Make All Those Mean Recalls Go AWAAAAAAAY

Covering a Story That Won’t Die is difficult. It’s exhausting. Day in, day out, talking to the same people about the same stuff all the time, trying to find something — anything — new to say about the same issues, getting calls from the same six pissed off people no matter what you do … it’s worse than just about anything.

Other than having your rights and working dignity stripped away, hearing your reasonable compensation blamed for financial catastrophes not of your making, and being vilified for the unpardonable sins of teaching schoolchildren to read and mopping the floors of public buildings, that is.

The Wisconsin State Journal editorial board has opposed all of the attempts over the last year to recall state senators of both major political parties and the governor.

It’s not that we agree with everything these politicians have said and done. Far from it.

It’s that all of these leaders were elected to four-year terms and shouldn’t be targeted for recall because of public policy decisions. The recall process is designed to quickly purge politicians for illicit behavior, not to punish those who take controversial stands on single issues.

Yes, the recall organizers targeting Republican Gov. Scott Walker have a long list of complaints. But the critics of any governor of any political party always can cite many faults.

First of all, the recalls have hardly been “endless.” It’s been 18 months. When you’re talking about decimating the rights people have enjoyed for generations, maybe 18 months isn’t quite the Wars of the Roses. Tone down the drama. Remember the Maine.

Second, “critics of any governor of any political party always can cite many faults.” They’re all the same! There are governors and critics, and who are we to decide if some criticism has merit and some doesn’t? It’s not like we have any responsibility to set an agenda or sort out truth from fiction. And it’s not like gathering a million signatures was any kind of test at all of the strength of public objection.

Tens of millions of more dollars are being spent during tight times on misleading and divisive political ads. Our leaders are distracted by and obsessed with opinion polls and raising piles of campaign cash, rather than tackling Wisconsin’s many pressing challenges.

Well, if it makes you feel any better, most of the money Walker’s raising would otherwise be spent employing hucksters in other states to make shitty campaign ads, so at least there’s that boost to the economy. This isn’t cash the Kochs would otherwise be giving to Wisconsin’s farmers and starving kittens and nuns.

You know, I have less of an issue with an actual endorsement of Walker than I do with this puling about how icky the recalls are. At least that’s taking a position in the fight, instead of standing off to the corner loudly deploring the tone in the room so that everybody can see what a superior person you are.

People are pissed off. They’re “divided.” They have come to the realization that lots of their neighbors, co-workers and relatives don’t agree with them on stuff. Some of them have come to understand, with a degree of shock that’s really uncalled-for in 2012, that a lot of their fellow humans will hurt just about anybody including themselves to feel like they’re one-upping somebody else. It sucks, having your eyes opened to just how many people around you are assholes. Guess what?

This is what the world is like, under its skin. This is what we do. The Wisconsin state constitution provides for this process, which is playing itself out as it should be. In fact, we’re damn lucky the only major political violence in Wisconsin has been economic. Other places, you’d be thrown in jail or shot or worse. The recalls haven’t killed anybody.

They’ve eaten up money that might otherwise have been used for other mechanisms of democracy, and that’s too bad, but you could just as easily say Walker should have ended this months ago by backing down as that his opponents shouldn’t be forcing the question in the only way available to them.


12 thoughts on “Make All Those Mean Recalls Go AWAAAAAAAY

  1. Doc says:

    I’m glad you went after this. Especially after I read this:
    In other words, “Look, he’s a fuck up and an assbag, but he admitted he was probably a little too much of each, so let’s give him two more years to figure things out as our state continues to roll into the shitter! We can haz endorzes!”

  2. Athenae says:

    Yeah, that reminded me viscerally of all the arguments before the war, which boiled down to, “Really, democracy is yucky, so despite the fact that the hippies are right about everything, we will decline to listen to them because they smell. VICTORY!”
    We’ve all wished for a slow day around the newsroom, but it’s getting to the point where that’s become an entire editorial agenda.

  3. robertearle says:

    “The recall process is designed to quickly purge politicians for illicit behavior, not to punish those who take controversial stands on single issues.”
    The WI state Constitution requires that the recall of a municipal office holder state a ‘reason’ for the recall at the top of the petition.
    And the WI state Constitution MAKES NO SUCH REQUIREMENT for state-wide and assembly officeholders.
    But apparently the State Journal folks know what the lawmakers were thinking, and realize that the lawmakers just ‘forgot’ that part for the statewide offices.

  4. pansypoo says:

    i saw lots of big stand with walker signs up north. but maybe i didn’t see THAT many. bt no BARRET signs

  5. Gummo says:

    High Broderism has become the religion of our news media.
    High Broderism holds as its main tenet the principle that politics is bad, mm’kay? People disagreeing is bad. Fighting for your rights is unseemly. Not meekly accepting the dictates of arbitrary authority is childish. The only mature, adult, reasonable thing to do is give up.
    This is a diseased attitude for anyone to hold, but for journalists, it’s practically high treason. Yet it has spread from the Village across the land.

  6. noblejoanie says:

    Shorter MJS: All those icky polarized feelings, just stop already.
    Frankly, it has disturbed me alot to realize how ugly this is and how deep it runs. Two different views of the world that can’t be squared.
    Lots of Walker signs when you step out of Madison and Milwaukee. That’s how the Democrats always win, taking those two cities big. That’s why turnout matters, students and minorities in those places. I’m not going to count road/yard signs as any indicator, especially because I strongly suspect the KochBoyz have orchestrated the prominent distribution and placement of those signs. But I am very uneasy. I dread what Walkerstan will do if he survives this challenge.

  7. noblejoanie says:

    One more point, if you’ll indulge me. The WI constitution also prohibits a recall election in the first year of a politician’s term. Had it been otherwise, Walker would be in another line of business today as he’d have been gone within ninety days of the protests last year. IOW, the “delay” of 18 months was built into the system. It’s happening as fast as it can and even then the GOP has rigged it with phony challenges to the recall petitions to delay the election until after the end of the college term on the UW campus in Madison. They use every trick at their disposal, I’ve got to hand it to them.

  8. Dan says:

    I love – absolutely love – the faux centrism of: “The Wisconsin State Journal editorial board has opposed all of the attempts over the last year to recall state senators of both major political parties” – yes, how very moderate of you.
    Except that the recalls have tilted heavily against one party. It’s what, ten recalls now against Republicans? And two against Democrats? Opposing the recalls in general (on principle of course) is a bit of a giveaway.
    Ah well. Best of luck to all the folks working to lance that boil on the ass of the body politic.

  9. MapleStreet says:

    Other than the fact that they have the pulpit, I’ve never understood the moral authotrity of the fat cats at the newspaper editorial board to issue endorsements.

  10. PWL says:

    Hmmm…all this moaning about recalls being a bad thing seems a little disingenuous. I mean, out here in Calif., we had a Demo gov (albeit a real jerk) booted from office via a recall ginned up by Repub astroturf organizations, and we got…Schwarzenegger…
    But I guess it’s just the old IOKIYAR: what’s a good idea for Repubs to pull off is somehow just “not cricket” when Dems give the Repubs back some of their own…

  11. robertearle says:

    “Except that the recalls have tilted heavily against one party. It’s what, ten recalls now against Republicans? And two against Democrats?”
    Actually no…depending on how you choose your terms.
    Since Walker “dropped the bomb”, there have been 14 recall efforts started against Republican office holders (of state senate and ‘above’ offices), and 9 efforts started against Dem office holders.
    It is just that there are more Repub office holders to target, and the recalls against Repub office holders have been more successful in getting the signatures to get onto the ballot (there the ‘score’ is 12 vs 3).

  12. BIgCheese says:

    The GOP was in favor of recalls when they ousted Gray Davis in California or opened up a Milwaukee County Executive spot for Scott Walker. Then they attempted a recall of Gov. Doyle and Senator Feingold. Then, recalls were a part of the GOP toolbox. Now that recalls are aimed at them, they are very bad.

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