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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.

Known Hothead Prosser Accused of Throttling Fellow WI SC Justice

11:38 am in banality of evil, Conservatism, Elections, jerks, Politics, Republican Party by Phoenix Woman

Cartoon by Mike Konopacki for the Capital Times, Madison, WI

Well, well. Longtime hotheaded jerk Republican Wisconsin Supreme Court Chief Justice David Prosser, he of the short fuse and the knuckle-dragging attitudes who barely survived what normally would have been a cakewalk of a re-election campaign a few weeks ago, is at it again, it would seem:

Wisconsin Supreme Court Justice David Prosser allegedly grabbed fellow Justice Ann Walsh Bradley around the neck in an argument in her chambers last week, according to at least three knowledgeable sources.

Details of the incident, investigated jointly by Wisconsin Public Radio and the Wisconsin Center for Investigative Journalism, remain sketchy. The sources spoke on the condition that they not be named, citing a need to preserve professional relationships.

They say an argument that occurred before the court’s release of a decision upholding a bill to curtail the collective bargaining rights of public employees culminated in a physical altercation in the presence of other justices. Bradley purportedly asked Prosser to leave her office, whereupon Prosser grabbed Bradley by the neck with both hands.

Capitol Police Chief Charles Tubbs was notified, and the fact that both Prosser and Bradley refuse to speak in public about it indicates that there is legal action afoot.

Per Think Progress, there are four ways Prosser can be removed from the bench, but since three of them would require either Prosser or his Republican colleagues in the state legislature to be fundamentally decent persons, the most likely avenue would be via a recall — and since recently-elected officials are allowed a one-year grace period (which is why Wisconsin must wait until late January before recalling Scott Walker), Prosser would be guaranteed to sit in judgement of persons far less nasty than him for nearly another year.

DC Republican Tucker Carlson Panics, Lobs Wild Smear At JoAnn Kloppenburg

6:40 pm in Uncategorized by Phoenix Woman

You can tell the national Republican establishment is scared to death that JoAnn Kloppenburg will defeat incumbent and Scott Walker ally David Prosser in the April 5 election (that’s this Tuesday) for his Supreme Court seat. How? Tucker Carlson’s been tasked to have one of his writers do a hit piece on Kloppenburg that reaches new heights in smear-by-association. It describes a Wisconsin restaurateur’s failure as told on Vicki McKenna’s Milwaukee right-wing radio show:

[Restaurant owner Tony] Pipito had obtained all the proper paperwork variances from the city and the DNR to allow the building to be within 75 feet of the waterfront before he opened the restaurant, and was shocked when both flipped on him. He said the city caved into the DNR’s agenda-driven litigation campaign because the “liberal left decides they can’t stand up for anything because they can’t go after the liberal left.”

What’s interesting is that the Caller claims Pipito’s restaurant failed solely because of Kloppenburg’s allegedly siccing the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources on him, but at least two local stories I’ve found from the time the restaurant closed last year hint at other reasons for the demise — and also tell a somewhat different version of the DNR tale.

Story #1: From Living Lake Country, June 23, 2010 (emphases mine):

Tony Pipito’s Silver Lake restaurant closed this spring. Pipito blamed corruption at City Hall as the main reason he eventually closed after a years-long battles and hundreds of thousands spent in court over a shoreland zoning decision.

Money woes continued for Pipito, who, at the time of the restaurant’s closing, had a judgment filed in Waukesha County from Beer Capitol Distributing Lake Country LLC for an undisclosed amount. That case is now closed, but a small claim for an undisclosed amount was filed June 17 by Gonnella Baking Co., as well as a suit filed by Meyer Food Service the same day for nonpayment of services. LTD of Wisconsin filed a complaint last November for nearly $23,000.

The city is also seeking debts owed by Pipito, including $27,775.54 in real estate taxes, $2,536.66 in personal property taxes and $3,560.95 in past-due utilities for the restaurant. He has applied for renewal of the license, but City Clerk Diane Coenen said that as of Tuesday, no arrangements had been made with the utility, and she had not
Coenen said during her most recent correspondence with him, he indicated that he was working with Park Bank to secure financing in hopes of reopening the restaurant. Pipito did not return phone calls seeking comment.

The bank itself sent a letter to the city requesting that the liquor license be tagged with the property, regardless of whether Pipito pays his delinquencies by June 30, so the property would have more value to a potential buyer.

Read the rest of this entry →

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.)

Indiana Deputy AG: “Use Live Ammunition” against Wisconsin Protesters

11:51 am in Uncategorized by Phoenix Woman

The conservatives and their media buddies at FOX and elsewhere are beside themselves with eagerness to cause, for real, the chaos they falsely say exists in Madison, Wisconsin right now. Despite the fact that no protest-related arrests have been made so far, and the planned agent-provocateur moves by various Koch Tea Partiers haven’t happened yet, they want to see bloodshed, especially if they can blame it on the peaceful protesters.

That’s why we’re seeing conservatives like the deputy attorney general for the state of Indiana, Jeff Cox, call on the Madison cops to “Use live ammunition” should they start to clear the Capitol building of protesters. And as Mother Jones points out, it’s not the first time he’s made really stupid, hotheaded, violent remarks.

Just so you know what sort of threat has Cox’s underthings in a bunch, here is a picture of some of the protesters he fears so very much that he wants them shot at with live ammo:

Photo by Lost Albatross (Emily Mills) via Flickr's Creative Commons

Says a lot about the man, I would say.

(Crossposted at Renaissance Post.)

UPDATE: And now we find (h/t Kelly Canfield) that this Tweet did what his previous ten-plus years of obnoxious comments failed to do, and got his ass fired.

NPR Smears Wisconsin Workers, Again: TOTN Edition

11:53 am in Uncategorized by Phoenix Woman

The following is from an e-mail received from a reader of MR. Said reader has given me permission to reproduce it here, with edits for spelling:

Just tried to call in to Talk of the Nation while they were doing a program on Wisconsin.

Back in the old days, the show used to allow various comments so long as they were on topic. But today, the FIRST thing the screener said was “With a state budget deficit of $2 billion, what should public employees be expected to give?”

When I tried to say “They’ve ALREADY given sixteen furlough days in the past two years!”, the screener cut me off, saying that they wanted only people who were going to answer their (loaded) question. She was quite brusque, too.

NPR: not even Nice Polite Republicans any more.

(Crossposted at Mercury Rising.)