Wisconsin's Republican leaders have certainly made a mess of things.
* Bad enough that the Governor has had more than a million citizens sign petitions within a 60-day span in the dead of winter that demand his removal from office by recall election.
Now we learn from the Journal Sentinel that he's hired two experienced criminal lawyers to help him navigate around an expanding John Doe criminal probe that has already ensnared one long-time associate for theft.
Additional former staffers have also been hit with various misdemeanor and felony charges related to misconduct in office and campaigning on public time just a few feet from Walker's Courthouse office door.
You can decide what weight to give this explanation for hiring counsel that he offered to the Journal Sentinel:
"To assemble additional background information, I hired counsel to insure that I am in the best position possible to continue aiding the inquiry."* Also: What are we to make of the revelation by Associated Press that US Senate candidate Mark Neumann, a conservative Republican and ideological free-marketeer, and who has blasted the stimulus program, also owned energy companies that took hundreds of thousands of dollars in stimulus funds and other government subsidies?
His justification? Right out of President Obama's talking points:
Neumann said the incentives have helped his companies invest $2.5 million in Wisconsin projects and create about 50 jobs.Does Neumann stand for anything consistent, coherent and centered on anything except making money and running for office?
* Rounding out this losers' trifecta is Assembly President Pro Tem Bill Kramer, (R-Waukesha), who announced Friday that he has begun carrying a concealed, ten-shot Glock semi-automatic pistol on the Assembly floor. As President Pro Tem, Kramer presides over the body - - armed, he says.
Yes, this is now Kramer's right, thanks to the Legislature's approval of an extremely permissive concealed weapons' carrying statute, but advertising that he's weaponized tells us unsettling things about himself, and his relationship with his colleagues, the public, and the Legislature as an institution.
Kramer says he's not the only legislator packing heat. Nothing good is going to come of this. Someone is going to get hurt in the Capitol, or in an argument over dinner or at a downtown watering hole by a Legislator-turned-Rambo.
Time will tell whether Walker and Neumann can slide by the consequences of their actions. For Kramer, let's hope there are none, and that his Glock stays safely holstered.
Neumann may spin his way free with some clever ads because rival GOP Senate candidate Tommy Thompson has been knee-deep in the DC money-and-power game for years, and looks more compromised by comparison.
As for Walker: he's got the biggest imaginable pile of chips in the casino to gamble, and a poker face to go with it, but let's be honest: he's got a million voters betting against him and the DA might be holding better cards.