Sunday, December 2, 2018

Increasingly desperate WI GOP ensuring inevitable irrelevancy

So here we go again.

Almost eight years ago, citizens in Wisconsin showed up at the State Capitol because the newly-elected GOP Governor Scott Walker had unveiled his plan drawn up in secret to strip public employees of bargaining and workplace rights and to reduce their clout at the ballot box.

It was a deliberate power grab and exercise of "divide-and-conquer," in Walker's words, disguised as a "modest" budget measure - - again, his language.

On Monday, citizens in Wisconsin will again show up at the State Capitol because the newly-defeated GOP Governor Scott Walker and his loyalist legislative servants have unveiled another plan also drawn up in secret - - again to use state power to strip citizens and local communities of voting rights, and this time going even further by snatching away from legitimately-elected incoming Democratic officials their fairly-won, office-holding privileges.

It's another deliberate power grab, this time falsely disguised as a "reasonable" reset of authority shared among all three branches of state government, when, in fact, the GOP-controlled Wisconsin Legislature had giddily-given Walker extra powers - - from selling state assets to implementing state rules - - to carry out the 'chamber of commerce' vision of government that his special-interest donors had paid for.

And as they did with their 2011, 'drop-the-bomb' Act 10 education depredation legislation, these Wisconsin Republican officials may get most of all of what they want for the time being, because they - - a) rigged the Legislature through grotesque gerrymandering - - and just look at the data - - 
- -  and b) hold a friendly State Supreme Court majority, strengthened by fill-in Walker appointments - - a hard-right ideological advantage which the GOP's newest grab for power seeks to further embed by rigging the 2020 election calendar to boost the chances for one of Walker's hand-picked, far-right favorites.

I acknowledge that this is a dispiriting scenario, made more distasteful because Republicans will get unearned satisfaction from draining away the sweetness which Democrats' deserved to savor after putting in the work to win upset November 6th victories.

Republicans also will enjoy watching Democrats and grassroots progressives continue to spend time and money fighting the government for access, fairness and rights about which there should be no such struggle.

Think about it: we're almost in 2019, other states are making voting easier through online or mail-in balloting, and GOP public officials in Wisconsin are again trying to make it even harder to vote.

And Republicans also know if they succeed in constricting turnout and reducing Democrats' leverage in Wisconsin, as they are doing also in neighboring Michigan - - national media beginning to see the trend - -  the GOP has a better shot at holding those key states' electoral votes in 2020 for Trump, or his replacement.

But here's the thing: these transparently slimy moves are all inevitably doomed to collapse in the face of blue waves driven by stronger realities, namely that the GOP is getting older and whiter and weaker and the electorate is getting younger and more diverse and engaged.

These are some of the very pressures which help explain why Walker, despite all the advantages of incumbency - - from name recognition to easy media to free airplanes to armored carloads of dark, outside money  - - lost by 30,000 votes. 

To a bi-racial ticket.

Anachronistic politicians like Walker, Fitzgerald and Vos are also aging into the same accelerating insignificance which defines their party and its agendas. 

To an ever-higher tech, digital world, Walker, Fitzgerald and Vos are the political equivalents of the eight-track tape deck and corded phone.
Wisc Sen. Scott Fitzgerald.jpg
Those three men are all now in their 50's, middle-aged, defined by careerist political jobs principally-based in the Wisconsin Legislature - - nearly a half-century of public trough satisfactions are on our tab and their ledgers there  - - but it's a domain that does not necessarily translate into bigger and better things and which they used more like a hammock than a trampoline.

And yes, Walker did bounce all the way out to the governorship, but not only did he just get rejected by the voters for over-staying his welcome, he's now involved in an ugly, perhaps extra-legal power grab on his way out the door - - moves that that are so blatantly undemocratic and self-serving as to undermine any claim he might imagine on a legacy other than permanent public enmity.

Can you name a cutting-edge business that would hire any of those three?

A publication which would seek any of them out for a personally-drafted thousand words about the future?

Do you see yourself standing in front of their official portraits one day and saying, "Now there was a leader," or "I'd really like to have a beer with that guy and pick his brain."

So I see what these Republicans are doing with the power they possess and want to expand as vindictive.

And morally bankrupt.

And certainly as a pathetic waste of our tax money and the good they could have done addressing some of the shortcomings and injustices  of our time had they sincerely looked beyond the reflections in their mirrors to true public service and the value of the public sector.

But that's not the case, so just as Trump helped organize the mid-term blue wave that helped cost his party the Wisconsin governship ,and control of the US House of Representatives which further imperils his incumbency, this 11th-desperation by one-dimensional and arrogant Wisconsin Republicans contains the same inevitably of backlash and failure.

Onward, and on, Wisconsin.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Inevitable irrelevance!?!?!

Fat chance. The media will not let that happen. Our divide-and-conquer Governor and GOP control.of the state was not accomplished on its merits. It took a lot of propaganda and that situation has not changed nor will it.

They have gerrymandered themselves into potentially perpetual power at the legislature. This was all endorsed by the media and is still being promoted. Eight years of corrjption, attacks on workers, and assaults on our democracy were only possible with complicit and compliant mass media.