Saturday, March 26, 2011

Hare Today, Gone Tomorrow

Scott Walker, the Fitzgeralds and their network of extremist handlers expect that short memories, summer vacation and outrage fatigue will protect Walker from recall in 2012 and preserve his Tea Party, John Birch-inspired takeover of state government.

They are acting as if a 52%-48% political win in November gave them 100% political certitude and freedom to dictate through 2014 - - an arrogant calculus that surely fires upright-wing think tanks, and energizes the game-players in the legislature and across Walker's expanding coterie of at-will sycophants - - but which also turns off the mainstream and motivates the opposition.

In short, abusing power is the surest way to lose it.

Their intentional disrespect for established law and fair procedure, and for transparent governance - - whether by closing the State Capitol building, trampling academic freedom, selling off and selling out the environment, and ending for partisan purposes 50 years of collective bargaining (read: workplace democracy) exposes their radical isolation and justifies their coming recall.

They may be "winning" in the Charlie Sheen way, but they are going to loose their show because their tin-horn mentality, and the calendar, work against them:

* Unfolding Senate recalls will run well into the summer.

* The months-long state budget process will overlap the recalls, with each and all validating the need to throw the bums out.

(And yes, we have to make sure they don't monkey with schedules and procedures, from open budget meetings to clean redistricting, as they have already shown contempt for citizen rights, Open Meetings, Open legislating and legitimate publication of laws.)

* The state budget realities in Madison will lead to months of controversial local-level school and municipal budget-writing and planning - - all of which will continue to garner media coverage.

*  That is followed by grassroots budget hearings, debate and publicity through Thanksgiving as the full weight of Walker's assault on services and local control through The New Big Government In Madison will be fully revealed.

*  And then implemented at the neighborhood level and in households across the state beginning on January 1, 2012 - - 48 before Walker recall petitions can be signed.

So: steady as it goes, with lawyers ready to pounce on any Walker-directed, Fitzgeralds'-led tfresh manipulations to stack the deck and save their over-played hand.

They want to be the hare.

The tortoise prevails.


George Carns said...

I believe that progressives must defend the concept behind any and all FOIA requests to help guarantee an open and transparent society.

A FOIA request is always going to be partisan and self-interested and was designed that way.

Take a look at Jack Shafer's article over at, posted Friday, "There's No Such Thing as a Bad FOIA Request -The Wisconsin GOP's quest to obtain a professor's emails isn't 'McCarthyesque.'"

Shafer writes, "Take, for example, the lawsuit filed against Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker by the Associated Press and the Madison, Wis., Isthmus after his team ignored open records requests for emails he had received. The suit forced a settlement that released the materials....FOIA laws exists for the benefit of independent seekers of truth, businesses looking for an edge over their competitors, news hounds seeking scoops, and even politicos seeking to stir the pot. If anything, these laws are underused. I side with the Wisconsin Freedom of Information Council, which holds, 'The Open Records Law is like a muscle: The more it is used, the stronger it becomes. The law belongs to all of us, and it's our collective responsibility to make sure it stays strong.'"

Shafer goes on to say, "I take Cronon at his word that his email correspondence did not violate the university's policies. I also accept his assertion that the release of his emails will cause him inconvenience, disruption, potential embarrassment, and worse, and that it will make the lives of professors at Wisconsin state schools miserable for all of the same reasons. I predict a long legal battle over the emails.... but one that Cronon will lose because the open records law seems to side with the requesters of information."

So keep in mind that the FOIA can be a good way for "us" to find out about any dirty little secrets "they" have been hiding, too.

So I say, let a hundred flowers bloom. I wonder if there are any conservative or libertarian free-marketeer Wisconsin state university academics who wrote critical economic or historical analyses of labor unions or the "crisis" on their own blogs or in newspaper op-eds or served as critical guests on radio talk shows? If so, I wonder what we would find if a FOIA request searched their state email accounts for "references to any of the following terms: Republican, Scott Walker, recall, collective bargaining, AFSCME, WEAC, rally, union, Alberta Darling, Randy Hopper, Dan Kapanke, Rob Cowles, Scott Fitzgerald, Sheila Harsdorf, Luther Olsen, Glenn Grothman, Mary Lazich, Jeff Fitzgerald, Marty Beil, or Mary Bell." You could also add the names of the 14 Democratic Senators to this search.

Perhaps the Democratic Party - or a good progressive Wisconsin internet blogger - could look into this....

Anonymous said...

Based on what I read at the GAB website circulating the Walker recall petitions can begin in November. They can not be filed until he has been in office for a year, so 60 days prior to Jan. 3 is when the signing can begin.

James Rowen said...

I stand corrected and will post the page. Thank you.