A day or so ago, it looked like the Journal Sentinel had finally found a moderate voice in kind-of opposition to the radical effort by its endorsed governor and his goose-stepping legislature to bust public employee unions and otherwise grab imperial powers to privatize state resources and rewrite Medicaid eligibility without administrative review.
After its silly PolitiFact project applied a string of False and even one Pants-on-Fire “rulings” to Walker’s various lies in his ideological drive to remake Wisconsin in the Koch Brothers’ image, the Kings of State Street actually took some mild shots at Walker in two editorials on Friday. Two weeks after the bill was available to read, they suddenly discovered that Walker was trying to grab control over Medicaid eligibility rules to boot as many people off the rolls of the insured as possible. It also suddenly dawned on the paper’s inner conscious that he was trying to sell off state-owned power plants without bids, probably to the Koch brothers or other of his rich contributors who are standing in the governor’s mansion (no room at the Capitol these days) with their hands out and their pants unzipped.
In a separate editorial, they also expressed as much disgust as they could gather for Walker’s bromance phone call with the guy pretending to be right-wing pig David Koch. After pronouncing the revealing stunt “good for a laugh”, the paper goes on to describe things that are decidedly not funny and concludes that Walker’s parting “thanks a million” was the most revealing comment of all.
Although somewhat critical in both editorials, the paper continues its pattern of treating Walker with kid gloves, as if he’ll break if they go after him the way he so badly deserves to be gone after. It doesn’t call for Walker to kill the Medicaid and power plant power-grabs; it says the provisions “should be stripped from the bill and debated separately”, as if the result would be any different with a Republican majority that dictates and does not debate. They continue to treat the governor and legislature as reasonable, rational people rather than knuckle-dragging ideologues. But, still, it looked for a minute there like you might be able to see some daylight between the Journal Sentinel’s nose and Scott Walker’s ass.
Well, that didn’t last long. A day after Republicans in the Assembly made a mockery of the legislative process by shutting down debate without notice and giving members mere seconds to vote in the middle of the night, the paper completely ignores the most outrageous behavior in Wisconsin legislative history in Saturday’s paper. Instead, the paper, yet again, goes after the bravely-absent Senate Democrats for the umpteenth time. They sniff that the brilliant and completely legal and necessary Bus Filibuster is “unethical and constitutes dereliction of duty.” They want Walker to “offer an olive branch” to the Dems by, once again, stripping out the non-budget policy items and considering them “separately”.
Has the Journal Sentinel been paying any attention to how Walker and the radical Republicans have been behaving? Did they watch how the Republicans in the Assembly tried to ram through a vote a week ago? Did they see them sit on their hands while the impassioned Democrats brought up very reasonable amendments for 61 hours, just waiting for their moment to pounce by calling for the quick vote and slinking out of the room like a bunch of cowards? Did they hear Walker tell fake-Koch that one of his plots to lure the Democrats back to the Capitol was to pretend to have a conversation with them?
Seeing how the Assembly Democrats were treated, why would any self-respecting Democrat go the the floor of the Senate to be subjected to the same abuse? Why would the Journal Sentinel want them to? Besides, the Senate Republicans have already eliminated the possibility for any amendment and debate on the union-busting, Medicaid-destroying, power-plant giveaway bill. The Republicans have no right to a quorum. The way Republicans throughout the Capitol have been acting, they don’t have a right to anything.
For two weeks now, the Journal Sentinel has refused to hold Walker or the Republicans to the same standard of cooperation, comity and common decency that it would expect from anyone else. The paper pretends that the Republicans come to the table in good faith to solve the state’s problems. They ignore all evidence that the Republicans are a radical bunch of ideological movement right-wingers, driving a national agenda born in the corporate offices of the Koch brothers and the conservative think-tanks of Washington.
The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel has lost its soul on the floor of the Republican Assembly and Senate and the governor’s office, where democracy has gone to die.