Boy, the Journal Sentinel’s increasingly ridiculous and apparently (sadly) permanent PolitiFact project really gave it to One Wisconsin Now for having the temerity to call out the radical Republican regime in Madison for adding “over $140 million in new special interest spending” to the state budget hole they keep whining about.
Using the “Pants-on-Fire” scarlet letter that they reserve only for supposedly false claims from the Democrats or the left (right-wing politicians telling real fibs usually only manage a “Barely True” or, at worse, “False”), the paper declares that throwing money in the form of tax giveaways to the already-wealthy interests who clog the GOP money machine with gobs of thousand-dollar bills is not “spending” because, well, it isn’t. Taking the word of highly-conflicted wing-nut enabler George Lightbourn (fresh from his star-turn with a Scott Walker puff-piece in Sunday’s Crossroads section), the J-S boldly determines that taking money everybody anticipated being in the treasury and scattering it among various GOP constituencies in the form of tax breaks is not “spending”, and anyone who says it is is a damn liar.
OK, government has a defined pot of money. There are two ways to “spend” that pot. One is by paying money out to attend to the needs of government programs; the other is to take tax revenue out of the base to encourage certain behavior (or, in Walker’s case, to reward the greedy Republican base). In the national political parlance, throwing money out of the treasury to the overprivileged is always referred to as “spending money on tax cuts”. There is nothing outrageous about One Wisconsin Now, Xoff, or anyone else calling gifts to the rich “spending”. The paper even admits as such, conceding that even Scott Walker described Obama’s stimulus bill as “spending” although one-third of the cost was tax cuts. “But two-thirds was spending,” scolds PolitiFact. Oh, well then the one-third consisting of tax cuts could not have possibly also be called “spending”. He who controls the definition controls the argument. Or, he who refuses to concede the legitimacy of a legitimate label – as even the right-partisan Lightbourn does – calls liar, liar, pants on fire.
Meanwhile, Walker tells bald-faced lies about “survey after survey” showing that one of top concerns of businesses considering a move to the state is the “litigation climate” (they don’t, and he knows it), and the PolitiFact poo-bahs can only bring themselves to brand the deliberate lie “False”, rather than “Pants-on-Fire”. Why? It can only be because Walker is a Republican.
And, also, because such is the “coverage” of Gov. Walker in the Journal Sentinel. Every bad bill greased through the rubber-stamp legislature is a “triumph” for the Boy Governor. The paper seems more interested in keeping track of Walker’s “victories” and whether he keeps all of his bad promises than examining the wisdom of, say, cutting loose the nursing home industry from the nuisance of effective lawsuits. When the editorial board that foolishly endorsed Walker disagrees with the wildly misplaced priorities the unfettered Republicans have shown in their first month of tax cuts for the rich, the decimation of personal injury law (gee, hope something bad never happens to them) and efforts to destroy Wisconsin election law, the strongest they can come up with is “gosh, we wish you wouldn’t”.
Editorializing on the Bergstrom Blow Job bill, the board politely suggests that Walker and the Boys “step back”. “Let's have a debate”; “let's not sidestep” the rules and blah de blah blah. On the anti-democratic effort to install the most rigid Photo ID law in the country, the Journal Sentinel takes the “if rape is inevitable” route. “If voter ID is going to happen, the Legislature should get it right,” wimps-out the editorial board. No. You can’t get the wrong right. Trying to get any form of Photo ID – which will necessarily end up (as intended) disenfranchising thousands of legitimate voters – “right” is like trying get the invasion of Iraq “right”. Wrong is wrong. It can’t be done.
But, that’s what happens when an editorial board reaches decisions by consensus and has a chartered member of the wing-nut establishment like Patrick McIlheran hanging around. The editorial board needs take more and stronger stances as the Republicans run amok. So what if Paddy Mac runs screaming from the room? Otherwise, they have no right to complain about the results of the radical Walker Republicans they helped bring to power.
One of the Republican’s Big Lies that they used to claw their way to power is that Wisconsin is a Tax Hell or Business Hell. It has never been any such thing. However, by the time the Republicans get done with it, our formerly progressive state will be a Citizen Hell. And there will be the Journal Sentinel, cheering each bad law as a “victory” for Walker, giving the Republicans unearned credit for good intentions, and trying to nudge the right-wing zealots towards “justice and moderation”, as it laughably does in reviewing Walker’s State of the State address. If they really think bullshit like that is going to work, they obviously have no idea the kind of radical ideologues they are dealing with.