Monday, October 26, 2015

The right-wing steamroller in Wisconsin has no brakes

Having driven Louis Butler off the State Supreme Court with a repulsively negative, special-interest financed campaign, and subsequently also having demoted Chief Justice Shirley Abrahamson to Associate Justice through a similarly-inspired ideological editing of the State Constitution, the conservative Republican juggernaut at the State Capitol - - while already busy crushing Civil Service, prosecution of elected officials and bipartisanship  at the watchdog Government Accountability Board - - is lining up another personal and partisan attack on Wisconsin progressives and their legacy:

It's a move to disallow voters from electing the State Treasurer and Secretary of State, as the Wisconsin Constitution requires.

This maneuver will hand over all of those offices' powers to gubernatorial/political appointees and throw out the duly-elected incumbents - - a political bank shot aimed principally at ending the career of Douglas La Follette, the progressive Democrat repeatedly elected Secretary of State.

It's the maneuvering that the right used to negate the statewide electoral success of Chief Justice Abrahamson. She was continually re-elected by voters who knew full well that Abrahamson would continue as Wisconsin Chief Justice by virtue of her seniority, as the state constitution had long required - - but the right used the complex referendum process to end that method of chief justice selection - - costing Abrahamson her position and allowing for elevation to the Chief Justiceship of right-winger and corporate water-carrier Patience Roggensack by a majority vote of the court's dominant conservative wing.

Next up on the right-wingers payback, one-party-rules-all agenda: getting rid of the elected Wisconsin Superintendent of Public Instruction, again stripping the public of its disappearing role in managing state government while adding more clout to the school choice/private, religious education movement and its growing access to tens of millions of dollars of taxpayer money.

Along with the obvious political and institutional consequences, this iron-fisted and ideological power has policy implications that extend to the very basics of civil society, such as clean and accessible water and the air quality that affects both water and land, but which is now 'managed' by senior private sector officials who moved from business and trade groups into Walker's "chamber of commerce mentality" Department of Natural Resources.

Conservative elected officials, relaxed or ended campaign finance limits, deliberately-weakened oversight of their campaigns and exempted themselves from so-called John Doe corruption investigations are freer than ever to broaden their attack on other deterrents to the fair and honest government which progressives have long supported for the common good: collective bargaining and workplace rights, unfettered ballot access, and independently-minded office-holders who won't fall or be bullied into line.


Anonymous said...

It's time to occupy the Capitol so that the people of Wisconsin are made aware of these corrupt elected official stealing the people's democracy and working only for their party not the people. Enough of this party over people government.

Anonymous said...

So, James, Did anyone notice that "Democracy died last week in Wisconsin"? Guess I missed that headline in either the Journal Sentinel or the Wisconsin State Journal. So much for that mainstream liberal media I keep hearing about.