.


Jeri 2.0 said...

"Third, this race is far closer than it has any right to be."

It boggles the mind. And here across the pond we couldn't even get a recall for Snyder off the ground. Apathy is going to be the death of the Democratic party and everything decent in this country. It just about kills me to even type that, but I'm really starting to fear that it's true and is a bad harbinger of things to come this November.

beatrice in Paris said...

I'm crossing my fingers for tomorrow, um, Tuesday.

vince said...

Plus, with any luck he'll be under incitement soon.

It's a sad fact that in the 2008 Presidential election, about 40% of eligible voters did not vote.

David said...

Jeri, it does indeed boggle the mind. I have to say I'm even more boggled by the failure to recall Snyder, whose assault on American democracy was, if anything, more direct and radical than Walker's. Walker hasn't unilaterally abrogated any elected city governments yet.

I think the Founders were right when they said that a republic requires more virtue (a technical term meaning the willingness to place the public good over one's private interests) than was sustainable over the long run. I guess we've run out now.

Bea, I'm doing more than crossing my fingers. I'll be at the polls bright and early.

Vince, the John Doe case is circling ever closer to Walker, and there is a federal investigation that is quietly doing likewise. I'd hoped to have him removed before the recall election, but so it goes. And if 60% of eligible voters went to the polls in 2008, that means participation was at a 50-year high.

I think you're going to see extremely high participation in the recall. If there are a dozen undecided voters in this state I will be shocked. It's all going to come down to turnout, and both sides know it.