With recall petitions eligible for signing later this week - - and certainly in full swing statewide by the 15th - - (information, here and here) - - let's begin to refine the case for cutting Gov. Walker's term to time served.
[Friday update: And if the GOP is any way behind this early filing that gives Walker a jump-start to unlimited fund-raising, add it to my case below.]
I've limited my argument to key actions by Walker that he also abetted and made worse with the heavy-handed use of state power, or through false statements or spin concocted to confuse the public and evade responsibility for his words and deeds, and their consequences.
Recall by the electorate - - a State Constitutional right and duty in perilous times - - should present little fear of the unknown to Walker, as it is the very procedure that paved his path to the Governor's Mansion after succeeding the recalled and discredited Milwaukee County Executive Tom Ament into that office in 2002.
But is Walker, the Eagle Scout, up to the challenge and willing to play fair and square?
Nope: Walker and his lieutenants are trying at this very moment to put in place laws, like petition notarization, designed to delay and gum up the recall procedure just as the game reaches the crucial inning.
So add manipulating the recall process itself for his personal advantage and political survival to the case for Walker's retirement.
Let's start at the beginning:
* He imperiously stripped away in the early days of his Governorship - - with only a 52% electoral, first-term 'mandate' - - a half-century of public employee collective bargaining and threw the state and tens of thousands of middle-class working families into turmoil.
Worse, he had hidden his intention from voters, camouflaged it in a "budget repair" bill, lied about it and got caught, refused to negotiate with unions that immediately acceded to his financial demands, falsely claimed he had openly campaigned on eliminating collective bargaining for public employees and conceded he had not so campaigned only when questioned about it under oath at a Congressional hearing (video, here).That was The Big Lie - - a classically-deceptive move from a person ill-equipped and undeserving to govern - - that framed his national reputation as lead union-basher, and continues to frame the case for his removal.
* Add this question to the recall case against Walker:
If he is comfortable with his performance and agenda, why is Walker so often unable or unwilling to discuss them honestly?
"PolitiFact" has given Walker "mostly false" ratings. or worse, in 66%, or 24 of 36 statements vetted - - an ugly track record and the most such negatives for a Wisconsin figure this year.
He even earned a "false" rating twice in three days about that claim to have openly campaigned on his plan to go after collective bargaining - - here and here.
How is that possible?
Would you go to a lawyer, doctor, pastor, banker, auto mechanic or local pizza carryout joint with that history?
How can the Chief Executive of any operation be so unfamiliar with straight talk and true facts, or be trusted with substantial responsibilities for a state's credibility, its public resources and other people's lives?
It's evidence of a fundamental lack of moral authority, and illustrates why Walker should not hold the highest office in our state.
And there's more since:
[4/16/2012 update: A fresh "false" brings the ratio to 29-16 false-true. Here's the record:The frame for Walker's recall is wider:
* He promoted and signed a power-grabbing Voter ID law allegedly to fight [non-existent] voting fraud, when, in fact, the law - - a basic tool of democracy - - is being turned against the people and their electoral process by restricting registration and voting in areas where he and his Republican legislative allies are weak - - cities and college campuses.
* Walker moved, again through legislation to severely cripple 224 years of public trust management of rivers, lakes, streams and wetlands in Wisconsin in favor of private ownership, intrusion and controls - - again (remember his "modest proposal" in the "budget repair bill" that wiped out nearly all public sector collective bargaining) distorting the intent of the legislation by mislabeling it - - this time as a job-creating measure.
Look at the unfolding mess in Oak Creek, where the DNR in 2008 allowed We Energies to build on a bluff where coal ash had been buried, and now the bluff, vehicles, debris and coal ash are in Lake Michigan. Do we want even less regulation in the public interest where public waters are concerned?
* Even as unemployment rises in Wisconsin, the unimaginative and special-interest driven Walker killed job-creation in clean, green industries.
He served real estate and fossil-fuel business interests' with outlandish rules and restrictions on siting wind turbines, thus blocking hundreds of millions of dollars of wind farm projects in this emerging industry that were ready for installation, yet claiming repeatedly that the state is open for business.
And he forfeited the paid-for $810 million-Milwaukee-Madison Amtrak line. and future connections to a regional high-speed system, thus wiping out years of railroad construction and related employment...then turned around and asked for a big piece of the funding to be returned...then blasted the Obama administration for not sending back the money - - big money, tens of millions and more - which Walker had had in hand mere weeks earlier. This was an amazing shift of responsibility and a patently duplicitous effort to have it both ways.
* Walker claimed he submitted a no-tax-increase budget, though it raised taxes on some lower-income working households by changing the fine print defining a tax credit for the working poor.
* His budget and subsequent actions heightened class disparities among residents, which is hardly the way a democracy is supposed to work. Walker has given high-earners and businesses in our "broke" state fresh tax breaks...and special services by a revamped Cabinet-level Commerce Department with substantial private-sector involvement...and plans to operate the Department of Natural Resources as a "chamber of commerce"-type agency, too - - but cut programs for lower-income citizens in areas as varied as medical care to school lunches to alcohol-and-drug counseling for students.
* Walker promoted and signed a pointless bill that endangers public safety by allowing the carrying of concealed weapons - - even in the politically-overheated State Capitol. It's a law that panders to the gun lobby, and with rising unemployment, is little more than government by distraction - - 'solving' a problem that doesn't exist while others fester, often through Walker's inattention or sole-proprietorship.To sum it up: Walker has squandered a year expending considerable amounts of Wisconsin's credibility, quality of life, legal authority, and taxpayer dollars to reward himself with political protections and lavish fresh benefits on the most privileged residents and powerful lobbies in the state, thereby embedding his party power running the Big Government they claim to hate.
And while penalizing everyday families with lesser means and influence.
Three more years of Walker will disable the state. We can't afford it.