Republicans lose only two in Wisconsin


Opening paragraph in this morning’s Post-Crescent in Appleton, Wisconsin:

By Steve Contorno, Gannett Wisconsin Media

Sen. Rob Cowles blocked one of six attempts by Democrats on Tuesday to oust a sitting Republican lawmaker from office, putting his party in a position to maintain control of Madison and continue its unchecked, aggressive agenda.

That’s about as polite as it is possible to be.

Democrats faced an uphill battle, but took two out of three seats from Republicans.  It is not enough to flip the majority in the Senate.

Will it be enough of a scare to make Republicans talk sense?  You’d think that, after watching the damage done to the stock market, almost as bad as the attack on the World Trade Center, Wisconsin voters would have been more circumspect.

But these six Republicans were well-entrenched.  33% is better than nothing.  It means 33% of Wisconsinites appear to have awakened to the wolves at their doors.

How to wake up the rest?

Two Democrats face recall elections next week, revenge for the recall elections this week.

Will the assault on U.S. values, education and public institutions, continue?

_____________

This morning, according to AP, Wisconsin Democrats said they will push forward to recall Gov. Scott “Ahab” Walker, just as soon as he is eligible for recall.

16 Responses to Republicans lose only two in Wisconsin

  1. James Kessler says:

    To quote:
    The Walker reforms, far from being draconian, seem pretty mild in that light.

    So the Governor creates the budget deficit in his state by giving out tax cuts to his rich friends and then turns around and blames it on a bunch of people that had nothing to do with creating said budget deficit and as such he acted to strip away their legal rights.

    And you’re fine with that? Okay tell me…we can start blaming problems on you and start stripping away your rights as well and you’ll be fine with that, right?

    Like

  2. Ed Darrell says:

    You can argue over the reforms, but I don’t get the anger.

    Prior to the 1960s unionization of public workers did not even exist. There was no such thing – at all. Federal workers today cannot bargain over most pay and benefits – at all. The Walker reforms, far from being draconian, seem pretty mild in that light.

    Somali workers have no protections at all. Compared to Somalia, the Ahab Walker reforms aren’t all that bad. The problem is, to the rational person, that the reforms invite the comparison to Somalia.

    What was the purpose of gutting collective bargaining? The unions had agreed, through the collective bargaining process, to cuts in pay and contributions in benefits.

    What good is any right? You don’t really need the First Amendment, for example, because we technically don’t have an editors, reporters and commenters prison, correct? What good is that right to you?

    The essential problem has been that Unions use union dues to help elect politicians, who then negotiate union pay and benefits. In essence, the union negotiates with itself.

    That’s patently false in this case, and all other cases I’ve ever known (I’ve known a few, having staffed this issue at the Senate a few years back). First, union dues mostly pay for representation of the workers on the job. Second, union workers should have the same rights to collective action in politics as non-union workers, plus, they deserve representation that will often be in opposition to what amount to oligarchical management cabals (ALEC, anyone?). And finally, your implicit and necessary claim that the unions elected all the school boards, county officials and city officials of Wisconsin is patently absurd, as well as false. Unions did not at any point control politics in Wisconsin to that degree — nor anywhere else.

    I can’t help but notice that in July of this year Wisconsin added 12,000 jobs, half the total gain for the entire country.

    Got a source on that? Rick Perry claims all those jobs were in Texas. Who should we trust — you or Rick Perry?

    Many school districts in deficit are now in surplus. Why? Because teachers must now contribute a draconian 5.8% to their retirement, and 12.6% to their health care. And the teachers must also now put in 40 hours per week instead of 37½.

    So, in your mind at least, it’s okay to give Wisconsin millionaires money that could have gone to improving schools and health care, since after firing teachers and slashing health care, the budgets technically balance?

    Your concern for education and students leaves me underwhelmed. Ebenezer Scrooge’s line comes to mind, in his worry about the average citizen struggling to pay bills: “Are there no workhouses? Are there no prisons?”

    Wisconsin had a surplus in the budget prior to Walker’s administration — what happened to it? “Honest Graft” as Boss Tweed called it — but it’s okay with you? You’re not a Wisconsin voter, right?

    The Wisconsin newspapers last week bore no evidence of any part of your claim that I could see. In fact, budget woes continue, and cuts continue, in those districts in the news. Got a source for your claim?

    Dems tried to recall Republican senators. They outspent the Republicans 2 to 1. With all the money, energy, vitriol, etc. they managed to gain just two seats – not enough to take control of the senate. Think about this. The Dems had EVERYTHING in their favor, and still could not win the senate. In the upcoming recall for the Dems – they will probably lose one seat, making the result more or less a wash.

    In total elections of legislators since the legislative session, Walker’s group won four in heavily conservative areas, and lost four in split and Democratic areas (five of nine by some accountings, with the primaries included, and last night’s totals added). Republicans hung on to a reduced majority in the Senate by one seat, losing two seats to Democrats. Walker’s popularity indicates he’d take about 25% of the vote were he to face a recall election today (he’s not been in office long enough for recall under Wisconsin law). Quick polls show that Walker would lose a race against almost anyone were there one held today, and Wisconsin voters are unhappy with cuts in budgets across the state. It’s clear that Wisconsin voters in rational districts are not happy with the changes Ahab Walker wrought.

    Like

  3. Geoman says:

    You can argue over the reforms, but I don’t get the anger.

    Prior to the 1960s unionization of public workers did not even exist. There was no such thing – at all. Federal workers today cannot bargain over most pay and benefits – at all. The Walker reforms, far from being draconian, seem pretty mild in that light.

    The essential problem has been that Unions use union dues to help elect politicians, who then negotiate union pay and benefits. In essence, the union negotiates with itself.

    I can’t help but notice that in July of this year Wisconsin added 12,000 jobs, half the total gain for the entire country. Many school districts in deficit are now in surplus. Why? Because teachers must now contribute a draconian 5.8% to their retirement, and 12.6% to their health care. And the teachers must also now put in 40 hours per week instead of 37½.

    Dems tried to recall Republican senators. They outspent the Republicans 2 to 1. With all the money, energy, vitriol, etc. they managed to gain just two seats – not enough to take control of the senate. Think about this. The Dems had EVERYTHING in their favor, and still could not win the senate. In the upcoming recall for the Dems – they will probably lose one seat, making the result more or less a wash.

    Overall I’d say the people of Wisconsin simply don’t want what the Dems are selling right now. You can get mad about it, but there it is. It is not the Republicans, it is not trickery, it is the will of the people.

    In my experience both parties periodically lie and cheat, but generally the Dems considerably more so. But really, what is being practiced here is the classic incitement to violence rhetoric that the left has always practiced. Denigrate and degrade your opponent as something other than human (Hitler comparisons). Blame them for things they had no part of, infuse them with beliefs they do not hold. Ignore their actual policies and ideas and appeal to feelings and emotion. Then you are free to do whatever you want to them, right?

    I love how the presumption for most posters is that people aren’t kiking the Republicans out because they are stupid and lazy. A great way to win over the wavering.

    Like

  4. Jim,

    I totally agree. Public Health issues are growing, and the gap between the rich and poor is reprehensible. I’m constantly enraged over how much press is given to famous people and their luxurious lives, while those living on the margin are told that they are poor because they are lazy and need to stop feeling sorry for themselves. I also agree that sports and entertainment has taken the larger roll of opiating the masses, and I too am a fan of both (but not so much religion). I have to come to the point where I am disgusted with the programs that people get into. It’s true, I feel as long as reality television and the endless amount of shows permeate our minds, there is little chance of social consciousness. However, as my old Sociology prof used to tell me, “If you want to change the system, then change the way that you think.”

    Like

  5. Jim says:

    Howdy, Bennett! And hello again, Pangolin!

    First, to Bennett’s comment…

    “people will start to notice once the divide between the rich and poor becomes too large”

    You think? I would think that would have happened long, long ago. The gap was shocking and scandalous ten years ago. Now, it’s just insane. I think as long as the media keep feeding people Jerry Springer and Survivor, the people will not care. Religion is not the opiate of the people. Entertainment and sport are. (And I am a fan of all three!)

    Now, if it comes down to people literally going hungry in sufficient numbers…then perhaps the dynamic will change. But even then, they will have to organize. And one wonders if they will be able to with malnutrition and failing health becoming epidemic. I sure hope I am wrong.

    As to what my friend, Pangolin, says…

    “I honestly believe in that laziness is not a valid concept grounded in reality. Healthy people, given valid choices and rewards, given the opportunity to use the skills they have, will work themselves harder than any boss could force them to.”

    I’m with you when it comes to employment. The stereotype of the lazy poor is just that. We’re on the same page.

    But you also say,

    “Americans aren’t any lazier than any other people. They’re traumatized, demotivated and shackled”

    And that despair is precisely what I think keeps us glued to TV and the internets…and averse to organizing, peacefully protesting and so forth. I have been mildly encouraged by some of the pro-labor and anti-poverty demonstrations here in the Midwest. But they have been short term.

    What I am wondering is how far we must go before we organize (I keep using the Bonus Boys as a prime example) and set up camp outside the White House or better — on the steps of the Capitol and the (corporately-owned) Supreme Court?

    Like

  6. Pangolin says:

    You mean, English and American families want the same things that families in Tunisia, Egypt, Libya, Syria, Yemen, Bahrain and other places want?_Ed

    If you want to see a happy man anywhere in the world find a man who is building a nice house for his family. The standards of nice will vary from a cob cottage in Oregon to a palm thatched bungalow in Fiji but there it is.

    Like

  7. Ed Darrell says:

    Americans aren’t any lazier than any other people. They’re traumatized, demotivated and shackled by societal constraints. What you see in the riots of London are youth throwing off their shackles and exercising autonomy, mastery and purpose in the only way left to them. Even where it means destruction.

    You mean, English and American families want the same things that families in Tunisia, Egypt, Libya, Syria, Yemen, Bahrain and other places want?

    Like

  8. Pangolin says:

    Jim_ I honestly believe in that laziness is not a valid concept grounded in reality. Healthy people, given valid choices and rewards, given the opportunity to use the skills they have, will work themselves harder than any boss could force them to.

    I know young people, college graduates, who raise organic vegetables for sale. They have no guarantee of profit. No government support. They live just above the level of homelessness and some of them sleep in uninsulated sheds and yurts. They’re pretty happy because they get to do what they believe in.

    Here is an interesting video on the science of motivation that claims the keys to motivation are autonomy, mastery and purpose. How many jobs today offer all three of those. How often are two or even three of those motivators missing from educational settings.

    Americans aren’t any lazier than any other people. They’re traumatized, demotivated and shackled by societal constraints. What you see in the riots of London are youth throwing off their shackles and exercising autonomy, mastery and purpose in the only way left to them. Even where it means destruction.

    Like

  9. Jim, funny stuff, but ultimately frightening. Americans are too plugged in to notice the political things happening. However, people will start to notice once the divide between the rich and poor becomes too large. Once people can no longer afford to watch these shows, then we will experience what Marx told us would be class consciousness. I am a huge fan of Rage Against the Machine and their lead singer has a line that goes “*&ck the G ride, I want the machines that are making them.” One day the many will understand our country is largely controlled by the wealthier few, and social equilibrium will begin to take place. Maybe not in our lifetime, but I trust that one day people will be aware enough to understand nothing changes as long as we expect other people to take up our cause.

    Like

  10. Jim says:

    Hi Pangolin!

    Love your posts. Keep it up!

    Wherever you and I might disagree on lesser points, I love your heart for poor people, workers and those on the margins. I only wish more people thought as you do.

    You know, I have heard a lot of people suggest that rioting and violence could be around the corner in the U.S. Sometimes, I think so.

    But then, when I consider how bloody lazy Americans are (what is our voter turnout in off-year elections anyway?), I wonder if we would be motivated enough to get off our fat asses, turn off “Glee” or “Celebrity Apprentice” and move into the streets in numbers enough to make any kind of serious difference. Do you think we’ll ever see a Bonus Boys march again? I hope so, but I am not holding my breath.

    Madison (and to a lesser extent, Indianapolis, Lansing, Columbus and Tallahassee) have seen some sustained, camp-out-style activism. And that’s good as far as it goes. Move-On and dozens of other grass-roots organizations have been registering voters. That can’t be bad for America.

    But still.

    The Koch brothers and the other billionaires bankrolling the Tea Party are counting on Americans to do their part and lose interest in justice.

    And a new season of “Dancing with the Stars” is right around the corner.

    Like

  11. Pangolin says:

    What conservatives want is Columbian style government without the endless civil war and kidnappings. They forget that the Columbian government only holds on because outside forces, the U.S., subsidize and intervene on behalf of their military in order to maintain Columbian oil exports.

    What they’re likely to get is London-style riots with a lot more guns present.

    In Wisconsin the Democrats were lucky to win two seats when faced with the full-court press of Conservative political spending. The conservative plan is to take down one state at a time and avoid a national resistance movement. I think they’re pushing too hard.

    Like

  12. Jim says:

    Ed asks, “Will the assault on U.S. values, education and public institutions, continue?”

    Is the Sun hot?

    They want to drown what they call “the beast” in the bathtub. Grover Norquist has proudly admitted as much. That doesn’t mean they want to limit government. Or downsize it. They want to KILL it. Pretty much everything but its capacity to make war.

    The results of last night’s recall are mildly heartening, particularly concerning the fact that these were largely rural, lean-Republican areas. But the amount of time and money needed to organize and GOTV like this on a regular basis is probably insufficient to compete with what the anarcho-capitalists are capable of generating. Even with a few compassionate billionaires like Soros and Buffet, it’s nothing compared to the what the far right can raise.

    My fear is that America’s poor will eventually turn to violence. Historically, that has been the case when the obscenely rich “pasture themselves on the sheep” (to borrow a phrase) and tell them to “eat cake”.

    Many, I daresay most, of my family and friends are anarcho-conservatives. So I sincerely hope I am wrong. Violence is not the answer. But it certainly is understandable, given the relentless, 24/7 war the wealthy plutocrats and the corporate elites have been waging on poor people since 1981.

    Like

  13. James Kessler says:

    Oh and why should workers in the state of Wisconsin lose their rights just because Governor Walker and his fellow Republicans turned Wisconsin’s budget surplus into a budget deficit by giving out tax cuts to the rich and businesses?

    As the Governor and his cronies were the ones that created that problem shouldn’t they be the ones to give something up to fix it instead of blaming people who had nothing to do with it and were only doing their jobs?

    Like

  14. James Kessler says:

    Robert writes:
    Why is the Democratic process only good, according to you guys, when Democrats get voted?

    Why is it that Governor Walker and his fellow Republicans saw fit to attempt to game the system?

    The question you should be asking, Robert, is this: Why do Republicans feel compelled to try and cheat?

    I have no problem with losing fairly…but apparently your party, Robert, has a problem with winning fairly.

    Like

  15. Ed Darrell says:

    Didn’t say that. Democratic processes are good when they work. In Wisconsin, they aren’t working.

    Collective bargaining is a democratic process. Gov. Ahab Walker ended them. Why are you defending that?

    Like

  16. Why is the Democratic process only good, according to you guys, when Democrats get voted?

    Like

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