Monday, April 25, 2011

Recount, Schmecount–Bring on the Recalls

Alright, so it’s been a while.

A few belated thoughts about the Supreme Court election:

  • Imagine, if you will, the high-pitched squealing that would be going on right now if a Democratic operative had suddenly discovered 14,000 extra votes lying around on her hard drive, changing an excruciatingly close election into a squeaker win for Kloppenburg.  You could hear the shouting from here to Superior. Fitz Sr. would send his troopers over to take possession of the ballots and records. Rather than complaining about the recount process, the Republicans would be treating it like a sacrament. If Kloppenburg would manage to hang on to the razor-thin 7,000 vote margin, the talk-radio yahoos would be treat her as illegitimate and treat the entire election as the greatest example of election theft since the Bushies shut down the recount in Florida.  No, wait…
  • I still don’t know what happened in Waukesha County with the Jensen-tainted Republican stooge either innocently and incompetently not reporting the City of Brookfield on election night or somehow manufacturing enough votes in the dead of the night to give Prosser the win.  If I were Kloppenburg, I would have asked for a hand recount in Waukesha only, even if I had to pay for it.  Then, at least we can say we know who won without taking the word of a conflicted partisan hack like Kathy Nickolaus for it.  I assume it is going to end up being innocent incompetence rather than criminal behavior, but at least we’ll have that county’s votes counted in the light of day, with people watching.
  • Of course, that’s not what Kloppenburg did – she asked for a statewide recount.  Which is her right.  Frankly, I’d do it just to stick it to that two-bit blowhard John Troupis, who threatened the day before that he was going to “prevent” the legal recount from happening. That, and the whining from Prosser himself made it hard to resist just making them go through the process.  Whether it was a good idea or not remains to be seen.  It does seem that the GAB is pretty overwhelmed at this point and they are going to have to ask for an extension on getting the recall petitions certified, which is where the real action is.
  • Even if Kloppenburg ends up losing by 0.5 percent, her strong near-miss showing is still very ominous for Scott Walker’s radical right-wing agenda in the state Capitol.  I was never 100% comfortable with the Walker = Prosser equation, although I get that – this being the first statewide election after Walker “dropped the bomb” on public employees and the rest of the state – this was an opportunity to send a message.  And we did, almost winning a race with a less-than-stellar candidate.  One of the post-election wing-nut talking points was that “everyone” was predicting a Kloppenburg blowout.  Well, no one was saying any such thing and the fact is that we came this close to breaking the right-wing WMC majority on the Court.
  • I know candidates at all levels are told to go out and declare victory if they are leading in a close race to manage perceptions (one of the many miserable lessons of the Bush theft of democracy in 2000), but sending Kloppenburg out to plan Prosser’s retirement party with a 200-vote margin was ridiculous.  Prosser had already taken a slim lead by the next morning, before the Waukesha Surprise.  In doing that and announcing the decision to ask for a recount, Kloppenburg had this deer-in-the-headlights look in her eyes, as if events had overtaken her own common sense.  I’m not where my friend Tom Foley is in getting ready to join the Prosser recount team, and I’m sure she would make a good addition to the Court, law-wise, but, as the public face of her own campaign, she has not helped herself.  At all.

The Supreme Court recount will unfortunately be distracting background noise as the recall races get going in the next month.  That’s where the action is.  Scott Walker is betting the reaction to his radical shock-and-awe attack on state and local government in Wisconsin will die down and he’ll be able to get away with most of his Koch-based agenda.  That’s why he and his fellow travellers in the legislature have been laying low for the last month.

He’s wrong about that – people are not as stupid or forgetful as he thinks they are. And there is tons of bad stuff swimming around in his state budget proposal that affects a lot more people than public employees.  It remains to be seen whether rightfully threatened senators like my own Alberta Darling are going to sit there with glazed eyes and allow all this radical shit to continue to run downhill, as she and the other Republicans did back in February and March.  They’ll let her peel off on minor items like recycling, but, in the end, she’ll help provide the rubber stamp for all the really bad stuff.

That’s why the recall efforts throughout the state are so necessary.  The State Senate may well flip some time this summer, but the kind of damage they can manage before then is scary enough.