I know it’ll be hard, but for a moment or two let’s try to take our eyes off the impending train wreck that is the onrushing debt ceiling and try to focus on something more positive. We’ll come back to the train wreck in a forthcoming posting.
As we head into the weekend and after a week of bad news, I thought it might be nice if we ended the week on a hopeful note, some encouraging news.
This is for those of us who watch the bad news unfold daily and wonder in our heart-of-hearts, “Do I have a voice in this at all? Is it possible to fight City Hall and win? Or Washington?”
Take heart, my friend, despite the turmoil and havoc that is being wreaked around you, your voice still matters. And even though there are forces at work to destroy our democratic form of government, we still live in a democracy.
Since much of the media likes to focus attention on possible apocalypses, like the pending debt ceiling crash of August 2, news stories of courage, determination, resilience and pure, unadulterated spunk, often go under-reported, or not reported at all.
Like the recent news out of the Badger(ed) State, Wisconsin. Earlier this year, Governor Scott Walker and his Republican cronies passed a union-stripping bill thinking they could get by with it without any repercussions.
Well, as it turns out, there have been repercussions. Massive repercussions.
Really HUGE repercussions.
Thanks to the tens of thousands of Wisconsin citizens who weren’t going to take all of this lying down, more than enough petitions were gathered to recall six of the state’s Republican senators.
That recall election was to have taken place this month, but in an effort to thwart the democratic process, the Republican leadership in the state had six “fake” Democrats run against those challenging the six Republican recallees, thus forcing a primary election this month. By running these Democrat imposters, Republicans would (1) force the Democratic challengers to spend money that could have been spent in the general election, (2) give them an extra month to run negative ads against the real Democrats, (3) confuse voters as to who was legitimate and who wasn’t, (4) give the Republican recallees an opportunity to raise more money for the general election in August, and (5) allow the leadership to push through a redistricting plan that would tilt the state in their favor for the next decade.
If you’re thinking all of this is just a tad “wrong,” you’d be right. But that seems to be the route the Republican leadership has chosen to take of late.
Stephen Thompson, Executive Director of the Republican Party of Wisconsin attempted to justify the chicanery by issuing this statement (in part): “Republican senators are again busy doing their jobs crafting a fiscally responsible state budget that promotes economic growth, which puts them at a distinct disadvantage…Because of this disadvantage, and the outrageous nature of elected officials facing recall for standing up for a balanced budget, the Republican Party of Wisconsin has advocated that “protest” (emphasis added) candidates run in Democratic primaries to ensure that Republican legislators have ample time to communicate with voters throughout their districts after the state budget is approved.”
If you’re wondering (as I was) how much these unnecessary primaries are costing the state of Wisconsin. It will be around $428,000. According to jsonline.com, the unanticipated primary costs created problems for local officials who hadn’t put these costs into their budgets.
Said Darlene Marcelle, Brown County Clerk, “When I prepared my budget last year, there was no way I could have seen this coming. I just wish that (state election officials) had combined these elections so the financial burden wouldn’t have hit the counties so heavily.”
Had the Republican leadership not employed fake Democrats to thwart a July general election, they could have saved their state nearly half a million dollars.
Now here’s the good news.
The Democratic challengers in each of the six districts, the “real” Democrats, despite Republican efforts to baffle the voters, won their primary elections. Most of them in a landslide.
The voters weren’t fooled.
They weren’t fooled in the unnecessary primary with fake Democrats, they weren’t fooled earlier this year when their public unions’ bargaining rights were taken away, they weren’t fooled into thinking they had no other options but to grin and bear it.
And they won’t be fooled by misleading Republican political ads between now and the August 9 general election.
If the Democrats win just three of those six senatorial seats, just three, they will take the majority control away from the Republicans.
Next year, when he becomes eligible for recall, Governor Scott Walker will be forced to run again for his seat.
Up next in Wisconsin, the primary election to recall three Democratic senators on Tuesday, July 19.
Thankfully, the Democrats won’t be running fake Republicans in that one.
They won’t have to. As we have seen over the past seven months, many of the Republican “leaders” (emphasis added) are fake anyway.