May 23, 2011
A problem and an opportunity
By Bill Kraus
Every indication is that the flurry of recall elections coming this summer will be referendums on Governor Walker.
They will not necessarily be about what he has done or proposes to do but on him....personally.
The bumper strips “Recall Walker” say it all.
The pro- and anti- interests that have dogs in this fight will weigh in with their money and their ads which will oversimplify, stretch, and/or distort the truths about the things they like or dislike.
Disagreement will be displaced by demonization. Adversaries will become enemies. Irrespective of the winners of these elections the effect will be to deepen the partisan divide.
The losers will be compromise, civility and mutual respect for the trade and the people who ply it.
The biggest losers will be the ideas that don’t make the legislative leaders’ short lists and that get trampled as the elephantine ideologues fight it out on their issues.
Could there be a saving grace?
Is it too late to suggest that the contestants in these elections might share some goals about the way the place works or more specifically how it could be made to work better? Could a kind of peace be declared in those areas where the survivors of these recalls and the yet to be recalled could do the citizens’ work for the benefit of the citizens instead of themselves?
What if all of the candidates in the recall elections agreed to bring ideas to the voters that go beyond a beauty contest on the embattled governor?
How about asking the voters if they would like:
1. A redistricting procedure that would put a stop to gerrymandering?
2. Open government rules that require legislators to do the peoples’ business in public so the people can watch their business being done?
3. A disclosure requirement that would ask those well endowed outsiders who are putting up the money to buy all those ads telling us what they want and who they favor in these elections to tell us who they are?
Bipartisan proposals to do all three of these things are on the shelf. That’s where they will stay until and unless the voters make it clear that these changes are important enough to them to be election deciders.
Despite all of the rancor and screaming and name calling that is going to be a part of the next two months the byproduct of this questionable recall exercise can be more votes that count, fewer secrets and secret sessions, and a scorecard that shows the names of all the players in this most important of all games.
If it is, the real winners might be the people after all.
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Until money is totally removed from the formula, nothing will change. Elected office is all about power and money. It rarely has anything to do with the public's needs or welfare.
-Maria Caliente | Middleton | May 23, 2011
I watch what goes on in the capitol and wonder at the wasted time energy and resources that go to waste as time goes on. I'd support a unicameral system here for state government, non partisan in nature, much like county boards run here. The lawmakers could get everything done, and still be citizen legislators working part time.
I'd be a candidate on that issue alone if I could get the support. But anyone running on that basis would be a lone ranger. No establishment political group would support this change as they have too much at stake in the status quo. Maybe we can recruit Bob candidates around the state to support the idea.
-Jim Joiner | janesville, wi | May 23, 2011
Okay wow. I read somewhere you are a friend of Ed's and I know you want to keep the issue you work on in the forefront and relate it in various ways to a wide variety of situations because you feel it is key.
BUT OH MY GOD
Sir, you could not be MORE wrong.
And frankly I'm a bit shocked that anyone (except a Fitzgerald boy or that type who um, well... talk about having a dog in the hunt)
That these recalls, or the public outrage is over SCOTT'S PERSONALITY and not what he has done- I just am flabbergasted.
That is actually some of the most extreme pro-Walker spin I have read. And here on GarveyBlog?
Didn't see THAT coming.
Okay, people are not annoyed at his haircut, they haven't gotten up off their couches because Walker "lacks charm" or a proper bedside manner.(and as an "active person" you yourself know it takes a 9-11 or a years supply of Free Beer to get people up and out)
"The bumper strips "Recall Walker" say it all" I'm not sure that even rates as an observation with any kind of meaning or depth. Yes, they say that many people want to recall The Governor. It's a pretty simple message, there is no big conspiracy theory behind it, no "dog-whistle" meaning like the words "birth certificate" have. (I am not an Obama fan, just sayin')
"Recall Walker" means - Recall Walker
and the reason for that is because people feel upset at what he is doing, feel he is dismantling or destroying institutions and long-held traditions in ways he NEVER campaigned on, or even hinted at and doing this at a record pace and in an abusive manner that also tramples on individuals and the fundamentals of statesmanship.
IF it had been just "Scott is not a guy you'd have a beer with" then that would have been more of a tone in the campaign. It was not.
Outrage and shock flared AFTER he won, and when he started DOING THINGS.
I actually am an "independent" type on many issues. I do not react as a lock-step liberal in politics or in my personal life. And (even though I act ridiculous on blogs) I do feel and live that one HAS to take responsibility for what they DO. Own Your Own B.S.
I would call that a "conservative value", to not say my "environment was at fault", to draw a strong line between "compassion" and excuse-making, and buck-passing, and just plain shirking of responsibility for the choices you have made, and how you have chosen to act.
I am where I am in my life due to decisions I made AFTER my formative years and "environment" was over with. In my life I have to own my behavior.
It's time Scott Walker owns HIS own behavior.
NOT a victim.
-Annie K. | Eau Claire, WI | May 23, 2011
I agree with Annie K - - - I'm not sure what Mr Kraus' columns are doing here... they seem more appropriate for the 'centrist' forums like the MJS or the Jon Stewart show. You know, where there's first a false equivalency postulated (ie; the US left is just as bad and powerful as the US right) and then the writer either stakes out a place in between the two so as not to offend either one too awfully much (and they're seldom too worried about offending the mythical left wingers they've created), OR goes off into a fantasy/wish-it-were-true world, a 'why-can't-we-all-get-along' mantra, in both cases ignoring the fact that one party is --- by any modern historical standards --- corrupt, megalomaniacal and is strictly interested in venial political power, NOT trying to really solve any of the pressing problems the world (local -> international) has, but just manipulating them for electoral gain. That party will NOT change their modus operandi simply because Mr Kraus or others come up with some good, plausible ideas for things like campaign reform, since this party has CREATED most of the corrupt practices and has FOUGHT any attempts at reforms since day one and continues to this day to do it.
-Big Em | Milwaukee, WI | May 23, 2011