The Republican chaos engine | WisCommunity

The Republican chaos engine

[img_assist|nid=60764|title=|desc=|link=none|align=left|width=170|height=200]The thing to keep in mind when dealing with modern Republicans is that they depend heavily on two tactics: One of those tactics can best be described as a sophisticated version of the childhood retort: "I know you are, but what am I?" That's the effective GOP response when, for example, critics accurately note that Republican administrations tend to run high deficits and enact tax giveaways for special interests that make those deficits worse.

The second tactic, which is really just a psychological means of dealing with their own hypocrisy, is when Republicans project their own behaviors and motives onto the opposition. In short, Republicans are willful dissemblers but also, deeper down, in denial of their own dysfunction and inadequacy -- and quite willing to fantasize that it's always the other guy's fault. Projection increasingly is the psycho-glue that holds their fractured party and ideology together.

All this explains how Milwaukee's conservative radio talker Charlie Sykes increasingly employs illogical, mushy-headed thinking to produce a radio show and a web blog that paint anyone politically left of center as ... illogical and mushy-headed. Takes one to know one, evidently.

Steve Carlson at Blogging Blue noted the other day how Sykes recently asserted on his WTMJ-AM web blog that "Wisconsin radicals" -- Sykes didn't bother to say "politically left" radicals because, apparently, in his universe there are no conservative radicals -- "create chaos whenever possible."

That's a laugher from a yakker whose Republican patrons go out of their way to gum up the works of government and foment chaos as a means of getting their way.

Indeed, it was a left-of-center political writer, Naomi Klein, who wrote an entire book identifying "disaster capitalism" as a scourge on this country. Klein carefully documented how conservative power elites regularly employ chaos -- engineered and opportunistic -- as a tactic to get their way.

Walker has even admitted that his administration considered planting troublemakers among pro-union protesters at the Capitol. Had he done so, that would have been another example of creating chaos to steer a political outcome.

But there are many clear examples here in Wisconsin of this willful desire by those on the right to disrupt social stability in order to achieve venal aims. Chief among them: Scott Walker's horrible assault on collective bargaining, which even Walker has been forced to admit won't save any money. It will, however, make government less efficient by throwing out decades of working rules and contract history, by which employees and their managers figured out through negotiation how to run a mutually agreeable workplace.

In place of that cooperative process, Walker's new law effectively substitutes poor morale, suspicion and a more clueless bureaucracy. But, hey, if you're basically anti-government, like most Republicans these days, what better way to prove your point than by enacting destructive public policies?

Almost as bad as the union-busting gambit is the Wisconsin Voter ID law, which, despite GOP rhetoric, is pretty clearly designed not to combat alleged voter fraud (there really isn't any, to speak of) but to deny as many Democratic voters as possible an easy path to the polls. WKOW-TV News reported on a recent mock election in Madison, designed to test the impact of the new requirement that almost everyone will have to show an officially recognized ID at the polls. The outcome, in a word, was ... chaos! From the WKOW piece:

The process was also much slower than usual, because poll workers now have a lot more to look at when a voter hands over their ID.

"They're checking that its an acceptable form of ID," said Witzel-Behl. "They have to check the expiration date on the ID, check that the name reasonably conforms to the poll book and also that the photo reasonably resembles you."

But if you don't have a valid ID, you will have to fill out a provisional ballot.

"Its sealed in an envelope and it would only be counted if you come into the clerk's office by 4:00 p.m. the Friday after the election and then it would be counted by the board of canvassers when they certify the election results the following week," said Witzel-Behl.

"I've never had a provisional ballot in the past," said Russ Braun.

But next year, there could be thousands of people filling them out, which means more people will be needed to work the polls.

"Instead of having a minimum of five polling officials at each place, we'll need a minimum of nine election officials," said Witzel-Behl.

Not only that, but the new rules -- designed, remember, to address a "problem" that no one has been able to quantify as significant or serious -- will cost state government millions of dollars and local governments millions more. According to the Wisconsin State Journal, the UW Sytem alone will have to spend $700,000 every two years to cover new costs of supplying student IDs that meet the Voter ID requirements.

So there's your chaos, right there. A small piece of it, at any rate. That piece, and the tapestry of right-wing deconstruction -- seems to have escaped the attention of Charlie Sykes. Then again, that's understandable. Ater all, Sykes and his ilk are a key part of the chaos-making.

ADDENDUM: Democurmudgeon felt challenged by another Sykes claim, namely that tea party protesters never called for violent revolution to overthrow the government. The record shows otherwise, as you can in video here:


October 14, 2011 - 8:29pm