Friday, February 24, 2012

Federal Judge Redefines Political Obligation In Wisconsin

"Openness and fairness and doing the right thing."
Write that down: it should be the new State of Wisconsin motto.

It is ironic to the nth degree that J.P. Stadtmueller - - appointed US Attorney in Milwaukee in 1981 by President Ronald Reagan, and then elevated to the US District Court bench by Reagan in 1987 - - has clearly enunciated in the current political environment the perfect frame for the recall efforts against Gov. Walker and Senate Majority Leader Fitzgerald, and more importantly, for all political campaigns, public policy work, and taxpayer spending in the state - - from now on.

I am sure Stadtmueller had in mind only the obfuscatory tactics used in the redistricting case by GOP legislators and their attorneys in mind, but his admonishment in open court Tuesday from the bench to an attorney for the state can fairly be applied to other public policy and procedural issues - - across, and regardless of, partisan lines - - because Stadtmueller gave it broad reach:
...we have had enough of the charade and mischaracterization. I don't mean to impugn either you or anyone associated with this case, but as they say, the facts are the facts. What has occurred here is beyond the pale in terms of lack of transparency, secrecy, and at the end of the day, as the court has commented earlier, it may not have anything to do with the price of tea in China, but appearances are everything, and Wisconsin has prided itself for one generation after another on openness and fairness and doing the right thing.
*  Openness and fairness and doing the right thing - - completely contradicted by Walker's dropping a bomb withheld during the campaign for Governor on collective bargaining rights  after his swearing in, and;

*  Absent from the Assembly's mining bill drafting in secret, then released without sponsors, ith further exclusions of public participation in the process to come, and;

*  Absent from then-Milwaukee County Executive Scott Walker's office operation, where prosecutors allege the presence of a secret email system used to facilitate illegal campaigning on public time and with public resources, and'

Absent from Scott Walker's continuous claims that his 2011-'13 budget did not raise taxes, when it raised two taxes, according to the Legislative Fiscal Bureau - - and cost low-income residents and the working poor money from their already stressed lifestyles and budgets while upper-income earners and some businesses got tax breaks.

What we need to do is promote and reclaim the legacy that the no-nonsense Stadtmueller so eloquently and precisely summed up in one simple sentence of a mere eighteen words - - The Stadtmueller Standard - -  that should be sworn to by public officials, applied by policy watchdogs, and be bold-faced in school books here, permanently:
"Wisconsin has prided itself for one generation after another on openness and fairness and doing the right thing."


Anonymous said...

Hmmmm, can Judge Stadtmueller be persuaded to step down from the bench and run for governor? We may have the centrist candidate who can take the state by storm -- because his statement indicates understanding of the state's traditions and processes and principles, no matter the party.

Anonymous said...

Wisconsin needs to get over the often-stated but never substantiated claim that its politics were somehow clean and pure and that all we need to do is go back to yesteryear to restore utopia.

The fact is that politics is prositition. Not rading sex for money (at least not primarily), but trading power and influence for money. It has always been this way, here and everywhere else. Wisconsin's whores are not more pure than the whores in any other state. Well, maybe Chicago.

Having federal judges compare conduct to some standard that exists only in the collective fantasies of those who continue to profess it is no way to run a court of law.