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Wisconsin Recall Exit Polls: 60% Say Recalls Are Only for Official Misconduct

9:55 am in Uncategorized by Phoenix Woman

Madison reflections (photo: re_hurd/flickr)

Amid all the blame-gaming going on, and the efforts by hidden-agenda folks to push certain non-factual narratives, there is one key fact that stands out about the Wisconsin recall vote this week — namely, this one:

Sixty percent of Wisconsin voters in today’s recall election say recall elections are only appropriate for official misconduct, according to early CBS News exit polls. Twenty-eight percent said they think they are suitable for any reason, while nine percent think they are never appropriate.

In other words, most Wisconsin voters likely saw this second recall effort not as a legitimate action against someone unfit for office, but as pure revenge or political payback.

Now, one can argue over whether the forces aligned against Walker could have done a better job making the case that Walker is indeed unfit even without the indictments that have been broadly hinted were withheld to avoid influencing the election. But as David Dayen notes, John Nichols, who knows the Wisconsin political scene as well as anyone, told Dayen back in February of 2011 that the recall effort against Walker would likely not succeed:

He understood the shift in the power dynamic here. The unions were punched in the gut by Act 10, and they had a series of poor choices, which they bungled in their own right. This may have been a wake-up call to the left, but that should have happened the moment that Walker stripped workers of their collective bargaining rights.

One suspect that if Nichols understood the effort against Walker to be doomed back in February 2011, a number of other people also did, and thus decided not to join it. Hell, even 36% of union households voted for Walker in the recall, a percentage similar to the percentage of union households that voted for him in 2010. Granted, a lot of unions are conservative ones like police and fire unions, but it’s still surprising that the unions weren’t able to bring more of their membership to back the recall.

But even though the effort to remove Walker didn’t work, he’s still hobbled for at least the rest of the year by the impending Democratic Senate majority, which came about thanks to recalls pursued against several Republican state senators. Walker had been crowing about his plans to do what he did last year: call a special session, once he survived the recall, so he could ram through “right-to-work” (aka right to starve) legislation, a mining bill, and other nasty stuff. That’s not going to happen now.

So pardon me if I’m not putting on a hair shirt over this. Darn things itch, anyway.

GOP and Buddies Spend Tens of Millions. Result: Wisconsin Senate Now In Democratic Control.

3:20 am in Uncategorized by Phoenix Woman

You all know the bad news from last night: Scott Walker won the recall, pretty much by the predicted margin, and no, turnout was not “recordbreaking” despite the media hype. But do you know the good news?

Protest Sign: Recall Walker, Corporate Sellout

(Photo by Lena)

Scott Walker no longer has a lockstep legislature to do his bidding.

The Democrats just needed to win one of the elections held in Wisconsin last night to put a huge cramp in Walker’s style, and they did:

In a crucial election that swings control of the state Senate to the Democrats, Racine County appeared to have ousted current state Sen. Van Wanggaard Tuesday.

Former state Sen. John Lehman, D-Racine led state incumbent Republican Sen. Van Wanggaard, with 36,255 votes to Wanggaard’s 35,476 votes, according to unofficial results with all precincts reporting.

Three Republicans won state Senate races Tuesday in Wisconsin, but with Lehman winning Racine County, the Democrats will take control of the Senate and gain the 17-16 majority.

And since the margin of victory is greater than 0.5%, the Republicans don’t get a free recount. So even though Wanggard hasn’t officially conceded yet, the writing’s on the wall: John Lehnman gets his old seat back.

As for why the other elections didn’t turn out for the Dems: People in Wisconsin were apparently, as was hinted at during the days before the election, sick of recall elections, particularly those they thought were being done not for gross and obvious malfeasance (as in ‘indictments already handed down’ malfeasance), but for purely political reasons. They had just had enough and wanted things to go back to ‘normal’. That’s why, as MSNBC and other TV networks kept reporting, the exit polling showed that 53% of those who voted to keep Walker were also Obama supporters. So this was not a bellwether on him, no matter how much the GOP wants to say it is.

Now, because the Republicans did some heavy gerrymandering for the upcoming elections (the gerrymandered boundaries didn’t count for the recalls), Lehman likely won’t keep it come 2014, and there are a few seats that the Republicans may or may not take in November, but from here on out, the Democrats won’t have to fight recall resentment in the populace in order to defend those seats. (And of course with the whiff of actual indictments in the air — indictments that may have been held back due to the prosecutors wanting to avoid being accused of ‘influencing the recall election” — Walker may turn into a boat anchor on the rest of the Wisconsin GOP come this November.)

In essence, we got the national Republicans to spend at least $40 million (and more like $100 million if we could count everything that all the billionaires secretly donated), $40 million that now can’t be spent on Mittens or GOP congressional/ Senate candidates, for an effort that cost the Dems a lot less — and which got Wisconsin a new Democratic-controlled Senate.

UPDATE: More on what I mean by “recall resentment”:

Sixty percent of Wisconsin voters in today’s recall election say recall elections are only appropriate for official misconduct, according to early CBS News exit polls. Twenty-eight percent said they think they are suitable for any reason, while nine percent think they are never appropriate.

My Wisconsin friends had hinted this might happen: Essentially, a lot of them saw this second batch of recalls — which happened fifteen months after the first, when Walker’s betrayals were still fresh in everyone’s mind and people hadn’t got used to having him in power — as more political revenge/payback than a righteous effort to remove a guy unfit for office.

First Alleged Case of GOP Recall Election-Day Dirty Tricks

5:28 pm in Uncategorized by Phoenix Woman

dirty trickster (photo: reallyboring/flickr)

How desperate are Wisconsin Republican activists? This desperate, apparently:

[State Sen. Lena Taylor (D-Milwaukee)] said that voters have received calls directing them to vote Wednesday [instead of, of course, today] and telling them petition signatures counted as votes. Taylor told HuffPost she was not sure how widespread the cases are throughout the state, but that she and her staff were continuing to gather more information about the allegations. She noted they have been spreading through social media since Monday.

“It is nonsense,” Taylor said. “It is the desperation. I want the GAB to investigate.”

Staffers at the Wisconsin Education Association confirmed to HuffPost that they have heard similar messages going to voters but they did not know the origin of the messages or how widespread the rumors are. In her letter to the GAB, Taylor said that the calls regarding the petition signatures came from a Madison-area phone number. A call placed to that number came back with a voicemail saying the caller had reached the Wisconsin Republican Party.


The phone number is not the main listed number of the state GOP. The phone is used by the GOP for phone-bank purposes, including recent phone banks for the Tuesday recall.

Wow. Just — wow. But I guess it shouldn’t surprise me — not after this spring in Maine.

Walker’s Not The Only Recall Game In Town

12:32 pm in Uncategorized by Phoenix Woman

(photo: rochelle, et. al.)

Just a reminder that the Walker recall isn’t the only one going on in Wisconsin.

Control of the state Senate is also at stake, with four Republican senators up for recall. If even one of them loses, control of the state Senate — currently evenly split — swings to the Democrats:

Republicans currently have control of both houses in the Wisconsin State Legislature.

But come Tuesday, that could all change.

It will only take one democratic win for democrats to take control of the State Senate.

The four republican senators being recalled include Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald, State Senators Van Wanggaard, Terry Moulton and Pam Galloway.

Galloway resigned earlier this year so Jerry Petrowski will be running in her place.

The four are being recalled for the same reason as republican Governor Scott Walker, their decision to end most public workers’ collective bargaining rights to balance the state budget.

My Wisconsin friends tell me that it’s almost a certainty that at least one, and probably two, of these seats will get flipped to the Democrats. That effectively ends Walker’s enjoyment of a rubber-stamp legislature.

He’ll still be able to do damage, but a good deal less than before.

The Real Walker Scandal: Meet John Doe

11:20 am in Uncategorized by Phoenix Woman

Walker's Wall (photo: neilgorman/flickr)

Now that the whole Walker-love-child story business has had its fifteen seconds of distraction fame, let’s go on to something with a bit more relevance to Wisconsin residents:

The two-year-old corruption investigation into Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker reached a major inflection point just days before his recall election next week when it came out that Walker had transferred $100,000 of campaign money to his legal defense fund and seemed to acknowledge that he is the center of the probe.

In the final debate last night, challenger Tom Barrett repeatedly slammed Walker for his legal woes and for stonewalling the public. “I have a police department that arrests felons,” the Democratic Milwaukee mayor said, “he has a practice of hiring them.” He added, “I’ve been in public life for 28 years. No one on my staff has been charged with a felony, and I’ve never had a criminal defense fund.”


Documents made public last night show prosecutors requested the secret investigation after they found Walker’s office “unable or unwilling” to provide information. “It may be the county executive’s office is reluctant to provide information to investigators due to a fear of political embarrassment,” an assistant DA wrote to a judge in May 2010. Walker has maintained that he has cooperated with prosecutors all along, so the document casts doubt on his story of the proceedings. Asked about the stonewalling last night, he essentially called the report untrue.

Already, three aides who have worked for Walker have been charged, as have two of his appointees and a major donor. One aide pled guilty to two misdemeanor counts relating to work she did for Walker’s gubernatorial campaign on county taxpayers’ dime.

Two appointees were arrested for allegedly embezzling $60,000 from a fund that was intended to be used for veterans. They used the money instead for Caribbean cruises, wedding expenses, Walker campaign barbeques and other Walker campaign activities, prosecutors claim. They are awaiting trial.

Get this: In addition to Walker’s stonewalling, part of the difficulty the Feds have been having with the Walker probe is that Walker apparently set up a secret, private office email system to circumvent open-records law.

Walker’s trying to justify the stonewalling by saying that the prosecutors didn’t want him to speak publicly about the case. Former Wisconsin State Attorney General Peg Lautenschlager, via the Madison Isthmus, begs to differ:

Lautenschlager agreed that “Walker should have produced evidence to clear himself” if he was not a target of investigation, and that it would be “malpractice” for his attorneys not to seek a letter from prosecutors clearing him.

She also disputed Walker’s contention that he could not speak publicly about the investigation because prosecutors did not want him to.

There is no happier person than a prosecutor when a target starts speaking publicly,” she said.

As state attorney general, Lautenschlager said that she worked by a “rule of thumb” when investigating wrongdoing by politicians “not to say anything within two months of an election,” unless prosecutors could clear the politician in question, to avoid the appearance of a politically motivated prosecution.

While that rules out an indictment before the election on Tuesday, she said, Walker appears to be “on that pathway toward indictment.”

So while the Republicans prepare to proclaim what they think will be a Walker win on Tuesday as a bellwether for November, what they won’t be talking about, win or lose, is that Walker may well be “on that pathway toward indictment”.

Did Self-Styled ‘Mr. Morality’ Scott Walker Father a Love Child in 1988? (UPDATE: Woman Says Her Friend ‘Confused’ Two Stories)

10:02 pm in Uncategorized by Phoenix Woman

Daddy, is that you? (photo:

This just hit the interwebs a couple of hours ago:

Bernadette Gillick was a college freshman in 1988 when she first met Scott Walker. It was spring semester, and she had just transferred to Marquette University. She was assigned a room in O’Donnell Hall (then a women’s dormitory), which she shared with her new roommate, Ruth (not her real name). Ruth was dating Scott Walker, who was 20 at the time, and, according to Bernadette, Ruth was deeply in love with him.

Midway through that spring semester, Bernadette alleges, Ruth found out she was pregnant. She informed her boyfriend, Scott, and initially he was supportive. That support changed to callous indifference for his girlfriend’s predicament after Scott informed his parents of the pregnancy.

Bernadette reports that at this point Scott began denying that he was the father of the baby, and when Ruth said she was considering an abortion, he claimed he didn’t care, as he wasn’t the father anyway.

Bernadette remembers being present when Ruth was dealing with the wrath of Scott’s mother, who allegedly admonished Ruth for trying to “ruin [her son's] reputation.”

A variation of this rumor
was posted at Gawker late last month (like four days ago), though per then-Gawker writer Maureen O’Connor (who mentioned the rumor as one of the tips she received but never wrote up at the time) it was sent to her in February of 2011:

From: Countess Elizabeth Báthory of Hungary
To: Maureen O’Connor
Date: Tue, Feb 22, 2011 at 6:26 PM

I have, at this point, what is just a rumor, but it’s one from a reliable source and would be a GREAT scoop if it could be verified. Our high school educated Governor Scott Walker is reported to have been tossed out of Marquette University for impregnating a married, 30 year old woman. He is SUCH a family values guy.

From: Countess Elizabeth Báthory of Hungary
To: Maureen O’Connor
Date: Tue, Feb 22, 2011 at 11:36 PM

Source has ZERO interest in being outed or even speaking on the record. Clue: long tenured faculty member. Scotty’s wife can’t be (or very unlikely is)”the” woman—she was 30 when he was 18-19 and they aren’t that far apart in age. I wish I could give you any more information. I’m not sure if he was thrown out of Marquette or made a deal to leave. Marquette is either a Jesuit or Catholic college—not sure if there is a difference, I plead religious ignorance, and this was in the mid 1980s. Clearly someone made some noise to bring it to the point of his kick out/leaving. Somewhere out there is a[n out-of-wedlock] Walker kid about the same age as you are, though doubtful the last name is Walker.

As you no doubt have noticed, there is a major discrepancy between the two stories — namely, the age of the lady Walker allegedly knocked up and then abandoned. One has her as a thirty-year-old; the other, as an eighteen-year-old student and Walker’s girlfriend at the time. Though it could be that Walker’s people may have started the thirty-year-old impregnatee story as a way to defuse the story about the eighteen-year-old that the co-op just received; debunking the Gawker rumor would be a way to imply that the co-op story was false as well, in that most people would get the two stories confused.

Don’t be surprised if Walker chooses not to address this at all in the next forty-eight hours. This isn’t the sort of thing he wants to discuss, not now.

UPDATE: Conspiracy theorists might well wonder if these rumors are being released to distract from this bit of news:

With the recall election less than two days away, federal prosecutors are closing in on Governor Scott Walker, according to veteran political reporter David Shuster, former Attorney General Peg Lautenschlager, and former district attorney Bob Jambois.

In a conference call organized by state Democrats on Saturday evening, June 2, Shuster, Lautenschlager, and Jambois laid out evidence that Walker is a target of a federal investigation.

Wisconsin Democratic Party Communications Director Graeme Zielinski added that there is evidence of wrongdoing after Walker’s time as Milwaukee County Executive, and that the investigation includes criminal activity during his time as governor.

Based on conversations with a lawyer who has knowledge of the investigation, “We believe that Scott Walker set up a secret computer network in the governor’s office and Department of Administration offices, and that the John Doe investigation is seeking evidence of crimes he committed in Madison,” Zielinski said.

Stay tuned.

UPDATE 2: Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel Reporter Daniel Bice (or someone claiming to be him) allegedly got a hold of the former roommate of Dr. Gillick’s. The roommate says that Dr. Gillick must have somehow ‘confused’ her story with that of another person’s, because the roommate says that while she was pregnant, Walker wasn’t the father. And that is likely to be that. (And the persons on the Barrett side who have been working to squelch this rumor can breathe a sigh of relief as the focus can go back to GOTV and Scott Walker as John Doe.)

Missing From GOP Justice Prosser’s Website: His Ties To Scott Walker

8:01 pm in Uncategorized by Phoenix Woman

How toxic are the electoral cooties attached to Scott Walker? David Prosser, the Chief Justice of the Wisconsin Supreme Court, studiously avoids mentioning Walker — or even explicitly talking up his own Republican affiliation the way you’d expect a known Tea Party fan to do — anywhere on his campaign website for the upcoming April 5 contest between him and Democratic challenger JoAnn Kloppenberg. (See the above screenshot of his endorsements page. Notice the absence of Walker’s name?) This despite the fact that he was a former GOP Speaker of the Wisconsin Assembly, and is a person known for his intense Republican and pro-Walker partisanship, as this Blogging Blue piece from December shows:

A couple of weeks ago the campaign manager for the reelection campaign of Wisconsin State Supreme Court Justice David Prosser announced Prosser would “[protect] the conservative judicial majority and [act] as a common sense compliment to both the new administration and legislature,” and as first reported last week by Mike McCabe on the Wisconsin Democracy Campaign’s Big Money Blog, Justice Prosser has allegedly made “promises” (or threats, depending on your perspective) to veer far to the right both during and after the election if attacked by the “left” during the campaign.

Furthermore, Prosser’s partisan conservative Republican credentials, already burnished by an appearance at a Tea Party event last year (and do I even have to mention that Americans for Prosperity and FreedomWorks are Koch fronts?), were reinforced just last month by the fact that the Club for Growth, an arch-conservative group which has been funded in part by and linked to the Koch brothers since its founding in 1999, carpet-bombed the Wisconsin airwaves with an unbelievably lavish amount of ads for Prosser during the primary campaign for his seat on the court:

Through the primary election, more than half a million dollars — $591,000 — was spent overall on TV air time. Club for Growth, spending approximately $408,000, accounted for about 69 percent of all television advertising in the primary. It spent more than twice as much for ads supporting Prosser than was spent on TV by the incumbent’s challengers, combined. Club for Growth didn’t only ring up a higher total than the challengers, it paid more per advertisement: Club for Growth paid an average of about $400 for each of its ads, while Winnig paid less than $200 per ad, and Kloppenburg less than $150 per ad — indicating that Club for Growth’s ads were disproportionately placed in larger markets or during programming with larger audiences than the ads placed by Prosser’s challengers.

And yes, the Club for Growth is currently carpet-bombing the Wisconsin airwaves again, this time with ads backing the anti-worker stance of Scott Walker, Prosser’s fellow Kochhead.

Meanwhile, it turns out that it’s not just Prosser’s website that’s being kept free of his hardcore conservative and Koch associations — association that he shares with ideological twin Scott Walker. A YouTube video of him being interviewed by Kim and Steve of the Northwoods Patriots, a local branch of the Tea Party Patriots (which, of course, was and still likely is being run by Koch front group FreedomWorks) has been pulled by its poster from YouTube, not long after its existence was highlighted by a progressive Wisconsin blogger, the Brew City Brawler.

(Crossposted to Mercury Rising.)