Monday, December 3, 2018

About Vos' sanctimonious and selective hypocrisies

Some history about the WI GOP's post-defeat power-grab launched to change the rules - - especially about who gets to write and enforce formal state rules - -  which Walker has been imperiously adjusting for years.

I know writing about changing the rules about writing the rules is a bit of a rhetorical Mobius strip, but bear with me, because, yes, it's about another strip or two, too.

We need this review because GOP leaders like 

Picture of Representative Robin Vos Robin Vos are selectively and sanctimoniously lecturing us on "the basics of how the republic works," and are scheming in a hurriedly-scheduled special legislative session to strip powers from WI Governor-elect Democrat Tony Evers.

So let's look at the record and unpack Vos' new-found talking point about the need to "restore the balance of power in state government."

 6 hours ago6 hours agoMoreWill be joining later this hour to talk about the extraordinary session and our efforts to restore the balance of power in state government. 
One of "the basics" which Vos would prevent Evers from exercising current state rule-making powers that was a Walker's idea and he proposed before he was sworn in:

Republican Governor-elect Scott Walker announced plans Tuesday to require the governor to approve all state rules and give citizens a chance to challenge those rules in their local circuit courts... 
The measures are to be considered in a special legislative session Walker will call Jan. 3, the day he is sworn in and Republicans take over the Legislature. 
"It will give any future governor, by putting it in the statutes, the ability to kind of say, 'The buck stops with me,' " Walker told reporters...
And did you see that it got on a special legislative session? Talk about consistently rewriting the rules whenever convenient. I'd noted the Walker power play at the time:
"On, Wisconsin?"...Here's a brief look at some of Walker's Non-Wisconsin lowlights:
*  Walker wants to remove state rule-making powers - - a very important state function because  Wisconsin rules have the power of law  - - from the legislature to his office.
That's a power grab that upsets the checks-and-balances among the branches of government, blocks transparency and opens the door even more widely to special-interest influence.
Even the Journal Sentinel, after editorially-endorsing Walker's candidacy, said it was a maneuver that could back-fire:
Like the idea of Walker wielding such power? Now imagine the next guy - for whom you didn't vote - with the same powers. This makes no sense on a few other fronts. 
But Walker got his way, and it came in handy when he needed to stick it to people he didn't like:

Gov. Scott Walker used his broad new powers to reshape a rule to lower inflation-based raises that public unions can negotiate by 30% or more for teachers in public schools and technical colleges... 
Early last year, Walker changed state law to give him more control over administrative rules. State agencies - including those not controlled by the governor - must get his approval before writing and implementing such rules, which have the force of state law.
Or when he needed to routinely reward special interests at the expense of public health:
Responding to strong complaints from Wisconsin’s dairy industry, the state Department of Natural Resources quietly narrowed the scope of rules it is writing to reduce health hazards from hundreds of millions of gallons of manure spread on farm fields each year. 
But conservationists said... the changes exposed the way a 2011 state law has allowed Gov. Scott Walker and the DNR to give industry opportunities to sharply limit crucial administrative rules before the public even knows they are under consideration... 
Since Republicans took over state government in 2011, Walker and the Legislature have insisted that administrative rule-making power belongs more firmly in the hands of elected officials...including a requirement that the governor review initial scope statements and approve them before rule-making proceeds.
But after having given Walker the power to give major trade groups and donors the favors they wanted. now Vos and other GOP leaders have decided that now is the time make another change to further empower themselves.

Reminds me of what former Walker-appointed DNR Secretary Cathy Stepp had put it in an angry but  prescient screed about rule-making she said Democrats had abused:
Those of you that haven't had the pleasure of peeking behind the scenes of our state agencies like DNR, Health and Family Services, etc...need to know how some of the most far-reching policies come down on our heads.
The most crushing/controversial rules that businesses have to follow in our state are--most times--done through the "rule making process" of our state agencies. 
For example, people who go to work for the DNR's land, waste, and water bureaus tend to be anti-development, anti-transportation, and pro-garter snakes, karner blue butterflies, etc...This is in their nature; their make-up and DNA. So, since they're unelected bureaucrats who have only their cubicle walls to bounce ideas off of, they tend to come up with some pretty outrageous stuff that those of us in the real world have to contend with...
Well, sometimes agencies try to use this process as an end-around the legislative process to implement Rules, which end up having the same affect as Laws... 
Just another example of the democrats game plan: Change the Rules to Fit the Players.
Shout it with me, now: HYPOCRISY, THY NAME IS DEMOCRAT.


RogerDBybee said...

Fabulous piece! Your depth of insight is remarkable and your research very impressive.

All of this underscores how the Republicans--even before Trump--have nothing but contempt for democracy:
**Nullifying the results of a democratic election where the popular will threw out Gov. Walker and AG Schimel;
**Voter ID laws that discouraged up to 300,000 voters in 2016, according to one study;
**Partisan gerrymandering that's among worst in nation, conducted under extreme secrecy and employing a private law firm. All of this brought down fines from federal judges.

Gerrymandering in Wisconsin is so severe that a combined 52% vote for Democratic Assembly candidates was translated into a 60-30 GOP advantage in the number of seats actually won.

Best, Roger Bybee

James Rowen said...

Thank you so much, Roger.