Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Governance As If By Talk Radio; Wisconsin Republicans Play Out The Farce

The political scene in Madison since the January swearing-in of Scott Walker and his Republican legislative majorities is familiar if you listen to right-wing talk radio.

Not just the content of new law and plans, of course: You've got your union-bashing and voter suppression and tax cuts for the wealthy and favors for corporations and special interests, like the road-builders- - the typical ultra-conservative Charlie Sykes/Vicki McKenna talk radio agenda - - spiced up this go-round with concealed firearms carrying permissions and, courtesy of River Hills' State Senator Alberta Darling, the new Queen of Reaction, even the easing of child labor laws.

If fact, there was Darling on Sykes' show this morning, right on cue and perfectly coordinated, being led through the litany of all the good things in the budget and on the table - - and she thanked Charlie when she had to go do her damage for helping get her "message" out.

But when I say talk radio I'm also talking about the volume and tone of what's happening in the Legislature - - loud, demanding, bullying, authoritarian - - with gavels falling gleefully to close debate or kill amendments, or Senators, like Fred Risser, being cut off in mid-sentence.

You hear this basic talk radio practice routinely on Mark Belling's 1130 WISN-AM show as he talks, even shouts, over his callers - - even supporters.

Why? Because it's an uneven playing field. He has the power because he has the microphone.

That's how the Fitzgerald brothers are running the show; they have the power, so anything goes.

Assembly Majority Leader Jeff Fitzgerald is arranging the calendar beginning today so that Scott Walker's two-year budget - - billions in public funding, taxing and spending, on thousands of programs - - will be taken up in extraordinary session - - despite the absence of compelling need, or a true emergency.

The actual need is to nail down the loose ends for Walker and Corporate Wisconsin and the talk radio agenda - - wrap it up and go home and campaign through the self-generated recalls and, above all, try to disperse the crowds outside.

It's completely tactical and partisan and self-defeating - - but is also a total, in-your-face bastardization of the process into talk radio, where discussion is micro-managed, and anger is manufactured and the outcome is not in doubt. The host wins.

The Fitzgeralds can do this because they have the power; the budget will be sped to Walker's desk after limited, meaningless Kabuki debate - - not because it's the right or even a smart thing to do - - but because it's the ploy the game-players Fitzgeralds and Walker are choosing.

Brother Jeff threatens, if the State Supreme Court does not dance to his tune and hand him a gift-wrapped judicial victory, to include in the fast-tracked budget the union-busting measure his brother Scott Fitzgerald mishandled as a separate measure in the Senate when he trampled on the Open Meetings law and rammed through Walker's falsely-labeled budget-repair bill in which union-busting provisions and the end of collective bargaining were included.

But legislative bodies are not talk shows.

Leaders are not radio jocks.

Public policies aren't topics to be teed up and clobbered by hosts with microphones, selected callers, audio kill switches and seven-second delays.

Talk radio is twisted entertainment.

Legislating is life and death.

What the Wisconsin legislature is about to do this week is not legislating.

It's faux-legislating. And like the bogus Democrats that Republicans are running in the recall elections, it's fake governing - - sick, real-life farce, with a cringing statewide audience.

Walker and the Fitzgeralds they think they will rule forever, and that their bills and policies are are inherently meritorious and irreversible, but Republican leaders in Wisconsin will come to regret their extreme experiment suspending democracy and discounting the public.

Their contemptuous radicalism will be retired by the will of the people.

And history will treat them harshly; Walker and the Fitzgeralds and the other architects of the failed State of Fitzwalkerstan will be punchlines, footnotes.


David Mueller said...

HaHa, another lefty a thin thread away from insanity! You might want to shut off talk radio for the next few days or I'm sure you'll be going over the edge.

To your rant- the Repubs have made many changes to these bills. Problem is, as much as you preach bipartisanship, Dems won't be satisfied until the bills are so watered down to the point of loosing their intent. Don't like the intent(obviously), don't lose elections.

Recycling grants that were completely axed previously are now going to get funding. Cuts facing school districts have been lessened. More form of allowable ID in the voter ID bill.

I could go on and on- but the point is nothing will ever be enough for your type, so quit disingenuously calling for bipartisanship.

Oh, lest I forget changes to concealed carry. With input and collaboration of police chiefs and mayors, it was tightened up.

That is hardly the dictatorial heavy hand that you're trying to portray.

clyde winter said...

Block and counter the Koch Party attack on the working class.

Greg said...

Fitzwalkerstan, wow that's real clever of you. Outside of you stating your opinion and making up witty monikers, what facts do you have to back up your theory that what is happening in Wisconsin is in the least bit wrong? Also, I love your bio that says you workED (past tense) for newspapers and mayors. What do you do these days? Have you ever truly made a meaningful contribution to society by actually holding a real get-your-hands-dirty job? Or have you always been a shrieker when nothing goes your way? I will be completely shocked as well if you let this comment through moderation, but maybe you will surprise me with your bravery.

James Rowen said...

I take no credit for Fitwalkerstan. When writing about the Fitgeralds and Walker, it's convenient, and helps make a point.

Thanks for being a reader.

Anonymous said...

Greg - TPE is pretty much a fact free zone.

Rowen mostly just regurgitates the slop OWN dumps on their website.

Greg said...

And what point exactly are you trying to make then with the term? If it is convenience you are looking for, then why not use Wisconsin, there are 5 whole keystrokes less!

So seriously James, tell us more about you and what you are doing these days. It might help to lend a bit of credibility to your thin arguments. Might.

James Rowen said...

And yet ye detractors read every word.
That's the part I don't get.

Greg said...

Well yes James, that is really the whole goal behind debating and learning and making decisions (you know, things used in the real world). I will listen to other opinions to help me make more informed decisions. Try it sometime, you might be surprised!

gnarlytrombone said...

Of course the irony deficient obnoxioscenti have to barrel in and prove the point.

Anonymous said...


It doesn't matter who James Rowan is or what he does when he's not sharing his thoughts on the news.

I require that the decision makers be transparent about who they are. It is the voters and the pundits who deserve their privacy.

A point of view can be debated on its merit alone. An idea does not improve in worth based on the wealth or influence of the person touting it. Here in America, we call that democracy. Elsewhere, maybe they just call it math.

taochiapet said...

Greg, the "Fitzwalkerstan" moniker has been around for quite a while now. Try and keep up, ok?

Anonymous said...

"We're not bullies. NOW TELL US WHERE YOU WORK!"

Jake formerly of the LP said...

You're talking about talk radio and WMC/Koch Industries as if they're separate entities. And both are the behind-the-scenes arm of WisGOP (and WisGOP is the up-front version of their interests).

It's coordinated, and anyone in the business knows it's true. It's no way to lead or even work in an everyday world, but it's the only way they can fool dead-enders into voting against their own interests- because those are the simpeltons who confuse bullying and screaming with competence.